This is goodbye to the 2012 London Olympics and a huge thank you to the House of Windsor for inviting us all over for 17 days of fun and games.
The women marathon runners fly by the Queen Victoria Memorial and Buckingham Palace during the 2012 Olympics hosted by London.
This remarkable Olympiad had more women participants than men.Countries that had never sent women - Brunei, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia - did so this time. True, they were pressured by the IOC and told if the women didn't come don't bother to send your men. So they sent women, grudgingly. None of their women were expected to medal, but then neither was Julie Zetlin, (left) the sole representative on team U.S.A. for rhythmic gymnastics who is fulfilling some contestant from every continent rule. So she is there on a technicality too. The crowds were generous in their welcome. When Saudi runner Sarah Attar (right)crossed the finish line of her event, the 800 meter race, the crowd noise swelled as if she were first and running for Great Britain.
The last thing I will note about the women's participation is within the irritating medal count, of the 94 gold medals won by the U.S., as of noon on Saturday, 54 of them hung around the necks of the sisters. Just saying.
And one more thing, look at the age range of women competitors, absolutely inspiring. Here, Germany's Sabine Spitz, left, 41, silver, France's Julie Bresset, center, 23, gold, and United States' Georgia Gould, 32, the bronze medalist in the women's mountain bike cycling event
Things that will be missed: The daily diet of beefcake.
Beefcake back: Gymnast Igor Radivilov
Beefcake front: 100 meter man Ryan Bailey
Athletes who inspired
People we won't miss:
Ryan Seacrest. He brought nothing to the table and was slickly insincere doing nothing. Send him back to the two dimesional medium. As for John McEnroe, ugh, completely charm-free and lacking in contribution as well. Jim Cantori another useless waste of space, and he took up a lot of it with his bloviated persona and ballooned up bod. Excess baggage all.
One thing I will miss that is only revealed in glimpses:
The work of all the photographers. Hundreds of excellent images are generated every day and maybe only two or three are used by the various media outlets. What a privilege to see them all.
The start of the women's road cycling event photographed by Frank Franklin II.
People who did surprisingly well, by all means bring them to Barcelona.
Apollo Ohno. Such a darling. Could he possibly replace Bob Costas? They both spring from the same never aging diminutive-man with ocular giantism mold. Speaking of Dorian Grays, the rest of the NBC on-camera crew cannot boast that desirable HD trait. They are beginning to look like the 60 Minutes crypt keepers. New blood next time please.
Local newsman, NBC Channel 5's, Brian Curtis did a very nice job dogging the Olympic athletes from north Texas. Fortunately for him several did quite well, and keeping up with their stories and broadcasting live, with a 6-hour time difference, on little to no sleep, didn't affect his good spirits or reporting abilities.
Surprises in London
Team rhythmic gymnastics. Who knew? Singlularly it's sort of silly, but as a group it is an interesting sport. The teams have the Busby Berkeley tendencies seen in synchronized swimming of floral designs that burst into a frenzy of leg kicking, but as there is no water you can see whole routine, there are as many sequins, and no nose plugs. Win-win. When mixed with their balletic moves and limberness you see moments of seeming impossibility. This year the synchro swimmers added high concept story lines to their routines, one group even used the heavy metal sounds of AC/DC music. The upshot was -- televised captions are needed like the ones used at opera performances. Without them it felt like watching an amped up four year-old tyring to tell a story, there was not much gist and lots of gesticulating.
Here's an idea -- make a balletic combine of two sports that get no respect but might be blockbuster in tandem. Pair dressage with rhythmic gymnastics. Put those sequinned show girls and their ribbons and balls on dancing horses to music. I'd tune in to see that. Actually I will tune it for anything Olympic. I love it all. Tonight at the closing ceremonies I will be teary eyed when the torch is extinguished and then buoyed at the thought in two years we'll meet again in Sochi. Dosvedanya.