From our excellent Olympic vantage point, a mere 4,857 miles southwest and eight hours later from any live action in London, we give the 2012 Summer Games a 9.2. Here are the comments from our panel of judges:
• Gold medals aren’t what they used to be: The Olympics haven’t handed pure gold medal since the 1912 Stockholm Games. Today’s gold medals are only 1.34 percent gold. A pure gold medal would cost about $25,000, at today’s prices, or about $40 million for all the gold medals given during the London Olympics.
• Women rule: This year’s U.S. Olympic team consisted of 269 women and 261 men. It’s the first time in history that our nation had a predominance of female athletes competing.
U.S. women also brought home 60 percent of our team’s total medals, and two-thirds of its gold medals.
• Female athletes we’ll miss the most:A unanimous score from our judges: Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh. The beach volleyball pair have won three gold medals in three consecutive Games, never losing a match since it became an Olympic competition.
Walsh, 29, and May-Treanor, 31, represent a true team, not all-stars put together just to win a medal. It was a joy to watch two women in complete sync, finding the resolve to defeat often-younger opponents.
But a greater joy to hear their emotion and affection for each other after their final match, expressing a commitment to remain lifelong best friends. They got as much from volleyball as they gave, and as fans, we enjoyed it all.
• Male athlete we’ll miss the most: Michael Phelps, of course. The most decorated athlete in Olympic history set a record that might never be broken.
• Favorite athletes: A tie on this one. Hamadou Djibo Issaka, a rower from Niger, had never sat in a boat before the Olympic Games. Issaka comes from a landlocked nation that is 80 percent desert. “The Sculling Sloth,” as he was dubbed by the British press, finished last, way last, but received a robust ovation anyway.
We gave equal marks to Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee runner from South Africa. Pistorius was the first to compete on two artificial limbs.
• Lowest-scoring athlete: At the bottom end of our scoring, we agreed with the official judges and gave German diver Stephan Feck a 0.0. Feck slipped off the board, landing squarely on his back in the pool.
• Highest score for Too-Much-Information: Perfect 10s for swimmer Ryan Lochte, who confessed that he pees in the pool.
• What Was He Thinking Award: There was only one competitor in this category, and he wasn’t even in England. A London resident visiting France became smitten with Olympic spirit and decided to swim to New York City, because he wanted to “carry the Olympic spirit across the Atlantic.” Lifeguards rescued him just offshore, about 300 yards into the 3,600-mile event.
• Closing ceremonial statement: The last time London hosted the Games, in 1948, it cost $1.1 million, or roughly $37 million in today’s dollars. This year, the city spent about $15 billion, about half of what China spent for the 2008 extravaganza.