Olympics living up to their billing

By Steve Sell
August 10, 2016

Wednesday’s ramblings...

• SWIMMING THE HIGHLIGHT SO FAR — While the Summer Olympics have been chockfull of highlights, it’s swimming that’s stolen the spotlight so far.

Michael Phelps is proving that he’s super human as he emerged from a marathon day on Tuesday with two more gold medals, running his career total to 21. Katie Ledecky is sharing the limelight with three medals, two of them being gold.

Thank goodness we have the Olympics to distract us from all the ugliness in the world as well as our own presidential campaign, which is starting to make my brain hurt. Will somebody please talk about the issues instead of seeing who can out-insult whom?

Then there’s been the unexpected, most notably Serena Williams. She and her sister Venus, the prohibitive doubles favorites, flamed out in the first round, then Serena lost in singles. Also, Novak Djokovich, the men’s favorite, lost his first match, which means the best players in their divisions won’t be on the awards stand.

We’re going to get into the teeth of men’s basketball tonight when the USA plays Australia, which is more than capable of giving the Americans a game. On the women’s side, though, it looks like the Red, White and Blue probably won’t be tested.

One other surprise was the U.S. women’s soccer team being tied 2-2 by Colombia, but it still won its group. Questions, though, have been raised about the capability of veteran goalie Hope Solo, who long has been an enigmatic figure.

Another highlight has been the women’s gymnastics team, which took the gold in the team finals. Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles have been sensational as the U.S. has emerged as the world power.

I’m still waiting for the golf to start, as I want to see how challenging of a course it is. This is an event that truly is open as golf is so international. Unfortunately, the men’s field will be watered down as the top four players in the world said thanks, but no thanks, to competing.

We still have a long way to go, but it’s easy to say at this point this year’s Olympics will be memorable for years to come.

• ROYALS LOSE FIRST IN EXTRA INNINGS — For the first time this year, the Kansas City Royals lost in extra innings.

The Royals conjured up some ninth-inning magic on Tuesday to tie the Chicago White Sox at 4-all, but the excitement was short-lived as Kelvin Herrera gave up a three-run dinger to Todd Frazier, who seemingly either homers or strikes out.

The Royals just can’t seem to get any momentum going as they are now in fourth place and for all intents and purposes out of the playoff race. They aren’t consistent enough offensively and the starting pitching only shows glimpses, other than Danny Duffy.

Edinson Volquez is basically pitching himself off the team. His two-year contract is up after this year and while you have to admire his competitive nature, he’s nearing the end of the line. He just doesn’t have swing-and-miss stuff anymore and hitters are sitting on his change-up. His game Tuesday was another in the long line where he goes good for about three or four innings, but then it all unravels. He gave up five straight hits in the fifth inning that produced three runs as he just couldn’t stop the bleeding.

Royals fans are still showing the faith as attendance has been consistently high, but with football just around the corner and the team winning about a third of the time over the last month, I look for the crowds to be under 20,000 in September unless there’s an attractive opponent.

• WHAT GOT INTO MARSHALL? — College basketball teams that take tours to other countries normally enjoy a low-key experience.

So it came as a surprise Tuesday when Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall went ballistic, garnering himself a couple of technicals to be ejected from a game with McGill University of Canada.

From all accounts, Marshall had to be restrained by his coaches before having to exit the premises.

Maybe it was all calculated. His Shockers were slumbering as they were trailing 60-56, but the team finished the game on a 21-11 run to rally for the win. Sometimes coaches have a method to their madness.