Monday, August 11, 2008

It takes a team effort

Now, as a patriotic Canadian, I am not big on cheering for the Americans during the Olympics or watching the US coverage of the games but I have to tell you last nights thrilling win by the US during the 4x100m freestyle men’s relay was one for the ages.

Not only was the victory and record shattering performance impressive, but how they came together as a team to win gold.

There were so many things at stake and I could not stop thinking about the pressure each of those swimmers had resting on their shoulders.

*The millions of americans watching from home, the president (George Bush) and one of the most powerful men in the US (Bill Gates) were both in attendance hoping to witness history.

*The French team (lead by the best 100m freestylist in Alain Bernard) had been talking smack all week leading up to this event that they were going to crush the US team.

*All the commentators and press had picked France to win (in all scenarios).

*This was a determining event for Micheal Phelps to keep his 8 gold medal performance in tact.

As the race started, the French had the lead the entire way and it looked like they would cruise to an easy victory. Then, out of nowhere, with the chance at history about to slip, the US anchorman, Jason Lezak pulled up next to the lane rope and set out after Alain Bernard, like a NASCAR driver drafting down the backstretch at Daytona. With only a few strokes to go, it looked like it would be a photo finish and then Lezak lunged for the wall, turned around to see the scoreboard and rose his hands in victory. The US team had pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in Olympic swimming history.

What I like the best about this story is the fact Lezak, the oldest man on the US team, stepped up to the plate, achieved the extraordinary as was the determining factor in continuing the quest for Phelps to be swimming for his record number of medals.

This is another great example in showing the importance and strength of team in what is commonly known as an individual sport.

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