"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Two US crew shells at the Athens games are named for Rusty Wailes, a member of the gold-medal winning Yale eight of 1956 (pictured above), who died two years ago doing what he loved:
On a sunny fall morning, the kind that Rusty Wailes lived for, the 66-year-old retiree did what he did best. He got into a boat with friends all around, and rowed. He pulled the oars through deep water as if it were almost a half century ago, as if he were back at the Olympics and another gold medal was on the line.
Then Wailes did something uncharacteristic: He stopped rowing. Sensing something was wrong, a fellow rower turned to look at him. Wailes let out a big grin, then fell backward…
US rowers in the eight named for him set a world record while stunning favored Canada in a heat on Sunday to earn a place in the Olympic finals.
Who knew yours truly ranked third on the Google search for Olympic nudes?
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Time Suck o' th' Day: The IOC Web pages are full of interesting history on the Games. I like this vignette from the 1900 Paris Olympics on the unknown French boy who medaled for the Netherlands in rowing, and the religious long-jumper who refused to compete on Sunday, then socked the rival who beat him by a centimeter.
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Christina Larson at the Washington Monthly argues for a permanent home for the Olympics.
The sight of all those empty seats at the current Games suggests many Athenians have done as Bostonians did during the recent security-heavy convention week – they've skipped town. With the cost of the current Games reported to be soaring to upwards of $8 billion, you have to wonder if many cities in the future are prepared to bankrupt themselves to host the Olympics.
But synchronized diving? Team handball? Women's weightlifting? The Olympics have become so inflated there's even serious talk of adding ballroom dancing.
Sports no longer played at the Olympics include rugby, lacrosse, polo, cricket, croquet and tug-of-war – all more widely popular, I'd submit, than rhythmic gymnastics.
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Aquil Abdullah, who won the Diamond Sculls at Henley in 2000, and now is the first African-American to compete in Olympic men's rowing for the US, has advanced to the semifinals in the double sculls.
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College and club crews used to represent the US in Olympic Eights competition. With the gold won by the Navy eight at Antwerp in 1920 "began a run of U.S. victories in that event that lasted until another U.S. Naval Academy eight lost in Rome in 1960," according to Rowing History. "Yale won in 1924 and 1956, Cal-Berkeley in 1928, 1932 and 1948, Washington in 1936, and Navy in 1952…marking a domination of one Olympic rowing event by one country that has not since been equaled."
Harvard's was the last non-national team eight to represent the US at the Games, in 1968.