Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gheorghe: The Olympic Team

Phelps. Bolt. James. Lochte. Durant. Household names, all. They'll no doubt be joined by the electric Missy Franklin, or England's own Mark Cavendish, or whatever young American gymnast flips herself skyward with reckless enough abandon to capture our easily-won and commercially-influenced hearts. We celebrate these and all the other phenomenally skilled and dedicated athletes readying for the impending start of the 2012 London Olympics.

But quite a different quartet are wearing the colors of Gheorghe Nation (purple gingham check and cream, in case you were wondering - we let Clarence's daughters pick them this year) this quadrennial. We won't bore you with 'they're all champions' platitudes. They're not. But they're all Olympians, which is something everyone reading this would give an arm (or at least a flap of extra skin) to be.

We're uniting behind these four because they don't have anyone else to do so.  Marathoner Guor Marial, sprinter Churandy Martina, shooter Philip Elhage and swimmer Rodion Davelaar make up Team Gheorghe, and we couldn't be prouder. Marial hails from South Sudan, a nation so new and lacking Olympic sports organization that it's not recognized by the IOC. The latter three are residents of the Dutch Antilles, formerly an independent territory of the Netherlands, but now a transitional municipality with no recognized athletic teams. For once, the IOC did something right, allowing all four to compete under the IOC flag in 2012.

Martina is the most prominent member of Team Gheorghe, finishing second to Usain Bolt in the 200m in 2008 before being disqualified for a lane violation an hour later. You can rest assured the GTBOC will not stand for such shenanigans this year.

While he's not fronting the legendary prog-metal performance art ensemble that bears his name, Marial runs track and cross-country for Iowa State. His PR of 2:12 is good enough to compete for a spot in the top 10-20 in London, though he's not really a medal threat.

Davelaar, a senior at the University of Florida (in fact, it's his relationship with Mark that started the ball rolling on Team Gheorghe) competed in the 50m freestyle in Beijing, finishing 57th. He grabbed a silver medal at the 2010 CAC games, which I assume is a made up event.

Finally, Elhage took 45th in the 10m Air Pistol in Beijing. His twitter (@pelhage) bio is fairly impressive, noting that he's a " Olympian, Developer, Promoter & Entrepreneur". G:TB could use all of those things, with the possible exception of 'Promoter', as we've got the Teej doing a fairly good job in that role. But if Elhage can score good Dutch weed, we might have to at least give him a deputy position.

We note for the record that Team Gheorghe is conspicuously lacking in female members, so we're trying hard to convince Saudis Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani (judo) and Sarah Attar (800m) to join the squad. The Saudi government added women to its team under duress, with heavy international pressure ultimately wearing down the Kingdom's sports ministry. Ladies, just so you know, we'd be happy to have you. And not in the way Clarence is thinking.

 In 1996, I was fortunate to spend part of the Atlanta Olympics in the company of Brian Hyde, a 1500m runner on the U.S. team and W&M grad. Though he flamed out in the preliminary rounds, his stories about his experience as it happened (not to mention his ridiculous volumes of impossibly cool free gear) made me and the others with us impossibly jealous. While it's too late this year to get ourselves to London, we're thrilled to know that we'll be able to make up the official party for Gheorghe: The Nation in Rio in 2016. And really, who'd choose London over Rio given the option?

Best wishes to all of our athletes in London. And don't be alarmed if a tall, pale fellow speaking with a difficult-to-place accent shows up in your Olympic Village room. That's just Otto Wolfcastle. He's with us.

28 comments:

Danimal said...

i'll be rooting for this guy

http://tinyurl.com/d83z7zu

Clarence said...

Somebody told me a couple of days ago that Gwar is from Richmond, VA. Would not have guessed that.

Danimal said...

IGWAR!!!!!

KQ said...

Don't forget Gabby Douglas of the Women's Gymnastics Team. She's from Virginia Beach, VA and her nickname...the Flying Squirrel.

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/02/sports/la-sp-0702-oly-gymnastics-women-20120702

rob said...

get the fuck out

Greg said...

Otto Wolfcastle's accent is clearly "European". He sounds like Dmitri.

TR said...

Does that mean Gabby Douglas has a large and elastic testicle sack? Cuz that's where I went right away after reading that comment. Ball. Bag.

rob said...

after careful, contemplative consideration, i've decided that the ncaa significantly overstepped its bounds with respect to penn state. at the same time, i have no sympathy for the university. if the ncaa treats the next case of institutional corruption similarly, this may serve as a useful precedent. but i'm not holding my breath.

Marls said...

The NCAA is generally a good organization. Outside of football and men's basketball I think they tend to live up to their mission statement and goals. Unfortunately, with regard to football and basketball they are a gelding. They are almost completely powerless at this point. The power lies with te TV executives and conference commissioners. The NCAA needs them more than they need the NCAA.

The Penn State ruling is a last gasp attempt to retain some level of authority, but would have been impossible if Penn State had not agreed to the sanctions. The horrific nature of the acts made it impossible to fight his one. However, had the crime have been anything less than institutional sanctioned child molestation, And Penn State would have fought this to the end.

The NCAA does not have the balls or the power to police football or basketball anymore because if they really wanted to, the power conferences could take their ball and go home.

rob said...

two hours 'til the olympics start. giddyup.

Jerry said...

In the guide as XXX Summer Olympics.

Danimal said...

how do olympic events begin before the olympics start? WUWT?

speaking of xxx summer olympics, google "brazilian synchronized swimming". oh boy. yes please! i couldn't decide what link to place here. rob, let me know when that starts. thanks.

Jerry said...

Without doing any research, I'd guess that the only events starting early are the ones that have a long duration like soccer.

rob said...

soccer and archery. not at the same venue.

Clarence said...

George Jefferson has strutted off into the great beyond, honkies.

rob said...

if only we had a venue to turn that news into a blog post.

rob said...

tall dude that works in my office chooses the short urinal. does his business, then karate kicks the handle to flush (no newfangled automatic flushy thingies for us). walks out without washing his hands.

badass and disgusting at the same time.

Geoff said...

Rob, I see you posted about this here and on facebook...is a tweet forthcoming as well?

Danimal said...

in tulsa, oklahoma. makes me want to watch the outsiders then head over to the dairy queen.

rob said...

geoff, i felt the feat in question impressive enough to warrant a broader audience.

Shlara said...

Danimal, tell Ponyboy Curtis I say "hi"

Dave said...

this week at the jersey shore, i am playing a lot of pre-OBFT cornhole. just warning you guys.

Danimal said...

will do shlara. i actually googled "outsiders movie locations" to see if i may be in the vicinity during my 24 hours here, and i will be. a few months ago, would not have given two bm's, but read this great article on the shooting of the movie from each of the actors' perspectives...i think it was in gq. extremely good. i highly recommend.

Danimal said...

in other tulsa celebrity news, i just returned from the Y where i got my swim on. we had a little "safety break" right in the middle so had to get out of the pool and chillax for a few. a man who had been swimming in the lane next to me was now sitting next to me on a nearby bench, a 50'ish black guy who looked to be swimming for rehab purposes. anyway we started chattin and it turned out to be this guy - ron warrior.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgMgt9rN3tU

have never been a boxing fella but apparently he was pretty solid. nice guy - gheorghey for sure. and maybe the coolest name ever for an athlete in any physical sport? i asked him about 100 times if that was his real name and he said yeah. so go figure.

rob said...

jerry, any rick nash reaction?

Danimal said...

The site location speak refers to an inside joke that no one here is inside on....sorry.

Shlara said...

Danimal--I read that article too. There's also some great scoop on the making of The Outsiders in Rob Lowe's book. (very good read, BTW).

Coppola put the greaser actors in crappy hotel rooms and the Soc actors had nicer quarters...to create a genuine division between the guys.

Love that movie.

Clarence said...

Is this thing on?