Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beijing Olympics - Day Seventeen - "Whole Lotta Love" - US Men Upset Brazil To Win Volleyball Gold; Led Zep Guitarist Page Rocks Closing Ceremony

Singer Leona Lewis (2nd R) and guitarist Jimmy Page (1st R) perform on a bus during the eight-minute performance prepared by London, host city of the next summer Olympic Games in 2012, at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games closing ceremony held in the National Stadium, or the Bird's Nest, Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 24, 2008. (Xinhua/Guo Dayue)

7:20 p.m. - Closing ceremony, but dinner first. Dinner slightly delayed. Back to ceremony. I didn't see opening, so can't relate this. We start with drumming. Big drums suspended in air. Trampoline foot drummers.

Now awarding medals for men's marathon. Winner is identified as Samy Wanjiru. Hope they got it right. Have seen Samuel Wansiru and Sammy Wanjiru in print.

IOC Chairman Rogge draws games to a close. Rest of ceremony will be an invitation from London to the 2012 games.

It all starts with "God Save the Queen." Now Chinese children's chorus singing the Olympic Hymn. Olympic flag being lowered.

Mayor of Beijing and Mayor of London will pass the flag. Former Mayor of London Ken Livingston was pivotal to London acquiring the 2012 Games.

London's show features a red double-decker bus and people dressed in various street clothes. Now bus is morphing into a topiary stage for British pop singer Leona Lewis (thanks Kallie). Now Jimmy Page playing "Whole Lotta Love" while Lewis sings. Guitar solo. Becks kicks soccer ball to the Chinese volunteers on the floor.

Flame extinguished to sound of song sang at opening ceremony. Back to the Chinese. Human pyramid on "memory tower" at center of stadium. Looks like Olympic flame. 400 performers. Looks like an anthill to me. Fabric draped on outside. Climbers have formed into Olympic logo, which is revealed when fabric is pulled away. Now big fireworks.

Now the ever-popular "Beijing, Beijing" with a chorus of pop singers and players of traditional stringed instruments. Wish I knew the name.

Now fireworks all over Beijing. Now Michael Phelps in London on video. Phelps says he will swim for next four years. Red white and blue flyover salutes Phelps.

British and Chinese opera stars contribute the next song.

Now Shawn Johnson with her hair down. She is cute either way.

Oops, NBC Olympics went off the air while I checked out the Phillies and Dodgers on ESPN. We're all wondering how "Car Wars" came out. I may call Richards Honda and Royal Nissan to find out.

The whole Olympic experience was a blast, and well timed as I got to watch most of what I wanted to see, even though some events were at inconvenient time (read overnight or early a.m.). I'll post a summary and the final Michael Phelps Award winner tomorrow.

6:15 p.m. - Volleyball! US vs. Brazil in men's gold medal game. Sets are tied 1-all. US leads third set by 20-15. Ace by Brazil. 20-16. Stanley spikes. Stuff block by Brazil. 20-17. Timeout US. Brazil won first set by 5; US second by 3. Priddy blocks. 21-17. Brazil kill. 21-18. Middle set and kill. 21-19. US timeout. Serve long. 22-19. Spike long. 23-19. Rocket by Brazil past double block. 23-20. Priddy kills. 24-20. Four set points. Priddy serves long. 24-21. Second chance. Brazil serves long. 25-21. Two sets to one for US.

Stuff block by Brazil. 0-1. Brazil serves long. 1-1. Block OB by US. 1-2. Brazil blocks out. 2-2. Brazil kill off US and OB long. 2-3. Serve long. 3-3. Brazil kill from left. 3-4. US block. 4-4. Brazil kill from right. 4-5. Brazil kill off US block 4-6. Stanley kills. 5-6. Brazil kill from long left. 5-7. Short set and US middle kill. 6-7. Blocked out. 6-8. Technical timeout.

Now 7-9. Short set in middle. US kill. 8-9. Four hits on US. 8-10. Stanley kill. 9-10. Stuff block by Brazil. 9-11. Priddy kill. 10-11. Ball serves long. 10-12. Center kill by Lee. 11-12. Brazil stuff block. 11-13. Salmon kill from left. 12-13. Change of pace by Salmon works! 13-13. Rally US hits out. 13-14. Back set and kill by Priddy. 14-14. Salmon in net 14-15. Rally and Brazil kill. 14-16. Timeout.

Now 16-17 after Brazil serves long. Middle kill by Brazil. 16-18. Block by Brazil. 16-19. Looking tough. US timeout.

Trade service errors. 17-20. US stuff block by Lee. 18-20. Stuff block by Stanley. 19-20. Brazil timeout.

Priddy serves. Great dig. Directional kill by Stanley. 20-20. Huge rally. Brazil hits into net. 21-20 US! Four in a row. Four points from gold. Need another point on serve.

Brazil hits out. 22-20. US can sideout and win. US serves into net. 22-21. Strange-looking play. Block by Stanley US. 23-21. Brazil kill. 23-22. US kill. 24-22. Double gold medal point. Stanley serves. Brazil kills off block. 24-23. Gold medal point. Stanley kills. US wins gold medal. 25-23!

First US volleyball gold since 1992.

Millar carrying cute poster of his kid - My Dad is Max Millar. Wish I saw it better. Best outcome possible for Coach Hugh McCutcheon.

2:30 p.m. - Got back from airport and lunch in time for 4th quarter of men's water polo gold medal match. Hungary leads 12-9 with 5 minutes to go. US had the game tied at 8, but Hungary has moved ahead on power play goals and a goal with less than 1 second in the first half.

Now 13-9 with 4 minutes left. US shot hits crossbar. US retains possession. 3 minutes left. US power play. Shot deflected high. Hungary ball. Another goal by Hungary. 14-9. 2 minutes to go. Powerful second half performance. 10 different scorers. Save by Hungarian goalie. Still first US water polo medal since 1988. Water polo has been an Olympic team sport since 1900. Jessie Smith scores. 14-10. 1:20 left. Speedy. Hungary timeout.

Pro vs. amateur matchup. Game effort by US. Another Hungary power play. Over now. Shot and save. US possession. Car doors slamming in Budapest. Hungary wins gold medal in water polo. US gets silver.

Good offense beat good defense in this one - Hungary was scoring 12 goals a game, best in the tournament; US giving up only six; also tournament best.

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