The Joy And Agony Of Olympics

Every four years, brand new American stars are created through the Olympics.

It is almost unfair how a lifetime of commitment and sacrifice is evaluated in a brief moment of competition.

For some, there are exultations and joy, where a worldwide stage and maximum performance intersect in a magical way.

For many others, there are heartbreak and misery when the best-practiced plans go awry.

For swimming sensation Missy Franklin, the performances have been as brilliant as her megawatt smile. Only 17, Franklin appears to have an even brighter future.

For Michael Phelps, the accolades of being the recipient of more medals than anyone in Olympic history were reason to celebrate.

But there is another side, an awful, painful place visited by the men’s gymnastic team. Leading after the prelims, team members came unraveled in rotation after rotation in the finals, finished fifth and missing out on a medal. The look on John Orozco’s face after his miscues on the pommel horse was the distil lation of misery beyond disappointment.

But, for some, there is redemption. Jordyn Wieber was considered the U.S. gymnast most likely to win the women’s all-around gold medal. A world champion, Wieber is good at everything, yet she made a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes in the prelims and finished fourth.

But only two team members from any country can make the 24-person final, and teammates Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman were ahead of her. Although personally devastated, Wieber was able to come back 48 hours later to help win the team gold. We love the heart of a champion, and Wieber has all of that.

This week we’ll see track and field and the culmination of the team sports, where U.S. teams have ranged from solid to spectacular. Some will say the Olympics are hokey, but you clearly see the raw emotion of sport so up close and personal.

UH football fall camp is underway, and there is much to be accomplished in a very short time. One priority is finding a starting quarterback, where David Graves and Jeremy Higgins will be challenged by Duke transfer Sean Schroeder. Considering that returning veterans have only 15 spring practices behind them, it’s an unusual opportunity for a skilled newcomer. Other challenges will be at fullback and tight end, where UH’s previous offense had no call for either position. With USC on tap in the Sept. 1 opener, the task looms large. But as Norm Chow has reminded everyone, no matter what happens at the Coliseum, there are 11 more games to play.

For those fans who like to watch practice, UH will open practices until they move to Pearl Harbor Aug. 13.

And a reminder to all who look forward to Coach Chow’s evaluation of his team, there will be a Call the Coach show Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. at Outrigger Reef Hotel.