Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Princetonians In Rio !!!!!!!

TigerBlog is not an exclamation point sort of guy.

His favorite punctuation mark is the semicolon. You know. Connects two thoughts. No conjunction breaking it up. Figure it out.

The exclamation point? It's overused, especially these days, with social media and all, where every thought and sentiment seems to be followed by multiple exclamation points.

TigerBlog is different. He's very cautious with his exclamation points. If he uses them two or three times a year, that's a lot.

He would maybe, though, throw an exclamation point or two to Princeton's start at the Rio Olympic Games. Maybe.

Princeton is off to a tremendous start.

Let's begin with the three Tiger alums on the U.S. field hockey team - Kat Sharkey, Julia Reinprecht and Katie Reinprecht.

The three Princetonians played a big role as the U.S. defeated Australia 2-1 yesterday morning to improve to 2-0-0 in Group B. There are six teams in each group; the top four advance to the quarterfinals.

Note the use of the semicolon, by the way?

The Americans have six points (three for each win). That's twice as many as the team had for the entire group stage in 2012 in London, where the Reinprechts had their first Olympic experience. This is Sharkey's first time in the Olympics.

The game, by the way, featured play-by-play voice Mike Corey, who is one of the best lacrosse announcers out there and who has done many Princeton games through the years. It's good to see him get a shot at the Olympics.

As for U.S. field hockey, this time around, it appears that the team is looking to make a run into next week. There are three more group games to play, and then the quarterfinals will begin Monday.

It's possible the U.S. team has already clinched a spot in the quarterfinals. Six points are a lot in a six-team group.

On the other hand, being 2-0-0 is a huge jump start on getting a good seed out of the group and making a run to a medal. The U.S. has won exactly one field hockey medal, a bronze in Los Angeles in 1984. The Australians, the team that the U.S. beat yesterday, has won three gold medals (field hockey first appeared in the 1980 Olympics).

As an aside, men's field hockey first was held in the 1908 Olympics. The U.S. has won one bronze medal on the men's side, that one back in 1932, also in Los Angeles.

The Canadian women's soccer team has also won one medal, a bronze, in its Olympic history. That one came four years ago in London, courtesy of a goal in stoppage time by Princeton alum Diana Matheson.

Canada's women's soccer team, like the U.S. field hockey team, is 2-0-0 in the group stage. Matheson, like Sharkey and the Reinprechts, is playing a huge role for her team.

The difference between women's soccer and field hockey is that there are only four teams in each soccer group. Canada, who plays Germany this afternoon, has already clinched a spot in the quarterfinals. A win or tie would give Canada the group championship; a loss would mean Germany wins the group.

Either way, Canada has already accomplished something big. No matter what happens today, Canada will be on the opposite side of the bracket from the Americans, who have won three straight gold medals and who beat Canada 4-3 in an epic semifinal four years ago.

Another Princeton athlete competes for the first time today, and that's Ashleigh Johnson, the goalie for the women's water polo team. The U.S. team, favored for the gold medal, plays its first game this morning at 10:40 against Spain.

In addition to the field hockey win, yesterday was a busy day for Princeton's rowers. Glenn Ochal, Kate Bertko and Lauren Wilkinson all raced, and none was able to advance directly to the finals. They all, however, still have a chance to get there.

So does Meghan O'Leary, the former Princeton contact with ESPN, who is in her first Olympics as a rower. She advanced to the semifinals as well. 

Today will be even busier on the water, with Bertko in an elimination race, Gevvie Stone in the quarterfinals and Tyler Nase and Robin Prendes in the semifinals. TigerBlog watched Nase and Prendes yesterday, and that is grueling stuff.

The worst part of the Olympics is the primetime, pre-packaged, over-promotion-of-certain athletes, mostly-tape-delayed stuff that is rammed down the viewers' collective throats. And it's so simplistic.

Michael Phelps? He's "good." Make sure there's a shot of his mother too. American gymnasts? Also "good." They all have such great back stories too, right? They all said they'd be Olympians when they were six. They all had to have incredible sacrifices by their families. They all had to overcome everything everywhere every day.

Now go away for four more years and then you can have new "heroes" shoved down your throat. On tape delay.

It's enough already. And apparently the ratings reflect it.

The best part of the Olympics is everything else. Just the competition, all day, in sports that aren't usually at the forefront.

And, for TigerBlog, the Princetonians.

Go Tigers!!!!!!!

No comments: