Olympic highlights from today ... or was it yesterday? Or possibly a few hours in the future. I'm just not sure ... There is possibly no Olympic event more random and pointless than 10-meter air pistol, unless it's "20-meter hurling a coconut," which will be a trial event in 2012. But could it also be our last, best hope for world peace? Two medalists in the event — one from Russia and one from Georgia — put aside their political differences and embraced on the victory stand on Sunday. And any day now, Russia should be sending Georgia an FTD "Sorry We Bombed You" Pick-Me-Up Bouquet.
Russia's Natalia Paderina and Georgia's Nino Salukvadze hugged after winning Olympic silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the women's 10-meter air pistol competition. The rivals kissed each other on the cheek after standing on the medal podium with China's Guo Wenjun, who won the gold medal in the event. Waving flower bouquets high, the women smiled broadly at the audience. "If the world were to draw any lessons from what I did, there would never be any wars," Salukvadze, 39, said afterward, according to media reports. The reports described the two as friends.
So anyway, be prepared for a lot of "This is what the Olympics are all about" stories in the coming days. But really, doesn't this just underscore the disconnect between sports and reality? Pretty much at the very moment Paderina and Salukvadze were hugging it out on the medal stand, Russian jets were bombing the bejeebers out of Georgia. So when you think about it, it's the men's 10-meter air pistol competition that's really what the Olympics are all about. After all, they all look like James Bond villains. • Down Goes
Frazier Ali! U.S. lightweight Sadam Ali — who has the most intimidating name the Americans could muster — nevertheless went to the canvas in the second round and ended up losing his lightweight bout against Romania's Georgian Popescu on Monday night in the round of 32 by a score of 20-5. So far, the U.S. team is 3-2 with three fighters remaining in the round of 32 — flyweight Rau'shee Warren on Tuesday and heavyweight Deontay Wilder and light flyweight Luis Yanez on Wednesday. • No Trouble In Little China. U.S. throttles China in women's basketball, which isn't a big surprise. Buy Yao Ming's wife, Ye Li, isn't on the Chinese team. That is a surprise. • American Stabbing Victim Improving. The condition of Barbara Bachman, the woman who was attacked by a knife-wielding lunatic in Beijing on Saturday, has improved from critical to serious but stable. Bachman is the mother-in-law of U.S. men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon. Her husband, Todd Bachman, was killed in the attack. • Waterworld. Kirsty Coventry set a record in her heat of the 100 backstroke, winning in 58.77. That beat Natalie Coughlin's mark of 58.97 set at the U.S. trials last month. Coughlin won her heat in 59.43, and the two will face off on Tuesday in the final. Kosuke Kitajima of Japan winning the 100 breaststroke in 58.91 seconds to get a gold medal. • USA! US ... Oh, Forget It. The U.S. men's soccer team continues to underwhelm, ending up with a 2-2 tie with the Netherlands. Medal favorites Argentina, Brazil and Italy each advanced to the final eight with victories Sunday, while the U.S. must tie or beat Nigeria on Wednesday in Beijing to move on. Russia, Georgia Medalists Embrace Despite Conflict [NBCSports] U.S. Official: Russia's Attack On Georgia Is 'Disproportionate' [CNN] Swarms Of Russian Jets Bomb Georgian Targets [USA Today]