Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Quickies.
Today’s lead story is about an Indiana University swimmer, Lilly King, who won the gold medal yesterday in the Rio Olympics, and after doing so called out her Russian competitor, silver medalist Yulia Efimova, who had failed two doping tests in recent history and served a 16-month suspension.
Also notable was the failure of King to congratulate Efimova, whom she basically ignored before and after the event. The post-event news conference was apparently a high-stress affair:
In a tense, 15-minute post-race news conference, Efimova was visibly strained. Asked if she thought it was mean of the Americans not to congratulate her, the Russian said she understood. King said she was "in the moment" and celebrating with Meili.
"Also, if I had been in Yulia’s position, I would not have wanted to be congratulated by someone who wasn’t speaking highly of me," King said. "So, if she wished to be congratulated, I apologize. She had a fantastic swim, and I always look forward to racing her."
I confess, I’m not totally comfortable with King’s reaction. Even while making a statement that needs to be made, it’s better if we can find a way to do it graciously, and in my view, King didn’t quite pull that off when she overtly shunned Efimova like that. To be fair to her, it would be difficult even for an experienced hand to balance the two, and she is very young.
Don’t get me wrong — Efimova is a demonstrated past cheater from a team full of them. I think a strong argument can be made that any Russian athlete who had positive tests in the last four years, given their current entanglement with performance-enhancing drugs, should’ve been banned from the Olympic games. That would have included Efimova, obviously. The IOC (an ethically compromised, arguably corrupt organization in its own right) apparently did not agree, though.
It’s hard to be tough on athletes who work their butts off all their lives to win competitions fairly without chemical enhancement when they rightly assail drug use. From that perspective, King’s lack of decorum can certainly be forgiven or at least understood, and her strong message against illegal enhancement certainly can’t be repeated often enough.
Congratulations to her and the rest of the medalists, Efimova as well. And I don’t say this often, but congratulations to the Indiana Hoosiers swimming team for producing a gold medalist.
As for Efimova, perhaps the bitter boos and hisses she received from the Rio crowd will drive home the point that cheaters may in fact sometimes win, but those victories will be hollow and bereft of respect. In a word, such victories are worthless beyond the value of the metal and money.
Tweets of the Morning
Tim Tebow is actively pursuing a career in professional baseball and plans to hold workout for Major League Baseball teams later this month.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 9, 2016
I don’t really know what to say. Good luck?
Who wore it better? pic.twitter.com/nUB1ncX9gt— Jason Marcum (@marcum89) August 9, 2016
I’m calling this one a tie.
I nominate this guy for a Darwin award honorable mention. Any seconds?
Sick and fed up with the Kentucky football team, but still can’t stop being a fan? You’re not alone, and Mark Story talks to some fellow long-suffering wanderers in the wilderness.
Do you remember Blanton Collier, the former UK football coach, who was fired in 1961 after coaching the Wildcats for eight years? Gary P. West says Collier was responsible for the last Cleveland Browns NFL championship in 1964.
He also notes that Collier was the last UK coach to leave the school with a winning record. Ugh.
Losing Regie Meant not a good start to UK’s fall football camp. No, not at all. Defensive line is a definite weak spot, and losing a returner who was expected to contribute mightily to “personal reasons” is lousy.
The big UK-KU game on January 28th will be in prime time, tipping off at 5:00 PM. I can’t wait!
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports says Kentucky is “On an island by itself” in the SEC. From my perspective, that’s not a good thing. The SEC has got to find a way to recover the glory of the early part of the last decade in basketball. It shouldn’t take a down Kentucky team to create that.
And to build on that, why is Arkansas considered a sleeper? What happened to the former NCAA champs that they should have one or two good years out of five?
CoachCal.com notes the pre-season hype for the Wildcats.
John Calipari never misses an opportunity to market his program. That’s how you do it, ladies and gentlemen.
Stud Alabama Mr. Basketball John Petty still has UK as one of his final five.
Other Kentucky sports/news
Time capsule from the 1950’s found near the intersection of Limestone and Avenue of Champions.
Kentucky swimmer Sean Gunn will be swimming for his home country, Zimbabwe, in the 100 meter freestyle today.
Collge football changes a bizarre clock-start rule after a penalty in the last two minutes.
Important college football rule changes for 2016. It will be interesting to see how they enforce the “low blows on quarterbacks” rule. Also, coaches can now be sanctioned, and ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Some of these are going to cause some seriously controversial calls.
Other sports news
Ten best Star Trek episodes, according to the fans. I beg to differ. Any list that doesn’t include The Devil in the Dark and Mirror, Mirror from the original series is just incomplete.
By the way, I went and saw the latest Star Trek, Star Trek Beyond, and I must say I enjoyed it more than any of the J.J. Abrams efforts to date by a wide margin. He did a fantastic job with the interpersonal relationships in this move, and Karl Urban has become a brilliant Dr. McCoy.
It took a while, but this current group has finally come around to looking like a very respectable Star Trek cast. Plus, any movie is better with Idris Elba.