John Smallwood: Worth looking ahead already to 100 in 2010 Olympics

Posted: February 17, 2011

IN MY SMALL OPINION . . .

It's never too early to start looking forward to the Summer Olympics.

The 2012 London Olympics aren't scheduled to begin until July 27 of next year, but on Tuesday, the London Organizing Committee released the full competition schedule.

If I'm fortunate enough to get the Olympic assignment for the Daily News, I know where I plan to be at 9:55 p.m. on Aug. 5, 2012.

I'll be sitting with 80,000 fans at London's Olympic Stadium eagerly waiting for the start of the men's 100-meter final.

I've covered two Olympic 100-meter men's finals, and it is unquestionably the single most exhilarating sporting event I have attended.

In 2000, I was in Sydney when Maurice Greene fulfilled his lifelong destiny and edged out Ato Boldon by 0.12 seconds.

In 2004, in Athens, I witnessed what I consider the most astonishing race ever, as Justin Gatlin edged Francis Obikwelu and Greene.

It was the ultimate photo finish, with Gatlin breaking the line in 9.85 seconds, Obikwelu in 9.86, and Greene in 9.87.

Shawn Crawford, who later led a United States sweep in the 200, finished fourth in 9.89 seconds.

That literally meant the blink of an eye was the difference between being immortalized as an Olympic champion and finishing without a medal.

The race takes less than 10 seconds, but encompasses an entire Super Bowl worth of drama and energy.

The stadium goes silent as the starter raises his pistol. At its firing, the crowd erupts when the competitors dash out of their blocks.

I cannot accurately describe the energy generated during those less than 10 seconds. It's literally one of those you-have-to-be-there events to understand.

In London, the competition for the title of "World's Fastest Human" will be eagerly anticipated, as it appears that Usain "Lightning" Bolt will attempt to join Carl Lewis as the just the second man to successfully defend his Olympic 100-meter title.

At the 2008 Olympics, which I watched at home on television, Bolt set a then-world record of 9.69 in winning by an astonishing two-tenths of a second.

The best seats for the 100-meter final are already priced at 725 pounds ($1,160).

In all, the games, which will run from July 27 to Aug. 12, will feature 302 medal events in 26 sports.

In My Small Opinion . . .

Owners and players involved in labor disputes should just shut up until they can announce an agreement. Other than that, the rest is just useless posturing and double talk that holds no interest for the general public.

It's beyond arrogance to expect people in this struggling economy to have sympathy for billionaires and millionaires fussing over how each can get even richer.

Yet, they press on.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote an op-ed piece that appeared this week, saying it was vital that the league and players union start "serious negotiations" or the 2011 season would be in jeopardy.

Of course, Goodell didn't offer a starting date.

To all of the owners and players, we really don't care how you decide to divvy up the billions of dollars you make off the fans' love of the game.

We just want our NFL games.

If you're going to lock out or strike, do it and let us get on with our lives.

But unless you are saying "Game on," we really don't need to hear anymore from you.

In My Small Opinion . . .

If the NBA were serious about sending a message to players, especially young ones, that behavior and respect for the game are a high priority, it would rescind its invitation to Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins to participate in tomorrow's rookie-sophomore game, part of All-Star weekend.

On Saturday, Cousins was not allowed to fly on the Kings' charter after he started a locker-room fight with Donte Greene after reportedly being upset that Greene didn't inbound the ball to him on the last possession of the game. The Kings kept him out of Sunday's game at Phoenix, then fined him the equivalent of his per-game salary of $41,000.

It was the fifth behavior issue involving Cousins, whose questionable attitude raised flags on draft day, that the public has learned about.

Being invited to participate in All-Star activities is a privilege, not a right. It should come with certain responsibilities. Rescinding Cousin's invitation would send a message that the NBA considers proper conduct and respect for the game as important. *

Send e-mail to smallwj@phillynews.com.

For recent columns, go to www.philly.com/Smallwood.

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