In the quarter-final match, Novak Djokovic closed the first set with an ace. It looked like he was going to cruise right into the semi-finals, overwhelming a nervous, error-prone, and frustrated Alexander Zverev, who hurled his racquet on the floor.
But Zverev got his nerves under control and rattled Djokovic’s. Even the world No. 1 can lose his temper, like the time he slammed a ball after losing a point and whacked a (female) line judge. She survived. Djokovic forfeited the match against a Spaniard named Pablo Carreño Busta, derailing his chance to win a U.S. Open.
Behind 2-3 in the second set, the German star sent a fairly routine volley into the net and took it out on the racquet again. But he next played an intelligent game of cat and mouse and drew the mighty Belgradian forward and passed him with a deft shot up the line. Suddenly Serbs, including the one on this Tokyo tennis court, were no longer smiling.
Zverev pressed his advantage, and his huge serve beat Djokovic’s famous returns (the best in the sport). Offense overpowered defense, and the German found his rhythm while the Serb lost his. The deciding set was 6-1, and Zverev was moved to tears. He went on to crush Karen Khachanov in the final. He said it all: winning Olympic gold for his country was “without compare.”
Meanwhile, the small Republic of San Marino got its first medal ever. One of its sharpshooters, Alessandra Perilli, won a bronze medal in an event called trap shooting. She had tried twice before, and now she got there. She made all the San Mariners — they call themselves Sammarinese, lyrical name — proud. She won a victory for tiny sovereign states, and while I cheered from afar, I thought of Annie Oakley, who could have won many Olympic gold medals in shooting but never had the opportunity. However, she beat the famous gunslinger Frank Butler when she was a mere 15, and he fell in love with her, and she him. They were happy forever after. That beats any gold.
I do not doubt Miss Perrilli will find the love of her life now if she has not already. I would hope, too, that former Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, who was mugged in broad daylight on an Oakland street recently, will be inspired to get a concealed carry license. Because obviously, if a Harry Callahan type of man had sprung to her defense, he likely would be looking for a lawyer already — to defend himself.
Following his loss to Zverev, Djokovic teamed up with Nina Stojanović in mixed doubles and lost in the semis to Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev, who were playing under the flag of the “Russian Olympic Committee” due to a doping penalty. Anyway, Djokovic was upset, but there was no more gold in sight, and in the consolation match for the bronze medal against the other semi-final loser, Pablo Carreño Busta, Djokovic did not wham a ball at a linesman, but he did throw a racquet into the (empty) stands and smashed another one on the stanchion, the post that holds the net up.
He then withdrew from the playoff for the bronze medal in mixed doubles, denying Miss Stojanović a chance for a prize. Evidently, he had hurt his left shoulder under the strain of it all — and it is true that the match with Pablo Carreño Busta went to three sets and went on for nearly three hours in 100-degree heat.
However, Djokovic has won three majors this year, and if he wins the fourth, the U.S. Open in September, he will have a “calendar Grand Slam,” a rare achievement. Will he regain his composure? Time will tell.
U.S. swimmers led by Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel were marvelous, and our basketball team came back from its poor start against the French, who returned to their own sports and won in fencing. So, in the end, the Olympic Games were not a total bust, despite the weather. The Japanese told the International Olympic Committee that it would be too hot in July, but the globalist sports suits insisted and imposed the schedule. Which was not very good sporting, you know, but there was money involved.
A fine act of sportsmanship also occurred when two men tied in the high jump and agreed to be co-champs and share the gold.
It took a wee girl (4 feet, 8 inches) from Spring, Texas, to show the hypocrisy of big-time sports, and it is unfortunate that so many critics, including some on the conservative side, could only see yet another opportunity to join in the politicization of everything.
With irrelevant appeals to patriotism and team spirit and pretentious references to 19th-century German philosophers to raise the apocalyptic threat of me-first selfishness instead of sacrificing for our side, Miss Biles became a football in the culture wars.
Gymnastics, especially for girls and young women, is creepy, a case study in the stealing of beauty by perverts. There have been many proven cases of criminal abuse wherein evil men, aided and abetted by wicked women, prey on and manipulate girls scarcely out of childhood. Miss Biles, sadly, is as aware of this as is possible, and it is altogether possible that what hit her, as she sensed she was not in championship form, was that it is madness to go out and hurt herself for the enjoyment of child molesters.
When you have what Miss Biles called “the twisties,” you are unsure where different parts of your body are in relation to each other and the ground. Trying a sports maneuver in such a state of mind is an invitation to break your neck.
To the outside observer, you run here and jump there and the more agile one wins. The athlete, however, senses the relation between every muscle and sinew and bone in his or her body and intuitively understands the risks specific movements entail, on a tennis court, a baseball mound, or a gym mat. The athlete can estimate the cost to his body and what he — or she — can expect to score points-wise. And sometimes, he can sense the risk of falling short — or falling down.
Miss Biles knew the smart move was to forfeit. It had nothing to do with cowardice or some philosophical moral meaning or what-all. Miss Biles’ deed, however, did involve a rare kind of courage: breaking out of the mind-control grip adult coaches have on young gymnasts.
Miss Biles had a teammate who took her place; it was a team event. She knew if she stayed in, the score would be lower than if the sub came off the bench. If you know how the game is played and scored, you give your team the best odds.
Novak Djokovic rationalized his mixed doubles forfeit by reference to a shoulder; Miss Biles talked about her anguish. And what if all she meant was she is a damsel seeking a strong shoulder?
And herein, we see the immense hypocrisy of it all. We put talented girls in the hands of child molesters at worst and egomaniac sports entrepreneurs at best while at the same time we expect the girls to be like Jim Thorpe, the best athlete of his time, who accepted with stoic dignity injuries done him by the bigoted sports establishment led by his envious ex-teammate Avery Brundage.
You want a 4 feet, 8 inches gymnast to be as tough as Jim Thorpe? Are you nuts?
Child exploiters terrorize young girls and feminists terrorize boys and forbid them to be the white knights girls need. Thence follows all this other nonsense about how the girls have to be treated like boys and I suppose vice versa, and everybody’s head gets screwed on wrong.
Instead of carrying on about a sports-and-patriotism ethos that is irrelevant here, conservatives might notice the feminists are causing panic on a broad scale. Sports are neither philosophy nor politics nor warfare.
And Simone Biles is not Pheidippides. Big news? No, the big news is there is no Pheidippides to run for Simone Biles, and if one stepped up, he would be sued and slandered.
Observe in passing that the woman is, according to the science, bioculturally (I just made up that neologism and do not endorse it), tougher than the man. But in other ways, she is not. And for a reason. Consider this: the respective toughness of Rose Sayer (Katharine Hepburn) and Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart) are different and complementary. They work together to keep the African Queen afloat and strike a blow for England!