Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Redeem Team lives up to name/Beijing Olympics monumental

When Jerry Colangelo was given the reins to the USA men's basketball program, certain changes were implemented with the intent of bringing the gold medal back to the United States. Colangelo asked for a firm, three-summer commitment from players who were interested in playing for the national team. Players were thus given more practice time to build team chemistry and become more familiar with each others' games. The athletes also grew in their knowledge of FIBA basketball and the style of play of their opponents. All of these developments led to the successful recapturing of gold at the Beijing Olympics.

When the U.S. Olympic team was hyped as the favorite going into the basketball tournament, someone(s) came up with a name that was a spin-off from the 1992 Dream Team moniker: The Redeem Team. This was supposed to be the team that atoned for the failures of other U.S. men's basketball teams who were unable to take home the gold medal in either the World Championships or the Olympics earlier this decade.

One question often asked now is who would win a game between the 1992 squad and this year's team. It may not be fair - or accurate - to state this year's team is more talented. However, based on the fact the level of competition has risen each successive year, it may be fair to claim the 2008 team's performance reached a higher standard than that of any of their predecessors.
Hats off to Team USA basketball for being gracious in victory, not getting involved in trash-talking matches with opponents and limiting their banter with referees, regardless of what they thought of the calls being made. Congratulations are in order to Spain for such a well-contested final game, and to all the Olympians, regardless of their sport or country, who helped make this year's Games a rousing success.

I miss the Olympics already.

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