* The secret to happiness is low expectations. The American men's gymnastics team guarantees themselves a silver medal, and they are ecstatic. You can see their happiness on the medal stand at earning second place in the world. The women have the exact same result, a silver medal, and the disappointment on their faces is plain. Four years ago, I remember Svetlana Khorkina ripping the silver medal from her body in disgust after the ceremony in Sydney. Last night, I watched her jump with joy over the bronze. Is it maturity, or is it lessened expectations? Until last night, the media talked about Michael Phelps' Olympics as a failure because only one of his three medals was gold. (Of course, after that easy 200M 'fly and that thrilling 800M relay, his percentage is looking much better this morning.)
* Is Svetlana Khorkina human? Never have I seen such skinny arms and legs on a person. They look like they could snap at any time, especially when she makes a hard landing. I also don't think I ever saw her look anything but angry in five years, until she hit that floor routine last night. Then she lit up with a smile, and it didn't go away for the rest of the night. And then I saw why she has a modeling career.
* I love the congeniality in the swimming pool. In no other sport do the competitors congratulate each other immediately after every race and seem to mean it. Those hugs and handshakes in the pool look genuine to me, anyway. It's the great thing about the US-Australia rivalry -- the competition is fierce, everyone involved truly wants to win, but (serious-looking NBC interviews with blank backgrounds aside) it seems to be all in good fun. As some columnist I read this week put it (King Kaufman I think), you get the impression that there are "no hard feelings over a pint afterwards."
* Sigh, Ian Thorpe. Is there a more beautiful smile in all of Greece this week? I really don't think so.
* I know that avoiding spoilers was going to be difficult, but I didn't expect to turn on NPR on Monday afternoon and learn not only the outcome of the Thorpe-Phelps-van den Hoogenband race that day but to hear that Thorpe caught vdH in a dramatic finish. Sucked all the excitement out of the race for me. Do I have to go on a total media fast for the next week and a half? Sheesh.
(Hee hee, LJ spellcheck wants to turn Hoogenband into Herringboned.)