An Olympic prediction worth ignoring |

An Olympic prediction worth ignoring

Devon O'Neil
Vail, CO Colorado
Devon O'Neil

Even in the world of excess in which we live, it strikes me a bit odd to hear that there are people getting paid very hefty sums of money to do what accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers did recently.

The firm released a report that announced China will defeat the U.S. by one medal ” 88-87 ” at this summer’s Olympics, marking the first time the Chinese will lead the overall medal total at the games.

Which would be totally bodacious if there were any point at all in making such predictions. As it is, the firm bases its “findings” on such factors as a country’s wealth and population as well as where the games are being held (in this case, obviously, China).

A similar study could be used to predict the Olympic gold medal winner in basketball based on which team has the tallest players, but unfortunately Yao Ming and Co. won’t stand a chance against our fellas this year.

Did you see the roster USA Basketball released on Monday? Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony, to name a few, are among the chosen. If the U.S. doesn’t win gold with this crew, we should start telling people James Naismith was actually Lithuanian, not American. …

Frickin’ Red Sox Nation ” it’s starting to come true. Since the slogan replaced its more general predecessor, Bandwagon of Unusual Size, the Nation has been inching closer to filling its literal meaning.

Case in point: Boston players lead the American League all-star fan voting at four of the nine positions in this year’s batting order (including designated hitter, where David Ortiz is the overwhelming favorite to start, along with first baseman Kevin Youkilis, second baseman Dustin Pedroia and outfielder Manny Ramirez), and they’re within striking distance of having a fifth in the lineup, catcher Jason Varitek, who trails Minnesota’s Joe Mauer by about a day’s worth of votes (as if that margin will stand up). …

For everyone who believed Hank Steinbrenner was trying too hard to fill his dad’s grumpy shoes, get a load of the Quote of the Week. Not only does Steinbrenner dip into the old reliable Yankee jar of irrationality, but he takes on the entire Senior Circuit while he’s at it.

Steaming from seeing his top starting pitcher, Chien-Ming Wang, pull up lame rounding third base in an interleague game last week, an injury that will keep Wang out for more than two months, Steinbrenner attacked the NL’s lack of a DH:

“My only message is simple,” he said. “The National League needs to join the 21st century. They need to grow up and join the 21st century. … I’ve got my pitchers running the bases, and one of them gets hurt. He’s going to be out. I don’t like that, and it’s about time they address it. That was a rule from the 1800s.”

Guess back then they taught millionaire athletes how to run, too. …

Interesting story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the other day about whether Joe Paterno’s lingering presence as Penn State’s head coach is hurting the team’s recruiting efforts.

It probably drew a fair bit of criticism from all the stalwart Joe Pa backers, but the point remains: of course, his presence is hurting his team. How many 81-year-olds not named Clint Eastwood or Martha Stewart do you know who are still on top of their games?

You just can’t tell me a strapping, 18-year-old hulk aspiring to play professional football would rather a grandfather of 16 coach him than, say, a young fireball like Urban Meyer at Florida or even Dave Wannstedt at Pitt. …

The most unlikely statistical leader in baseball right now is Cristian Guzman. The injury-plagued Nationals shortstop leads the majors in hits (102), three years after batting just .219; two years after he missed the entire 2006 season with a shoulder injury; and one year after his 2007 campaign ended in June with a torn thumb ligament. …

Willy Taveras, meanwhile, continues his clinic on how to steal bases. The Rockies outfielder has swiped a big-league-best 35 this year – and been caught only twice. …

In parting, it’s the profession, that’s all. No other reason to explain the cloud of doubt following Roger Federer like a swarm of mosquitoes these days.

The guy has won Wimbledon five times in a row and hasn’t lost on grass in 60 matches, including his dominating opening-round win on Monday. Thanks to his reign, there is only one other former Wimbledon champ in the field, Lleyton Hewitt, and he’s seeded 20th.

But since we the media either praise or raise questions, you have what you have: a legion of tennis followers waiting for Federer, still only 26, to lose sometime during the next two weeks at Wimbledon so they can say, “I told you so.”

Breckenridge resident Devon O’Neil’s $0.02 column runs Tuesdays. He can be reached at

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