by Frank Li
Olympics 2012 opens today in London.
On the USA Men’s Swimming Team, there are three “special” Olympians from Illinois: Conor Dwyer, Matt Grevers, and Tyler McGill. Why are they so special to me? You will understand it by looking at the table below.
Congratulations to Conor, Matt, and Tyler! I have been watching you for more than a decade, from age groups, to high school, to NCAA, and all the way through the recent Olympic trials! Swim fast in London!
Like many sports parents, I dreamed about being an Olympian parent too. But that dream was soon dashed as I became more insightful into the sport(s):
- It’s all about height in the end! As they say in sports, there is only one thing that cannot be learned/taught: height!
- Height is mostly determined in the genes! With two Asian parents, my two sons were limited in their potential in most sports for one simple reason: not tall enough!
So for my two sons, swimming was not an end in itself, but a means to excellence in life (The Battle Hymn of The Tiger Dad). Luckily, it has worked out well for them: They both became Illinois state champions and moved on with their lives beyond swimming.
Now, on Olympic swimming … will Team USA do well in London? Yes! Will it achieve its full potential? No! Why? It’s “tapering”, stupid! Tapering “refers to the practice of reducing exercise in the days just before an important competition”. USA Swimming holds its Olympic trials a few weeks before the Olympics. Most of the swimmers taper for, and peak at, the trials, without enough time to re-adjust for the Olympics (except for the overwhelmingly good swimmers like Michael Phelps and Ryan Lockte)! The Australian Team pointed this out to USA Swimming a few years ago when it revealed its secret of success: the Australian Olympic Team is formed around March, with enough time to train and taper for the Olympics! But for some reason, USA Swimming has yet to make this adjustment. Maybe it will do so after losing a few more times to the Australians …
Next, you surely have heard about this story: U.S. Olympic Uniforms Spark Fury in Congress. Chicago Tribune’s Philip Hersh has five words for Congress: “Put up or shut up.” For more, read his article: On Olympics uniform issue, Congress wears the emperor’s new clothes. I enjoyed reading it!
Now, on Philip Hersh – He got me into writing on politics four years ago. Here is an excerpt from a previous publication of mine (My American Dream Has Come True):
It all started in April 2008, after a sports writer at the Chicago Tribune wrote a nasty article about China’s preparation for the Beijing Olympics. It was so unfair and irresponsible that ‘he is not going to get away with it without hearing from me.’ So I wrote him an email, and heated email exchanges ensued …
Finally, on the Olympics beyond swimming … here are five big questions for you to ponder:
- Why do you have to be black to run fast and jump long?
- Why do Africans dominate long distance running?
- Why are the whites so dominant in the high jump?
- Why are Asians so hopeless in almost all sports other than their “own” (e.g. ping-pong and badminton)?
- Why is there an age limit (i.e. 16) in women’s gymnastics, but not in other sports (e.g. swimming)?
Hint: the answers lie in race, genes, and politics! I will discuss them in future writings. Meanwhile, let’s just enjoy Olympics 2012 – Swimming, track & field, gymnastics, and much more, while keeping this subject in mind: U.S. Versus China in Olympic Medal Count.
About the Author
Frank Li is the Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action.