The Italians kicked ass in boxing, the one sport I have a really strong affinity for. (And, at the same time, am repulsed by the fallout that comes from gigantic men smashing each others heads in with those 10 oz. clubs called “boxing gloves”.)
I saw Cammarelle’s gold medal super-heavyweight fight against the Chinese, but the one that really caught my eye was Russo against the American Wilder. In both fights, the Italian was the smaller guy. In the Russo-Wilder fight, the American was about half a foot taller. And something like 7-8 years older.
In both fights, the Italians forced their opponents to close and then just weren’t wherever their fists were. Their opponents were not nearly so lucky, suffering all kinds of blows as the Italians slipped in and out on the hard-charging American and Chinese brawlers. They didn’t show us how Russo lost his medal–at least, I missed it–but I would’ve liked to see the guy who was better.
The boxing judging was intermittently atrocious, so I don’t know if he lost fair-and-square, but that’s the sort of fighter I would’ve liked to be back in the day.
Meanwhile, the Italians performed a stunning rhythmic gymnastics performance and ended forced out because of the Chinese factor. (The Chinese did well, but they were nowhere near on the level of the Italians, who did about 12 things that had you gasping “How did they do that?”)
Oh, well. There’s a reason the Chinese got so many gold this year, and it ain’t entirely because they’ve improved so much.