Some people are so into the Olympics that barely any world news has crossed their eyes the past 10 days. They probably thought Curiosity was the name of the horse Canada was barred from using in show jumping.Canada got hosed on the soccer pitch, which hurt really bad since Christine Sinclair and cohorts outplayed Uncle Sam, their resented older sibling. But there's so much more. No one should look foolish because he/she shut off the iPhone for a couple days and is now asking when Mary Spencer fights for the gold medal. As a quasi-public service, here's a primer on what you might have missed.
[Slideshow: Canada falls to US in women's soccer semis]
— Usain Bolt, comma. The first man to repeat as 100-metre champion without the affirmation of the Olympic Doping Centre left us wondering how long until we see another like him. The 6-foot-5 Jamaican wunderkind, with his Olympic-record 9.63-second 100, shows he's done to the event what Bobby Orr did to the defence position in hockey four decades ago. This was all said in Beijing, but how long until another country takes a runner with that kind of length and develops him into a gold-medal contender?
Bolt is the show of shows, even if bottle-hurling Brits begrudged him his greatness. The Games rolled into the middle weekend in search of a star. Search no more.
— "Norwegian ref" is the new "French skating judge": Canada had mighty Team USA dead to rights in the women's soccer semifinal that the country stood still for, leading 3-2 after Sinclair's hat-trick goal. Then the double whammy of a referee enforcing a rule that's never enforuced and a questionable handball off the ensuing free kick helped the U.S. knot the game on an Abby Wambach penalty.
It was a robbery that will be remembered from here until the 2015 FIFA Women's Worl Cup in Canada. And the entire country ended up seeing red, as Benjamin Massey best put it:
Norwegian referee Christina Pedersen has either got a nice new house in Oslo paid for with dirty money or she is the worst referee to ever lace up boots in a major competition. She is either dirty or dumb; corrupt or crap. There are no other options. If she's dirty, then we can only pray she gets what coming to her. If she's just a completely useless official, which is personally what I believe, then hopefully we'll be asking questions about the odd sort of affirmative action which says women's games must have female referees no matter how terrible, as if women's soccer doesn't deserve officials picked on the basis of ability rather than gender. (Eighty-Six Forever)
If you're feeling bittersweet, use the #SinclairForFlagBearer hashtag. As Penny would say on Happy Endings, "Make it catch on." Christine Sinclair's eyes blazed throughout the Manchester night like she was Rocket Richard reincarnate; that was more riveting than any medal. The flag bearer honour is ideally bestowed on the Canadian performer who galvanized our oft-divided nation and Sinclair, as the fulcrum of a mighty Maple Leaf effort, did that on Monday.
— British tabs get chance to use "another trophy for Michael Phelps" headline: The U.S. swimmer added a fourth gold medal of these Games in a relay on Saturday. Then pictures surfaced of his new significant other, or WAG, in Fleet Str havieet shorthand. Just click the above link for a Webster's-worthy definition of "outkicking the coverage."
— Mary Spencer, what happened? The boxer was played up as a gold-medal hopeful from the second in 2009 when the IOC decided (a few) women would get to throw their hat into the ring. She booked a Cover Girl ad. Then she lost at the worlds, needed a wild-card entry into the Olympics, only had to win one match to guarantee a medal and looked sluggish and slow while losing to China's Li Jinzi. The prevailing theory, as Nick Cotsonika explained it, is that she overtrained. It also shouldn't be forgotten that she built her rep winning world championships in a lighter weight class before having to gain 9 kg (20 lbs) to fight as a middleweight after the IOC decided to award on three gold medals in women's boxing (That decision which surprised Spencer at the time). In any event, she didn't have the speed and stamina.
— Doubting Adam van Koeverden, that's a paddlin': Canada's male athletes have two of the Great White North's three silvers, but no gold so far. AVK laid waste to his first two heats in the K1 1,000 on Monday and looks like a threat for gold again.
— Everyone might be taking a dive, except for the divers! There is a military presence around the Games, but all the tank jobs are coming from the athletes. After China's skulduggery on the badminton court, the IOC has swung into overreaction for the slightest sign of athletes slacking during a competition.
Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi quit during a men's 800-metre heat and only an appeal by his country has kept him around to run his best event, the 1,500. In basketball, Spain was accused of dumping its last game to stay out of the Dream Team's half of the playoff bracket. (Hmm. It just couldn't be that Brazil played better?)
[Also: Canada's Olympic hero at last]
The athletes are on notice that "full effort" is expected at all times. That is a crazy notion to someone in North America, where the sports figure most synonymous with "full effort" at all times, Pete Rose, is a complete jerk who was exiled from baseball in disgrace. Just saying.
— Rosie MacLennan inspires a new word, MUTHACANUKIN: The trampoline queen from King City, Ont., received her highest scores ever in the biggest event of her competitive life to bring the country its first gold at London 2012. And, whatever might ail the world, know it's a wonderful time to be alive when a Hollywood celebrity such as Samuel L. Jackson is an awe of a humble amateur athlete.
Your assignment for Tuesday: get MUTCHCANUKIN into a sentence without anyone noticing.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.
More London Olympics coverage on Yahoo! Canada Sports:
• Photos: Hottest Olympic athletes
• Rosie MacLennan's remarkable journey
• Why Brent Hayden is quitting swimming
• Video: Is Ryan Lochte ready to become a sex symbol?
- Sports & Recreation
- Usain Bolt
- Mary Spencer
- Christine Sinclair