(August 9) The just-concluded Olympics were a huge triumph for the United States, whose athletes were almost universally likable and patriotic while keeping domestic politics at bay. And it was icing on the cake that Team USA beat team China both in gold medals and, overwhelmingly, in total medals.

For those who missed the events, consider this as one man’s opinion, with must-watch links supplied, on the four most memorably joyous U.S. celebrations and the three most memorable athletic triumphs of these games.

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything as infectiously wonderful, in a lifetime of watching sports, as the Alaskan hometown celebration of bunny-hopping children being thrilled by swimmer Lydia Jacoby’s gold in the 100-meter breaststroke. The small-town community pride on display, the idea (in Jacoby’s words at the 2:12 mark here ) that “we did this together” reminds us that in the Olympics, these hard-working athletes really do represent all of us, or at least us at our best.

Wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock’s celebration went viral when, with the most winsome smile imaginable, she told the world, “I love representing the U.S. I freakin’ love living there. I love it, and I’m so happy I get to represent U-S…A!” Surely no Chinese athlete under the current regime will ever effervesce that way , not believably.

Speaking of wrestling, if you claimed to have seen a 260-pound man do a perfect land-based backflip before this Olympics, you might be called a liar. Not any longer — not after Gable Steveson’s display after his final half-second, comeback gold-medal win.

In the last of my favorite celebrations, the chiseled, major-tattooed male swimming sprinters look like tough-guy Navy SEALs, but the tears of joy from five-gold-medal-winning Caeleb Dressel when he saw his family on screen, and then when the National Anthem played, were terrifically human and poignant…. [The rest of this column is here.]


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