Freaks of Nature

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    There's something thrilling (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by elmey on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:01:17 PM EST
    about seeing an exceptional athletic performance, and the joy the athletes (including Secretariat) take in it. After the 100M the NBC announcer mentioned Bolt's technique was still comparatively raw and he can get even better.  Is that possible?

    Watch his 100m run again. (none / 0) (#15)
    by free the wm3 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:22:53 PM EST
    It's not Bolt's race yet; him technique is still pretty raw.  It simply stunning to watch him glide past his competitors.

    his, duh (none / 0) (#16)
    by free the wm3 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:25:11 PM EST
    I want to see Chad Johnson challenge (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by rjarnold on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:20:23 PM EST
    Usain Bolt to a race.

    That would be entertaining. (none / 0) (#14)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:22:38 PM EST
    Chad Johnson.... (none / 0) (#77)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 09:59:49 AM EST
    the wide receiver?

    He'd get smoked by Bolt...he's not even considered the fastest man in the NFL.


    My husband said (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:38:42 PM EST
    "Wow, does he have good hands too? Maybe the Seahawks could recruit him as a wide receiver.

    Of course, he also has to be able to take a hit...although as fast as he is, maybe not."

    Heeee (none / 0) (#19)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:39:33 PM EST
    is the reason I watch Olympics.

    Secretariat (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by miriam on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:56:15 PM EST
    was more beautiful, much more dignified at the finish line, and ran a lot farther!  Could Bolt have beat him going that distance?  Of course not.  Just to put things in perspective.  

    A good part of what knocked me (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:24:50 PM EST
    out about Secretariat was the fact that, even for a  horse, he was so easygoing, so cool and uncomplicated.  He just liked to run and leave other horses in the dust for his own pleasure.  After the race, he wasn't consulting his agent and PR guy and trying to work out endorsements and appearances on Larry King, he just wanted a cool shower, a nice bag of oats and a warm stall to nap in.

    More perspective... (none / 0) (#42)
    by dskinner3 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:30:19 PM EST
    Usain Bolt is 21, in his first Olympics and enjoying every minute. He broke the world record in only his second race at 100 meters and has not been challenged by the best of the rest of his peers. Comparing a horse to a man is absurd if you ask me.

    Sorry about that (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:38:52 PM EST
    but I actually like animals a lot more than people.

    Me too (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 04:51:51 AM EST
    much tastier!

    Horses are prey animals (none / 0) (#45)
    by Fabian on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:32:33 PM EST
    Humans are predators.

    Predators stalk and rush.  Prey need to outrun predators or merely to be faster than the rest of the herd.


    Actually man can outrun any animal (none / 0) (#46)
    by MarkL on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:34:53 PM EST
    on the planet, including a horse.
    There have been some races between men and horses  that the men win. I think it takes about 20 miles.
    We have the best cooling system of any mammal, as well as many other advantages for running.

    Bolt (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by JThomas on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:05:15 PM EST
    I heard them say that Bolt took three less strides than the other guys in the 100 due to his heighth. This guy is most definitely the dawn of a new age of sprinters...if you arent 6'5'' forget it. I remember Edwin Moses also took less strides in the 400 meter hurdles..long legs are a huge advantage.

    Don't say that out loud (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by CoralGables on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:19:04 PM EST
    Although I agree that longer strides are helpful if you can turn them over, please don't mention that thought to little Lauryn Williams until after the 4x100m.

    Yup. I remember hearing that (none / 0) (#36)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:21:30 PM EST
    and also how these guys are usually pulled early for other sports.

    I forgot about EM. Thanks for the reminder :)

    I'm leggy and it def is an advantage in striding. I out walk most women I know and can easily keep up with taller men. I did track (and volleyball/basketball) in JR high, but then went off into dance in HS school :) Now I just use my strides to keep pace with active dogs walking a few miles. Has to be one of my favorite activities.


    Do you know what Olympic heavyweight (none / 0) (#37)
    by MarkL on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:24:07 PM EST
    gold medalist in weightlifting was originally a volleyball player?

    No, I don't! (none / 0) (#56)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:54:47 PM EST
    I don't usually follow weightlifing and am glad I missed the elbow blowout this year.

    So spill!

    Congrats to the women on the beach!


    Vasily Alexeev. (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by MarkL on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 12:07:41 AM EST
    He had some amazing training methods.
    I was just searching  in vain for a photo I've seen before, of one of these special techniques.
    Alexeev lies face down on a pommel horse, with his legs secured behind him. Then, after about 500 lb. is placed across his shoulders, he arches his back quickly, 5 times.

    Here, found a photo of that exercise: (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by MarkL on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 12:11:23 AM EST
    Might Even Be (none / 0) (#41)
    by The Maven on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:30:01 PM EST
    a bigger difference.  I'd heard someone point out that most 100m sprinters take about 47 strides in a race, but Bolt only needs 40-42, which is why it seems like he isn't running as hard as the others, yet still zips past them all.

    As to this becoming the new size standard, as some observers had noted, most fast 6'5" athletes have long since been recruited to be wide receivers in football or basketball players.  Comparatively, the lure of seven- or eight-figure contracts is vastly more than what is available in track for anyone who isn't the world-record holder.

    Bolt could be the archetype for a new era of sprinters, or he could be an outlier in the way that Bob Beamon's long jump record was.  Or, for that matter (since others have brought up non-human athletes), Secretariat, the likes of whom we may never see again.


    The essence of competition (and why I love it) (none / 0) (#76)
    by Ellie on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 06:21:52 AM EST
    ... applied to any challenge in any endeavor is how a competitor creatively uses resources, within set guidelines, to achieve an end. It's just exciting.

    At my old dojo my Sensei used to toss me at much bigger opponents as a sparring partner because I had the advantage of speed and just being plain sneakier. The strategy of the latter is pretty much Open Source, given the motivating factor for me to avoid being snapped in two if caught, and the cumulative effect of being p!ssed on the determination of Hulk No. 397867 to catch me.

    Speed, endurance, strength: all forms of intelligence and the essence of the Olympics.

    And on the topic of endurance, right now I'm trying to figure out how to cure a bad case of Numb Bum as I dis-apply my @ss from the couch.

    (These Games have been exciting all around. Even the non-sports potatoes I know have been glued to the set.)


    I Wonder (none / 0) (#59)
    by flashman on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 12:08:14 AM EST
    If anyone in the NFL is going to contact him.  The Dallas Cowboys tried to draft Carl Lewis.

    Sprinters in the NFL (none / 0) (#67)
    by CoralGables on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 12:44:14 AM EST
    100 meter gold medalists in my lifetime in the NFL....Bob Hayes was good, Jimmy Hines was awful. Track stars can do very well running the European Circuit these days without getting their head knocked off running over the middle.

    Willie Gault.... (none / 0) (#78)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 10:04:07 AM EST
    was so-so for the Bears.

    Because they had luck with Bob Hayes (none / 0) (#71)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 01:21:08 AM EST
    Thanks for that first video! (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:10:33 PM EST
    Dang! Y'all just got a clue of what it would look like if I had to chase down my Dalmatian, lol!~ Thank dawg she has a snappy recall.

    Bolt is just amazing.

    It was one of the most thrilling things (none / 0) (#35)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:20:03 PM EST
    I ever saw in my life.  I was rooting for him, of course, but when he started to pull away from the second horse and then just kept going and going and going, I remember I burst into wild sobs and cried like a baby for quite a while.  Still gives me goosebumps to watch.

    I remember it (none / 0) (#44)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:31:38 PM EST
    but I still checked the date because that video looks so old!

    My parents were always good about "historical events", so this was on in our house. Also, born animal "freak" be me ;) What's amazing is the sheer drive of the horse. The jockey can only do so much. It's the sheer will/drive of the horse (or any animal). True to their nature. The video also made me think about where horse racing is going. Were the horses sturdier back then with less in and cross breeding with lines that had problems just to get speed? I had to stop watching the major races. And this year I almost watched again . . . .


    I'm not an expert (none / 0) (#47)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:34:55 PM EST
    so couldn't say in general, although i've heard that said by others more knowledgeable than I.  But Secretariat for sure was one sturdy critter, in temperament as well as in body.

    I've always rather liked the fact that he wasn't ever able to pass on whatever it was that made him so great to his offspring.  It was ineffable, and unique to him.


    But he did pass it on. (none / 0) (#62)
    by tree on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 12:19:12 AM EST
    He was known for being one of the best producers of broodmares.

    After his death, it was determined by autopsy that he had a very large heart-over twice as large as a normal thoroughbred heart. The large heart gene has recently been discovered to exist only on the x chromosome, thus he could only pass it on to his female offspring.

    Here's an interesting article on the equine genetics of the large heart.


    Very interesting. That didn't affect his (none / 0) (#63)
    by MarkL on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 12:22:16 AM EST
    lifespan, did it?

    No, (none / 0) (#66)
    by tree on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 12:34:20 AM EST
    He was euthanized at 19 because he got laminitis, a pretty much incurable hoof disease that horses are prone to get.

    A real freak of nature (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by angie on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:16:30 PM EST
    My maltese dog Jack (or as my dad dubbed him "JackandJill") that I rescued about a year ago -- he was born an honest to goodness hermaphrodite -- boy parts on the outside, girl parts on the inside -- I had to have him spayed and neutered. Because he was a hermaphrodite (due to inbreeding) nobody wanted him, but I took one look in that little freak's eyes and knew he was "one of us." Since he has been fixed he lives his life as a boy, but he still pees like a girl.

    Be happy he pees like a girl (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:35:12 PM EST
    and had girl inner parts :) May be less prone to blocking. As an owner of a blocking breed, some males who seem to be easy blockers are "re-routed" to pee like girls ;)

    Was he a puppy mill pup? Or BYB?

    Thanks for giving the lil' guy/gal a home!


    He was from a BYB (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by angie on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:54:28 PM EST
    not a puppy mill -- I'm glad I made him a part of casa angie too (although at first, before I actually saw him, I didn't want him, already having a dog & two cats & having run out of relatives I could "talk into" adopting him/her). Of course, once I saw him (which is always the danger zone for me -- if I could stop looking at them, I could stop rescuing them)* I feel in love and had to have him/her. I'm going to end up on a farm in my old age with about 50 dogs & 100 cats -- all fixed, of course (more cats because while I love dogs, deep down, I am the crazy cat lady).

    *Seriously, everyone in my family (immediate & extended) has a rescue of mine that I've placed with them -- that's 11 rescues not including my own 4.


    Currently holding at 6 rescues here (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by nycstray on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 12:15:04 AM EST
    1 Dalmatian and 5 cats. That will change after the move I'm sure, but right now I need to hold because I have to transport them cross country. At one point I was at 8 cats and one Dal. Parents are currently happy with their new rescue Beagle that I helped them find, and may be ready for another in a bit. Otherwise, my family and friends are at their personal limits also. I look at the rescues and send $$$ for the dogs that need help and the rescues that want to help. I try very hard not to look local. That's a danger zone! I've checked out the AC and the HS where I'm moving and will help when I get there with hands on, but right now, I'm resisting the temptation. 5 cats and one dog will be interesting enough in a campervan, lol!~

    I'm working towards my old age and having room for a few personal pets and rescue/fosters. And yes, it will be rural with room to run :)

    I'm glad you made him part of Casa Angie also and that everything worked out. BYBs and puppy mills just play hell on the pets they breed. It's always nice to hear one got a loving home :) My dog is from a byb who gave her to her crackhead friends. Not a pretty situation.


    Good for you. (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by tree on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 12:28:28 AM EST
    My sister sent this you-tube video cuz she thought I'd relate on both levels. I thought it was hilarious, and the guy behind it seems to do alot of cat rescues as well.

    An Engineers Guide to Cats


    This gives me a horrible thought. (none / 0) (#65)
    by MarkL on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 12:30:47 AM EST
    Do you know those "does it blend" videos?
    Well.. you get the idea:)
    Of course, I have in mind a spoof, not the real thing.
    I loved the old "bonsai kitten" site.

    EUWWW. (none / 0) (#68)
    by tree on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 12:50:51 AM EST
    That's a BAD thought. No, this video is not like that. The engineer recommends "corporal cuddling". Its a hoot.

    That was great! (none / 0) (#70)
    by nycstray on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 01:04:21 AM EST
    They do seem to have a good handle on their cats.  And the needed sense of humor ;)

    Loved it. So did the engineer in the family :) n/t (none / 0) (#74)
    by bridget on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 02:16:46 AM EST
    i am glad you did. the return to you (5.00 / 3) (#69)
    by hellothere on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 12:56:28 AM EST
    will be great. bread cast on the waters and all. i have always thought that animals are god's blessing to the world. it's a shame some people don't get that.

    That's such a story (none / 0) (#40)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:29:09 PM EST
    I wonder what would have happened if he/she hadn't been fixed either way.

    You know, I didn't ask (none / 0) (#57)
    by angie on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 12:03:15 AM EST
    although I don't know if the vet could have told me -- he was as amazed by Jack as I was and candidly admitted he had never actually seen a hermaphrodite dog before -- but given that Jack's girl parts were only internal (ovaries) he couldn't have been "made" a girl. I didn't even think of letting him be an unfixed boy (which was a possibility) because I always fix my pets to eliminate the risk of ovarian or testicular cancer. Also, although I always keep my cats indoors & my dogs leashed, it eliminates the risk of the production of more "unwanted" animals  if they get out by accident.  

    He's lost that tingling feeling (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Fabian on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:28:42 PM EST
    whoa-oh, that tingling feeling...

    Maybe Hillary should splash on some Old Spice (gah) and pay Matthews a visit.

    Brings a tear to my eye (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Steve M on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:30:21 PM EST
    Thank you! :) (none / 0) (#52)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:42:53 PM EST
    That's a great race to remember. I've never been to Belmont. Need to get my behind out there before I move.

    You must go.... (none / 0) (#79)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 10:07:02 AM EST
    I'd go everyday if I could...but the creme de la creme of racetracks is Saratoga...now that place is heaven.

    The cutest photos evah! (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by ding7777 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:41:06 PM EST
    at Cute Overload!
    But to stay on topic, here's a "Freak of Nature: Four-eared cat

    Wonderful pics, thanks ding7777 ;) (none / 0) (#53)
    by bridget on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:43:57 PM EST
     You made my day :-)

    Spoilers (none / 0) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 09:35:14 PM EST

    Good Grief (none / 0) (#2)
    by dianem on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 09:41:45 PM EST
    Are you sure that was the title you wanted to put on this? I'm not quite sure what to think. I suppose every great athlete is a bit unusual... as is every exceptionally talented person in any field. But "freak" seems a bit harsh. I'm not a big fan of the Olympics, I have to admit. I like some of the gymnastics, but in all honesty I think that we as a society accomplish more building things than running fast or jumping better. Ballet is just as athletic, and more interesting. But at least the gymnasts tend to retire before the turn into middle aged anorexics with major limb problems and they don't usually end up with major brain damage from having 300 lb men run into them or professional hitters hit them in the heard. Don't even get me started on weight lifting or boxing.

    Good grief (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 09:45:16 PM EST
    is right.

    What a comment.


    Ummm.... freak = good (none / 0) (#4)
    by Exeter on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 09:50:37 PM EST
    Sort of like when somebody says your are a "bad, bad, bad man..." they are giving them a compliment.

    Focus on the nature part as well (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 09:52:10 PM EST
    As opposed to drug created freaks (see Johnson, Ben).

    From Geroge Vecse';s article (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:06:04 PM EST
    Force of Nature:

    Needless to say, the subject of performance-enhancing drugs came up in the news conference before the race. The subject is inevitable, what with Ukraine's Olympic heptathlon silver medalist, Lyudmila Blonska, likely to be banned for life as a second offender after apparently testing positive Wednesday.

    Somebody asked Johnson if he thought Bolt had any cloud over him. "If somebody wants to believe that, it's his prerogative, but I'm giving you another reason," Johnson said, meaning that Bolt may just be a force of nature, who is mastering the technique while he breaks records.

    Lamine Diack of Senegal, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, said the current crop of great Jamaican runners were being tested for drugs steadily at major meets, and that Bolt had been tested four times at these Games.

    Have you seen Carl Lewis lately? (none / 0) (#81)
    by interestedcanuck on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 02:20:58 PM EST

    Funny how you ignore all the chemical, AMERICAN freaks and point to one across the border.

    How did Flo-Jo die? How about Marion Jones- how's she doing these days?

    Have you seen Carl Lewis lately? I ask because he exhibits every single symptom of long time steroid use!

    No need to point to someone else's country's disgrace. There's lots in your own backyard!


    I guess I missed that slang (none / 0) (#21)
    by dianem on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:46:07 PM EST
    When I hear "freak" I think about freak shows. The term "freak of nature" makes me think of a two headed snake or a very disturbed person (i.e. he totally freaked out).

    I've never seen anything like Bolt (none / 0) (#6)
    by Exeter on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 09:52:34 PM EST
    I've watched alot of runners, but I've never seen anyone with such a fluid, natural stride.  If anyone ever breaks the 9.5 barrier in the 100, it will be him.

    9.5 and sub 19 in the 200 (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 09:55:17 PM EST
    eddie hart (none / 0) (#8)
    by Turkana on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 09:57:48 PM EST
    fastest man alive. 1972.

    Fastest man ever (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 09:59:42 PM EST
    Usain Bolt.

    Michael Johnson said (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:02:39 PM EST
    "It was the most impressive athletic performance I have ever seen in my life," Johnson said Wednesday, before Bolt's latest most impressive athletic performance. "It was amazing to watch -- especially since I didn't have to watch from behind."

    Go Donny Robinson!!! (none / 0) (#17)
    by coigue on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:28:35 PM EST
    BMX biking from my home town!

    Bitty youtube videos (none / 0) (#20)
    by Fabian on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:40:14 PM EST
    don't do it for me.

    Loved the mini monorail that they used to film the race.  (Easier to pick out the camera car than the runners.) I wonder who gets that footage?  That's prime stuff!

    Amazing (none / 0) (#22)
    by Steve M on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:50:55 PM EST
    Never seen anything like it.

    August 21, (none / 0) (#24)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:00:44 PM EST
    His birthday and mine.  Can I glum on and claim something?  I am sure the new age people would find something.  

    How does bush address an issue? (none / 0) (#27)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:04:24 PM EST
    By not addressing it because to address an issue indicates that it's, in fact, an issue.

    That's how George W. Bush addresses an issue.

    The horse race and horse carriage industries (none / 0) (#51)
    by bridget on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:41:20 PM EST
    are cruel and pure animal abuse

    both should be outlawed

    Sekretariat is not a freak of nature. Just a v. very fast horse.

    Sadly none of the candidates care enough about animals to fight for animal rights. Clearly, All their faith and morality talk doesn't include compassion for animals.    

    Green party is Animal Rights (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:48:13 PM EST
    prob the main reason I hold back my support. Animal Welfare, yes. Animal Rights, no.

    Yeah. Lots of people think like you do: (none / 0) (#72)
    by bridget on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 02:06:01 AM EST
    Humans can do whatever they want with animals. And they do. Appalling stuff. The general peculiar belief that animals in comparison to humans don't have a soul is the reason for it. No doubt about that.

    It is a disgrace and Nothing to be proud of, to say the v. least.


    If you are suggesting that people cannot (none / 0) (#73)
    by MarkL on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 02:14:43 AM EST
    eat animals, then I think your position is absurd.
    If you think animals have rights equal to humans, that is even more absurd.
    If you are in favor of better treatment of animals, I am in agreement.

    Ever worked with horses? (none / 0) (#80)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 10:33:24 AM EST
    I have...every instinct I have tells me they enjoy a good ride as much as the human being on their back.  Any horse that does not want a person on its back will let you know right quick... by throwing your arse off.

    Horse racing has issues, no doubt....I'd love to see the drugs outta the game and the weight limits raised for jocks and other things...but to call it animal abuse is silly.  Thoroughbreds get treated better human beings more often than not.

    I'm with ya on the horse carriages...from what I've seen and read those horses don't get treated so hot...making horses trot on concrete is not kosher.  I wouldn't go so far as outlawing it though.