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Wide World of Balls

Fortune Favors the Bolt

Women's soccer overtakes the Olympics and almost gets ruined by referee-beef, terrible preseason football ruins Twitter, Stephen Strasburg's innings ruins mid-Atlantic baseball, and more from this past week in sports. Plus, Dwight Howard is traded and...

We understand, you missed the last week in sports because you were on vacation digging for clams. Which is like, sick. But, to each his own. Even though you should feel shame over your gross adult vacation, don’t feel bad about sports. VICE has culled the latest treasures from this past sports week’s journalism seabed. You like that, huh, sickie?

- There was a women’s soccer game, and lo, it was good. Canada and the US were fighting over the chance to play for gold. The refereeing was odd, but none of that matters since it was a big game, the US won, and then, eventually, wound up winning gold over Japan. Hooray!


- In Olympic basketball news, a bunch of stuff happened, including the US Men’s team winning gold over Spain, and all-timer Manu Ginobili debating international retirement, and Carmelo Anthony and Linas Kleiza looking awesome and all, but all them stories paled to the time Nicolas Batum punched some guy in the balls. Here is a .gif of it, it is best watched repeatedly.

- Mexico won gold at soccer. It’s maybe the biggest international win in El Tri’s history, but it’s not the World Cup, so does it matter? The answer is a reserved “kind of,” but it's all Mexican league players, which is something.

- After winning the 100M, Usain Bolt won the 200M last week, and in addition to being super fast, he’s one of the handful of athletes who actually have engaging personalities. He then hung out with the Swedish handball team and proclaimed he’s going to try out for Manchester United (he'll try out after the Olympics). He’s incredibly cool for an athlete, pretty cool for a Jamaican, and about average for a Manchester United fan.

- Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg is nearing the end of his reported innings limit, which is a big deal since 1. He’s awesome 2. His team is, barring catastrophe, moving on in the playoffs. What will that mean if they keep going and are in the World Series and he can’t pitch? Is it worth it to mortgage his potent robo-arm? Are innings limits and pitch counts even helpful? ESPN’s Jayson Stark has a good look at the mishegas.


- Oliver Perez, who was arguably the worst pitcher in baseball history when he stunk it up for the Mets a few years back, is doing mildly well for Seattle in a severely limited capacity. He’s doing this as a reliever who has pitched about three or four starts' worth, depending on how you gauge a start, which is nothing to get too excited about. That said, people are. It’s unfortunate, since he’s really bad against left-handed hitters. Also, since he's a reliever, at a macro level everything he does is at best a fluke.

- Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz used to be a non-prospect and the worst hitter on his team, and while he’s still like 5’2, he’s now the best hitter in a once-stacked, now old as shit lineup, and there's a good story about his neat-o journey to the big leagues in what might be an MVP season. He also went to the DL two days after the article came out. D’oh!

- Football is officially, sort-of, underway, in the sense that training camps are officially underway. There were also some nationally-televised football games, though they were preseason, so it doesn’t count. Football preseason is like baseball spring training but infinitely worse, since it doesn’t have as many prospect-related first looks. To be fair, both are a news overkill, and the real season is infinitely better in both cases. That said, Tim Tebow lost, which is pretty cool.

- Jeffrey Lurie, who owns the Eagles, now has full control of the team—whatever that means—since getting divorced, and that amount of control is incidentally more than most NFL owners have over their own teams. It looked like he might lose some of the team, but he didn’t, and his wife has a non-voting share. So it’s like the Dodgers's McCourt divorce, only a lot less exciting, like if the real estate in question was all in Yardley. Boy, would that be depressing.

- There might be a lockout, and Plan B involves Russia, which is terrible.


Previously - So Phelps Is Lame