SYDNEY, Australia — The Olympics end today. The final medals will be decided. But I’m ready to name my own winners and losers of the past few weeks.
By the way, I am a purist.
Only gold …and tin.
* Gold: To out-of-retirement swimmers Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres. They came. They saw. They delivered.
* Tin: To French track diva Marie-Jose Perec. She came. She saw. She ran away.
New Olympic Event
* Gold: Triathlon. Every time you watch it, you think “grueling.”
* Tin: Trampoline. Every time you watch it, you think “gym class.”
* Gold: Beach volleyball. No one’s watching the ball.
* Tin: Table tennis. No one can see the ball.
* Gold: Marion Jones. Every company in America would have her.
* Tin: C.J. Hunter. Even the doughnut shop doesn’t want him.
* Gold: Aussie boxer Bradley Hore, 18, who couldn’t make weight because he’d grown 2 inches since qualifying.
* Tin: The Kazakhstan coach, nabbed with 15 vials of human growth hormone. He said it was for his baldness.
* Gold: The Italian medalist who said before his drug test: “Cut me open. All you’ll find is pasta and marinara sauce.”
* Tin: The Australian walker who was disqualified 200 meters from winning her 20-kilometer race. When asked what she needed, she said, “A gun to shoot myself.”
* Gold: When Rulon Gardner, the unheralded Wyoming farm boy, beat the unbeatable Siberian Bear, Alexandre Karelin, in Greco-Roman wrestling.
* Tin: Finding out they eat kangaroos down here — with barbecue sauce.
* Gold: To tae kwon do’s Esther Kim, who sacrificed her spot so her best friend, Kay Poe, could go to these Olympics. Good on ya, Esther.
* Tin: U.S. swimmer Amy Van Dyken. She spits in the lane of the opponent next to her. Yuck.
* Gold: Aguida Agalar, the marathoner from war-torn East Timor. Finished third-from-last — and still kissed the ground.
* Tin: U.S. men’s basketball team. Can finish first — and still lose interest.
Olympic State of Denial
* Gold: C.J. Hunter.
* Tin: NBC.
Most Photogenic Aussie
* Gold: Pole vaulter Tatiana Grigorieva. Think Heather Locklear.
* Tin: Long jumper Jai Taurima. Think Weird Al Yankovic.
Olympic Water Story
* Gold: Eric Moussambani of Equatorial Guinea. He gave new meaning to the words “swim slow.”
* Tin: The sharks in Sydney Harbor. Gave new meaning to the words “swim fast.”
Home Team Performance
* Gold: Cathy Freeman, the 400-meter gold medalist, who helped unite her nation, black and white.
* Tin: Whoever set the vault 5 centimeters too low. No wonder the gymnasts were black and blue.
* Gold: To USA Track & Field, which hides its drug-testing results better than Los Alamos hides its nuclear secrets.
* Tin: NBC’s delayed TV broadcast. I’ll let you in on something: The Olympics actually ended last week. They just haven’t been televised yet.
Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Catch Mitch’s radio shows — “Albom in the Afternoon” 3-6 p.m. weekdays and “Monday Sports Albom” 7-9 p.m. Mondays — on WJR-AM (760).