Last week almost every American was fired up when French swimmer Alain Bernard said that he had come to "smash the Americans."
This week the entire nation of Russia was fired up when American pole vaulter Jennifer Stuczynski said: "I hope we go over there and do some damage, kick some Russian butt. I hope that fires them up because we are pretty fired up over here."
According to Elena Isinbaeva, the Russian pole vaulter Stuczynski was talking about, that was all the motivation she needed. At the pole vault final on Monday night, like the 4x100 freestyle relay, that statement was the talk of the event. It was to be a showdown between Russia and the USA.
The two countries had always been rivals, but it wasn't an actual contest. Isinbaeva had always been the better pole vaulter. She's gone unbeaten in every event in which she's taken since 2003. That said, she wasn't about to let an American put her down like that.
Isinbaeva went into the event on Monday ready to win. Stuczynski set a personal best of 4.92m during the trials. However, she could only manage a 4.80m successful attempt during the final and failed to do anymore
The rest of the night went to Isinbaeva. With her 5.05m record in the bag, she easily won the gold. Her new record is her 24th world record. Stuczynski walked away with silver for her 4.80m attempt. Svetlana Feofanova, another Russian, took the bronze with her 4.75m attempt.
"She has never beaten me. She is talking too much. So I didn’t say anything. I just wanted to prove who is the best. I am not deaf. I can read interviews and hear what is being talked about," Isinbaeva said after the event.
"She told reporters that, it made me really angry because I said, ‘How is it possible to speak like this about me?' When I found out, it wasn’t nice first of all because she must respect me and know her position. Now she knows it."
This Olympics has been full of smack talk and controversy. It's nice to know that athletes can use that to their advantage. I'm actually hoping for more smack talk. It makes the Olympics all the more fun. Don't you think?