Much of my activity while I’ve been on vacation this past week has consisted of watching the Olympics. I feel no sheepishness whatsoever about that.

Some observations from one guy’s (extensive) viewing of the London Games.

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No debate necessary: Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all time. Twenty two Olympic medals, 18 of them gold. Enough said.

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Most underappreciated sport: Rowing. There’s no such thing as an easy sport, but rowing looks spectacularly difficult. If there’s a muscle group rowers DON’T tax, I’ve seen no evidence of it. No wonder all the rowers look completely spent at the end of the race.

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Best race so far that hasn’t been a world record: 15-year-old Katie Ledecky’s American-record setting gold medal swim in the women’s 800-meter freestyle. As commentators fretted - and I admit, I agreed for awhile - that she may have started out too fast, Ledecky kept pulling away from everyone else.

Ahead of world record pace much of the race, Ledecky eventually routed a quality field.

Now THAT’s racing.

Rebecca Adlington of Britain, the 2008 gold medalist at that distance, evidently agreed, telling Ledecky afterward, “Amazing. Well done.”

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Best quote so far: “It’s a little bit different when you win: It takes about a month for it to sink in. When you lose, it smacks you right in the face the second the ball hits the sand.” - Phil Dalhausser after he and beach volleyball partner Todd Rogers of Solvang, the defending gold medalists, were upset 21-17, 21-19 by Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo of Italy.

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Mutual respect: Neither man was 100 percent physically going into the match, but Dalhausser and Rogers both said to a television interviewer that the Italian pair, who indeed played an excellent match, were deserving winners. Meanwhile, Nicolai told the Associated Press, “We’ve won two times against them, but everything is a battle. They are the best team in the world, I am sure. If we play in another match, they can win the gold medal.”    

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How do they like her now?: As the women’s 10,000 meters gold medal race was about to start, a commentator mentioned that Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba seemed hurt that those in charge of putting together the Ethiopian team left her out of the 5,000.

After Dibaba turned loose a 62-second last lap and ran away from a quality field to win in a world-leading 30:20, the higher-ups in charge of putting together the Ethiopian squad may have been the ones feeling bruised. Dibaba seemed to have plenty left in the tank after earning the first track and field gold medal of these games.

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Olympic All-Name Team captain: Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands. Oh yeah, she can swim too. Kromowidjojo scored an Olympic swimming sprint double, winning the women’s 50 and 100 meters races.

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Hey, NBC: Please. Take note of some Olympic past. One  “Up Close and Personal,” segment by the late, great Jim McKay was worth more than every bit of air time featuring Ryan Seacrest or John McEnroe (I actually like McEnroe as a tennis commentator) hangin’ in the studio and talking about this or that.

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Boy, did she ever come up big for the team:2011 world champion Jordyn Wieber, bitterly disappointed at not qualifying for the individual all-around final, delivered big-time as the U.S. women routed the rest of the field en route to winning team gymnastics gold.

Happy second week of Olympics viewing, everyone. 

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