PHOENIX, Arizona, January 22. YESTERDAY in the United States was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which commemorated the life of one of the best, if not the best, crusaders for peace and equality in our country. While the big news of the day Monday mostly focused on the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, an Olympic swimmer got some recognition of her own in a special ceremony. During the halftime of the basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York City between the Knicks and the Nets, Lia Neal was honored for her performance at the London Olympics, where she won a bronze medal as part of the 400 free relay. Neal also got to meet filmmaker Spike Lee at the game, putting a cap on an already exciting day. And if you're a basketball fan, the Nets won 88-85.
The Australian national team swam at the Aquatic Super Series under a new set of rules essentially banning them from using their cell phones and social media during official team functions. The new rule was the result of a review after the country's subpar performance at the Olympics, in which head coach Leigh Nugent said athletes were more in tune with checking in on Twitter and Facebook than on team bonding and performance. It's the only type of restriction we know of that has been put on elite swimmers anywhere in the world, and Nugent said the team atmosphere at the Aquatic Super Series in Perth improved greatly as a result.