Shameless nationalism

The word of the day is hubris (n. Presumption, orig. towards the gods; pride, excessive self-confidence). This is in honor of the U.S. 400-meter freestyle relay team, which beat the French team last night (this morning if you are in China) after a member of the French team said they would "smash" the Americans.

The Americans won in 3 minutes, 8.24 seconds, which was 0.08 seconds ahead of the French. The U.S. time broke the world record by 3.99 seconds, which is huge in swimming. It also gave Michael Phelps his second gold medal. He's trying to win eight, which would set a record for the most in one Olympics.

From the L.A. Times:

Word had filtered over to the U.S. camp that the French team had been dismissive of the Americans' chances in the relay. For 300 meters, well, Bernard, Frederick Bousquet and company were right.

"Bob (Bowman) had said that the French team was saying some stuff, talking a little bit of trash," Phelps said. "It fired me up more than anything else. We were all fired up."

The member of the French team who made the "smash" comment was Alain Bernard. He swam the last 100 meters of the relay against 32-year-old American Jason Lezak, and Bernard led most of the way. But Bernard lost it in the final strokes.

Bernard might be interested to know that a French equivalent to hubris is orgueil, which means "pride, arrogance," according to