Sunday, August 10, 2008

The big Olympic stop-down

I am pleased to report that my fascination with the Olympic Games is back in full force. I am enthralled by the non-stop competition, and am fully engaged in NBC's massive coverage.

I don't know what happened the past few Games, why my interest waned, just as I can't explain specifically why I'm back to it as strongly as I am. I will tell you that HD TV helps - I'm still so giddy about HD that I'll watch pretty much anything as long as it's broadcast in at least 720. But it's clearly more than that.

During the opening ceremonies the other day (TREMENDOUS work by the the Chinese organizing committee, by the way - they raised the bar big time), it struck me how unique this event is. The Russians, the Iranians, the Israelis, the South Africans, etc, all cheering for each other, competing with each other with no violence or even bad feelings in evidence - boys and girls, this is near-miracle stuff. And it happens every couple of years.

Maybe I'm just now getting what everyone else has been aware of for years. So I'm slow. That's no surprise.

Some specifics to call out:

The US basketball team looks serious, thank God. The talent they put on the court is staggering, and it looks, one game in, like they're going to play some team defense and submerge the egos.

How friggin' great is Michael Phelps? As a fan of greatness wherever I can find it, I love his dominance, and am grateful for the opportunity to witness it.

As much as I am enjoying the Games, where did some of these sports come from? I'm still having a hard time with Beach Volleyball as an Olympic sport. I found myself watching Badminton in the wee hours this morning. And Olympic Handball sure isn't the handball my grandfather used to dominate.

Volleyball is a beating, both the beach and the court varieties. Serve, dig, set, spike, repeat. Whee.

The Cycling Road Race course was AMAZING. Tienanmen, the Great Wall, some of everyday Beijing - the venue was as much fun to watch as the race itself.

I am prattling on. Suffice it to say, I'm having a ball with this year's Olympics. Now if I can just get the kids off the Wii long enough to join me...

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