Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympic quick-hits

Well, it's done. Two weeks of some pretty cool moments, a bit of controversy, annoying commercials, and oodles of high-def goodness came to a thrilling close this evening.

Now that the Beijing Games of 2008 are in the books, I have a few things to record for my future reminiscing, not to mention the edification of the seven of you who continue to read this little time-waste of a blog.

- No one will ever top the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in Beijing. Vancouver and, especially, London would be nuts to even attempt it. If I'm part of the planning for London 2012, I'm thinking minimalist. Either that, or I'm looking into raising John and George from the grave and reuniting the Beatles.

- Which was the bigger performance: Phelps or Bolt? To me, Bolt's races were more exciting. Maybe its because things happen faster on the track than in the water, maybe it's Bolt's larger-than-lifeness, I don't know. All I know is I was on my feet for both the 100M and the 200M, and not at all for the swimming.

- But, on the other hand, Phelps is a phenomenon. Some of the criticism I've heard about the big deal made over his accomplishment goes along the lines of "Look how many races he was in". Well, look at his competition - how many times did he face the same guys? My point is most guys can't swim that many races. Bolt could have run the 400M or some of the other distances, but he chose to specialize. Phelps did it all.

- NBC's final montage of great moments made me a little misty. If that makes me a synonym-for-kitty-cat, then so be it. I've always been a sucker for well-produced heart-string-tuggers.

- All four members of the US women's 4X400M relay team were hot.

- I think my wife thought the same about the US men's 4X400M team, with the exception of Jeremy Wariner. She got a look at him during the medal ceremony and said something along the lines of "No wonder he wears those sunglasses". Funny!

- I saw more of Jane McGarry and Mike Snyder in the past two weeks than I have in the last two years combined. And it will be 2010 before I watch them with any sort of regularity again. That set is home to more forced humor than a bad AM radio morning show. I bet Finfrock had "Kick Me" signs taped to his back three times a week in junior high school. And it was probably Snyder doing the taping.

- Whoever is in charge of advertising at Nationwide Insurance needs to be fired immediately. What the hell was up with that stupid "Young Guy Hits Old Couple's Car and Old Woman Whips His Ass" ad? For as much as Nationwide spent on ad time during the Olympics, wouldn't you think they'd have more than one spot to run? I can't tell you how sick I am of that ad, nor how unlikely it is that I will ever do business with Nationwide. Idiots.

- If I was 20 years old and had even an iota of athletic ability, I'd emigrate to Trinidad and Tobago or Fiji or somesuch, learn how to throw a javelin or play badminton, and get to the Olympics. What a frickin' party! Man, that looks like fun!

- Since I'm not 20, and I never had an iota of athletic ability, I am ready to kill all of the spare sports. Seriously - let's stop wasting time with javelin, hammer-throws, badminton, water polo, rhythmic gymnastics, handball, etc. All these are good for is a ticket to the Olympics for kids who want to go to the party.

- I think the ancient Greeks would have a tough time with trampoline, beach volleyball, BMX bicycling, synchronized swimming, synchronized diving, and some of the other "new" sports.

- My 10-year-old daughter was really into it this time around. I hope my son will be ready for the Winter Olympics in 2010.

- Bob Costas is the best studio host in the history of the job. And that's saying something in a field which includes Jim McKay.

- Jim Lampley is the the worst studio host in the history of the job. And that's saying something in a field which includes Brent Musburger.

- Who knew Dara Torres is Jewish?

- I couldn't take four steps on a balance beam.

- I still don't know why most of the signage at the Games was in English. Even the Chinese teams had English on their unis. Wouldn't the host country sorta be in a position to demand it's own language dominate? Or is Western dough that overpowering? Never mind - that was a stupid question.

I enjoyed the heck out of the past two weeks, and eagerly anticipate doing it again in two years in Vancouver. As Morgan Freeman would say: Go World!

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