List of Eight: The Olympics

I love the Olympics.  Seriously, I will watch an insane amount of Olympic coverage of the next few weeks, and I won’t feel bad about it.  I love pretty much everything about the Olympics, especially for this simple reason: it is the best athletes in the world at their sport all competing on the biggest stage imaginable.  As a sports fan, if you can’t get excited about that, I don’t know how to help you.  So here’s my favorite things about the Olympics:

 

1. GREATNESS
These are the elite athletes of their sports.  I appreciate great athletes doing great things, even if I’m not real up on my who’s who of track and field.  But in two weeks, I will be. 

2. MICHAEL PHELPS
He gets his own entry.  He’s already won eight medals, six of them gold.  He’s going to compete in eight events, and will be the favorite in all of them.  He is almost a lock to have more medals than any athlete ever, but he can also lock up the most gold medals overall and in one Olympics.  He may go down as the greatest Olympic athlete ever.  If you’re not watching, you’re doing yourself a disservice.  Guys like him don’t come around very often.  He’s the Carl Lewis of swimming.

3. NATIONALISM
Some say this is a bad thing, but I love cheering for the USA.  It’s a chance for us all to rally as a country and root for our guys and gals, and no one gets shot over it (hopefully).  This is a healthy nationalism which doesn’t involve invading your neighbor.  Yes, I watch the medal count.  And I don’t feel bad about it. 

4. OBSCURE SPORTS
I don’t watch track.  I don’t watch swimming.  And those are the headlining events.  But I’ll watch it once every four years.  And let’s face it, the cycle of baseball, football, basketball on the American sports calendar gets pretty old pretty quick.  Now, I’ll be able to turn on my TV and watch fencing. 

5. THE OLYMPIC THEME
You’re humming it right now, aren’t you?

6. CONTROVERSY
Someone is gonna get screwed, we just don’t know who.  Zola Budd is going to trip Mary Decker.  A South Korean boxer is going to refuse to leave the ring.  The Soviets are going to get three chances to hit the winning basket.  It wouldn’t be sports without a little injustice.

7. PRESSURE
For the next two weeks, any time I turn on the TV, I’ll be able to watch a sporting event.  And not just any sporting event, a sporting event that matters.  Most of these athletes’ entire career comes down to this fortnight.  That’s just unimaginable pressure.  This is the biggest event, and it only happens once every four years.  And most don’t get a second chance. 

8. CHINA
Thank God we have a proper villain again.  The Olympics lost a little bit of their luster after Cold War, but now we have a human rights violating, oppressive, environmentally polluting, arrogant, and authoritarian superpower at which to direct our ire.  You missed the Soviets, didn’t you?  Now we get to fight an athletic proxy war with China.  We get two weeks of stories on how evil their government is since they are the hosts.  I can’t wait.  I’m happy the US cyclists offended their hosts.  It’s China.  Their government deserves to be offended.    

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