Olympic observations

Published 7:02 pm Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I will be the first to admit I do not know anything about skeet shooting. Or water polo. Or synchronized diving, something I didn’t even know was a sport until this week.

Without hesitation, I will also tell you I don’t know anything about most of the athletes competing in the summer Olympics. I’ve heard a few of the names – OK, one, Michael Phelps – but frankly I don’t even know if I’d recognize him if he just suddenly strolled into the office one day.

None of that matters.

I love the Olympics. I love reading about the games, keeping up with who’s won what and, if an athlete does happen to have a local connection, such as nearby Huntsville’s Margaret Hoelzer, I must watch their event.

There’s nothing like the Olympics to make you patriotic. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know the person or what state they are from, as long as their shirt says “USA,” they are worth cheering for.

And that’s part of the fun.

I do have a couple of Olympic observations:

The opening ceremonies were beautiful, albeit a bit creepy. The Chinese people seemed a little too much in unison. I wanted one person to get a little off or decide to do things their own way. I guess it’s good I’m not Chinese, as I believe this will earn you a one-way ticket to someplace not so nice.

Women’s beach volleyball is a rough sport. The participants are tough, seasoned, well-trained athletes. No one watches it for this reason. They watch it because it also involves really skimpy bathing suits, proving there are hound dogs in China, too.

We hear a lot about the big countries and their athletes. What we don’t hear about are the athletes from the smaller countries who often just send one or two athletes to the games. Just once, I’d like to see the gymnastics routine from the athlete representing Sao Tome and Principe or the Federated States of Micronesia.

Trampoline is an Olympic sport. After this year, baseball and softball will not be Olympic sports. I will let you debate that one among yourselves.

China is a beautiful country. They do not, however, seem to have much of a sense of humor therefore did not laugh when members of the US swimming team departed the plane wearing surgical masks as prevention against the virulent Beijing smog. Lighten up, people.

I hope you all are enjoying the Olympics games as much as I am. We’re going to continue rooting for the USA around our house, though I will admit I’m keeping an eye out for Micronesia. I hear they have a weightlifter who’s a real contender.