Event, Sports

So long Beijing

Well, as you’re probably aware, I’ve been glued to the television these past two weeks watching the XXIX Summer Olympics play out.  It’s always “spectacular” to watch.  The things I will take away from these games:

  • Michael Phelps – The Amazing Eight.  I know they’ve said it before (Mark Spitz) but I don’t know if it can ever be beaten.  Just to have the possibility to accomplish this feat again… it would be miraculous.
  • The Opening and Closing Ceremonies – Amazing.  And the overall projection of hospitality provided by the host country.  You know, the sights and sounds of each ceremony are unique to each country, and that helps give us just a glimpse of their culture.  But it will be very difficult for anyone to top China in the near future.  Technologically and in terms of human volume and participation… well, it’s almost impossible to surpass 1,000,000 volunteers.
  • The Golden Gymnasts – Nastia and Shawn.  They were our American highlights.  They showed great ability to persevere under the somewhat odd circumstances they often found themselves in.  Whether those young Chinese gymnasts were “of age” or not, our girls didn’t let it bother them.
  • The “Redeem Team” – This time I did not get to watch as much basketball as I would have liked.  But I’ve followed the exploits of all the previous “Dream Teams” as well as this lot.  And these boys showed us all (and the world) what it means to be an American.

One thing that still amazes me about the Olympics in general is how enjoyable it is to watch over the two week time span.  But how quickly we forget… or how we don’t continue to follow these incredible athletes when they return.  Yes, we’ll catch them on Leno here over the next few weeks, but how many people will watch the next gymnastics “World Championships” or catch the next track and field trials?

It’s obviously the spectacle, or the aura, or mystique of the Olympics that keep us coming back.  Where else can you see 204 countries gather, with athletes from across the globe hoping for their one moment of glory? The logistics of it all is astounding.

I don’t have as much time to watch “the Games” as I used to.  That’s probably true of every parent.  I remember staying up and watching late night coverage during the 1984 Summer Games in L.A.  My brother and I would stay up and watch indoor volleyball at two in the morning (Go Flo Hyman!) and we’d keep each other awake.  That was pretty consistent.  But this time around I caught very little late-night anything.  I had a hard enough time catching the end of the prime time viewing which often went past midnight…

Which leads me to my closing thoughts… Will my children remember this spectacular Olympics in four years’ time? What memories will they take from all this? They are bombarded with so many different media that it takes something special to make a lasting imprint.  It would be great to think that at the Opening Ceremony of the London games, the kids will see that double-decker bus roll up with “London-Beijing-London” on the side and simply say “I remember that!”

Only time will tell.

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