The end of summer is generally a time of anticipation for sports fans. NFL training camps start up. College football is almost here and the preseason rankings and speculation come out. And the playoff race in baseball is heating up. But this year we sports fans have an extra treat. In just a few day the Olympics are going to begin.
Eight is a lucky number in China, so the Opening Ceremony will take place on 8/8/08 at 8:08 pm. Hmmm.....the number 8 is also significant to Americans this Olypmics. Or at least one American swimmer who is vying to win 8 gold medals in one games for the first time in history. Michael Phelps, in case you haven't heard, is the swimming prodigy for Maryland, who actually has a shot at doing this. He has freakishly long arms, with huge hands and feet. He's broken what seems like every possible world record and he just keeps getting better. And man, is he fun to watch swim. I'd check it out if I were you. In a concession to the Americans, the major swim races will be held in the morning so they can be broadcast live in prime time in the US. So you won't have to hear the announcer disclaim that this event is on a 12 hour time delay, which is sure to happen during pretty much every other telecast.
I love to watch swimming but the Summer Games are really just all around great. Track and field, gymnastics, I even find myself watching pieces of cycling during the Olympics. Most of the time I'll just flip through those other random sports, but something about competing on the world stage against not just other athletes but other countries is enthralling to me.
So while training camp is going on (and I plan on going soon) and people are talking about whether or not the recent arrests will effect UGA's chances as the number one ranked school for preseason college football, I will probably find myself watching Judo, or synchronized swimming. Not that I won't be keeping up with everything else going on. It'll just be on the back burner. I'll still know that the Ravens are injury plagued already, but still are only saying good things about Harbaurgh. Or that Maryland managed to get 4 points in the USA Today poll. But the Olympics only happen every 4 years. So right now I'll stick to watching the rhythmic gymnastics and the medal count. And hoping and dreaming that a 8 gold medals really is possible. It's going to be fun.