Who Cares About the Beijing Olympics?

I am a sports fanatic and I love the Olympics. I have been to every Summer Olympic city and most of the Winter Olympic cities. I could tell you the host cities for every single Summer and Winter games. I could list you most of the gold medalists for the major events since the modern Olympics began back in 1896. In fact, I could even tell you winners from the Intercalated Games of 1906 that nobody even knows occurred. I am not trying to blow my own horn but rather illustrate the fact that as a huge Olympics fan-I couldn’t care less about the upcoming Beijing Olympics that start Friday.

The way I look at the Olympics now is much different than I did as a kid. I am still scarred by the 1988 Seoul games when Ben Johnson beat Carl Lewis in the 100m dash for the gold but was later disqualified when it turned out he tested positive for steroids. Then at Barcelona 1992, it was the beginning of the US dream team basketball squads which really turned my interest off of Olympic basketball. Half the fun was watching the college kids go at it against the rest of the world. I also hate that basketball has become the premier sport of the summer games because of all the pros playing-it takes away from the other events.

Between Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004; the best moment of those three Olympiads combined was when Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic flame at the 1996 Centennial games. Otherwise they have been marred by drugs, bombs, money, bribes, scandals and terrorist threats. It is enough to make you sick and tired of all the hoopla and just kind of turn a blind eye to the games which have really lost their luster. It’s just all about sponsorships and money these days and that sucks.

My favorite part of any Olympics is of course the opening ceremony and the parade of nations. It is still wonderful to watch the athletes from smaller countries with tears in their eyes that they are in fact Olympians. I am not saying that American athletes don’t feel that way as well but again a lot of times the Americans are overshadowed by the NBA stars who seem to really not care much about being there and they don’t even stay in the Olympic village-so as not to associate with the other athletes-I mean come on.

These Beijing Olympics are about as tiresome as this stupid Brett Favre fiasco. Between human rights, politics, bad venues, weather and pollution-I am just tired of hearing about it. The only real interesting story on the fields of play is whether Michael Phelps can win 8 gold medals in swimming-this will be incredibly difficult and I doubt he can accomplish this feat but it will be fun to watch him try as I get into swimming for my once every four years stint.

Other than that, what is there to get excited about? Well if you look around the web, on SI.com they have a top 10 list of the hottest female athletes to watch…not exactly in the spirit of the Olympics is it? However, that’s more exciting than watching to see if the US hoops team can reclaim the gold-I don’t think there is anything I could care less about and in fact I was almost happy when they didn’t win in Athens. Hopefully, it will make them take the Olympics seriously this time around. We shall see.

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  1. I couldn’t agree more about the Ali moment, actually re-watched that yesterday, along with Michael Johnson’s 200m and 400m gold medal runs. But I’m excited for these Olympics, Phelps, Wariner, Gay, Dream Team (not quite), Xiang, Powell. Come on, you can just feel the excitement.

  2. Haha, Xiang makes it all worth it. I have a difficult time rooting for Gay as he didn’t qualify for both races and isn’t in the same class as Michael Johnson, Carl lewis or even Maurice Green.

  3. Agreed about the Olympics and Favre is a loser and a jerk

  4. I just looked up the Intercalated Games-I had no idea they took place

  5. I’m sure you won’t be glued to your couch watching womans volleyball

  6. Morroni, you’re just pissed because they are all much taller than you and you’ve got no shot!

  7. I love the Morroni showing… it’s been awhile

  8. who won the first gold medal in tennis?

  9. That’s easy Andy…Brit John Boland in Athens 1896 and for the women it was Charlotte Cooper in the Paris 1900 games

  10. I care. I hope I’m not stepping out of the T-bird realm but I can\’t help but comment here. I am also a fan of the Olympics, a supporter of human rights, and whatever else can be thrown into making my trip to Beijing to see the Olympics for a week controversial. What I saw there was a lot of what I expected, and was not expecting–the experience was awesome. I met several people from all over the world, many of whom have been to several Olympics, and they said they were pleasantly surprised at coming to China, and this was the best Olympics they had attended. Those unfamiliar with modern and emerging China (as well as those that are familiar, including myself), were surprised at the size of the city, venues, and organization, to name a few. I think any city that hosts the Olympics is going to have some controversy behind it. Beijing tops it, but I gotta say, besides the 38 world records and 85 olympic records broke there, something else broke down as well. Almost as impressive as watching Phelps win his 8th gold medal was seeing the Chinese cheer for him, too. The Games hosted a venue site for the world to interact with the Chinese, and vice versa; at a human level, and age old stereotypes began to fall apart. There were thousands of young volunteers around the city and venues who eagerly helped visitors. When I was watching Brazil play Norway in women\’s soccer the Brazilian fans were cheering for their country in Chinese. The Chinese were flashing pictures at them like they were movie stars, and then started joining them in their cheers. Needless to say, Brazil won that game. Sure there\’s a lot of controversy involved in the Olympics, but my experience as an active spectator was this Summer Olympics was different. Other athletes and fans felt it, too. For China to host the Olympics for the 1st time in our history is history. They put everything they had into it (well, 44 billion). To hear and witness an entire stadium cheer for a Chinese athlete as they compete is really something. The pride the Chinese had in hosting the world was incredible to see and feel. The Games brought more foreigners to China than have been there before, and was the reason for more people to go and experience China than would have otherwise. For me, the spirit of the sport and Olympics outshined the controversies. (P.S. Lee, I hope you caught the Opening Ceremony.)

  11. Not at all Melanie and thanks for your thoughts. I wrote that about the Olympics started and it was true that I didnt care beforehand but watching the Olympics did change my opinion a fair amount. I thought these Olympics were very successful and ended up with three major stars: Phelps, Bolt and China itself.

    Although several things about the way China went about things are disturbing, especially about the little girl from the Opening ceremonies who wasn’t allowed to sing bc she didnt look the part or the fact that the Chinese were clearly using gymnasts that were too young…but overall they seemed to do it very well and I believe that most people probably feel that way.

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