Technically, the Olympics have started. The highly touted American women’s soccer team dismissed France the other day and women’s team archery is also underway. But, I’m sure you already knew that. All this action takes place before tonight’s opening ceremonies, which is a bit of a divisive event. I would bet you have at least one female relative who thinks the Opening Ceremonies is the best television EVER. Others will be bored to tears after twenty minutes. Most will tune in though, regardless, because you want to see that torch lit and you want to see the funny hats. On that note…
1. Who will light the torch? Does the United Kingdom have any famous athletes? ZING. Does Sir Nick Faldo have a chance? Probably not. What I’ve decided is that I do not care who lights the flame as long as it isn’t Beckham. It can’t be Beckham. According to some light research, the favorites appear to be Sir Steve Redgrave (5 straight rowing gold medals), Daley Thompson (two-time decathlon gold medalist), and Roger Bannister. If Hugh Grant is unavailable, I’d go with Bannister.
2. Can we have a brief discussion on why the United States team always wears berets? Or a version of the beret?
I’m not sure what about putting on a suit says, let’s top this sumbitch off with a beret. Do the uniforms require headgear? I know that the United States has trotted out several cowboy hats in the past, because that’s what we are–deep down–a bunch of ranch hands, but the beret has taken over in recent years. Are we over thinking it? I think we are. I’d honestly rather see the athletes in snapbacks, at least we can attribute that horrible look to the United States.
3. Speaking of ‘Melo and KD, and LeBron and Kobe–this is the best American basketball team in some time. I don’t like NBA basketball, but you know what I know what I like less? Scrappy, horsebleep, jacked up lane, incorrect 3-pt line, International basketball. The only drawback for the American side is that they’re led by Coach K. We put aside those feelings for the sake of patriotism, though. It’s gold medal or bust for both of our basketball teams. No excuses. And we’ll hope there’s no repeat of the greatest officiating abortion in the history of sports on its 40-year anniversary.
4. Usually I would say that you have to pick between two competitors. You can’t be a fan of Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. You can’t be “equally happy” for both of them. You can’t hope they tie. This is gutless fan mentality. It’s the type of thinking that has penetrated Little Leagues across the country. But, for the sake of the Olympics, I’ll allow you to wrap yourself in the flag. You can go ahead and celebrate regardless of whether Phelps or Lochte wins their showdowns. I will pick one myself, but I’m still flip-flopping. Usually, Phelps’ dominance would turn me off, but in recent weeks it seems like everyone is picking at Phelpsy. His fellow swimmers, the media, perhaps we need one more reminder of the greatness before he fades away.
5. Usain Bolt better do some crazy, fast sh*t. Bolt set the standard, now he has to live up to it. I’m not sure what Bolt could do to top his 2008 performance when he won with ease and celebrated with meters to go, but he better figure it out. I’m hoping this whole stiff back thing is a bit of a ruse, something to create a little drama. You know what would be interesting? A handicap. Set up Usain’s starting block 5 meters behind the actual start line.
6. I think everyone has a random Olympic sport that they like to watch. In the winter games, I can’t get enough Bobsled. I love it. It’s so random. In the summer games, I go with water polo. I have no reason to like water polo. I can barely swim. I usually avoid pools at all costs, but hey, this is the Olympics. Also, Mike Emrick, one of the great announcers in any sport covers water polo for NBC.
7. You’ve got to keep an eye on the Medal Table. This is something I remember doing as a kid. The patriotism started at a very young age. In 1992 my two biggest enemies were Soda Popinski and The Unified Team. What the hell was the Unified Team? Cheaters! You aren’t one country any more! I demand a recount. Anyway, the Russians and former Russian states don’t “get after” the Olympics quite as hard as they used to. Now the Chinese team is the new rival. For the next few weeks I’m going to be staunchly anti-Chinese. I suggest you join me.
8. The Olympics will be available in their entirety online. You can watch all 302 medal ceremonies. Other than the web machine, the games will broadcast on NBC, NBC Sports, MSNBC, Bravo–you know pretty much every random channel that NBC owns. You should actually be able to see a decent amount of the sports you want to watch, assuming the time differential is not a problem for you and you have tons of free time. Here’s a place to peruse the TV listings. The first must-see event after tonight’s pomp is the 400 IM Final tomorrow night. I finally decided. Team Lochte!