Every four years, that´s it. I like to think of these two and a half weeks as a time that all nations can participate in competition without the use of arms or ¨weapons of mass destruction.¨ I didn´t have the pleasure of seeing the Opening Ceremony which is usually my favorite, just seeing all of the nations´athletes carrying their respective flag and carrying that giddy feeling which makes all of their hard work paid off at least in part. Obviously the Gold is the objective for these athletes but even to come together and share their like-minded passion is just as amazing in my eyes. I like how all of the athletes are able to visit each other in their Olympic villages and communicate about how they idolize each other or whatever, with language barrier and all. My favorite example was Kobe Bryant visiting Argentina´s Olympic Village to take pictures and show his respect to the Argentine futbol team, not to be confused with the basketball team.
Perhaps, the largest story of this Olympics has been about that one kid from Baltimore, Maryland, Michael Phelps, who should be portrayed as the next Aquaman for winning 8 Gold Medals. In doing so he immediately doubled or tripled his self-worth from sponsorships and could potentially accumulate $100 million worth in the next sevaral years, according to his agent.
Another thing that tickles my fancy about the Olympics is how the media keeps track of the medal count so closely as if it is a reflection of each country´s well-being. No kidding China has 46 Gold Medals, they start training these young athletes before they even reach 5 years old. Imagine being a young toddler and all you know growing up is one sport, day in and day out. You´re given one objective in life, to win Olympic Gold in your sport. Being the most populated country in the world and having that pool to cherry pick young athletes to train their whole lives away for this one objective, sounds like a formula for success in acheiving Olympic Gold if you ask me.
Many people ask me from back home what the Olympic coverage is like here in Argentina. First of all, I don´t have a television where I live so I read all of my news online which are highly U.S. based news companies anyways. The only actual competition I´ve seen on the television screens here have been the Argentine futbol, basketball and women´s field hockey teams. All other results have been delivered to me by espn.com (olympic section). All I know is that it seems like hundreds of records were broken in the 2008 Beijing games. Twenty-four records were broken alone in Swimming, supposedly much of this due to Speedo´s newest line of swim wear. Usain Bolt from Jamaica has lived up to his name and bolted past two world records in track and field. The majority of the publicity goes to track and field, swimming, soccer, U.S. men´s basketball (Redeem team) and of course that aquaman, Phelps. Personally, I would like to know more about all of the other sports in the Olympics; wrestling (personal favorite since I competed my whole life), judo, handball, fencing, etc. I await the year that these sports are showed some love by publicity as well. Something that I thought was most special was when I heard that Afghanistan won its first medal. That to me is more special than China´s triumphant 46 Gold Medals or even Phelps´8. In the midst of a war-torn country, an athlete can deliver some relief in Olympic form.
In conclusion, I´d like to give my own rundown and prediction on the game everyone in the basketball world is talking about USA vs. Argentina. Since I´m a fan of Argentine futbol, I can´t support their basketball team also, that would be overkill. Some friends have asked if I´m going for Argentina... heck no!! I think this USA basketball team has proven they´re ready to win Gold again at the level they´ve been playing. All of the Argentines I´ve spoken with claim ¨We´re still the Champions.¨ Well I can´t respond to that... yet, I hope the US absolutely destroys Argentina on the hardwood since they can´t on the grass. I´m looking for a 15-20 point win by the US team. Now, let´s see if my words jinxed the U.S. team.
Congratulations to all of the athletes who graciously represented their country for their love of the sport.