There’s nothing like the Olympics. From its weird androgynous alien mascots to its over-the-top Opening pageantry to its addictive nationalism, the Olympics captures the world’s attention unlike any other event. Who will win the men’s individual epee? (I have my money on Joerg Fiedler.) What is men’s individual epee? Who knew you cared?
But this sort of blind enthusiasm happens once every four two years. Why not just go with it? What else are you going to do? Watch mid-summer baseball?
The London games should bring a bunch of firsts. That picture of Manlock over there was taken yesterday. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I’ve been assured by scores of Londoners that, in all likelihood, that’s the last we’ll see of the sun. Can you finish a complete Olympiad in the rain? Will chafing take a never-before-seen front seat in the track & field events? Time will tell.
On top of which, the “austerity” Games should paint a stark contrast against the backdrop of the money Beijing wielded. How will Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle compete with the massive Chinese Opening Ceremonies on that limited budget? Moving forward, will Germany take out its economic frustration on countries like Greece, Italy and Spain? If the Euro Cup is any indication, the answer is probably “that’s a ridiculous question.”
Then there are the athletes. Team USA is loaded. Phelps and Lochte will battle for naval supremacy, the new “Fab 5″ is supposed to wipe the floor (and the unevens, and the balance, and the vault) with the rest of the world, and the track and field team is as deep as it has been in years. The basketball teams are heavily favored, the women’s soccer team loves to break hearts and the water polo teams should be in the mix. And I haven’t even mentioned the archery, kayaking and taekwondo teams (mostly because I know nothing about them).
But to be honest, it doesn’t matter. For 17 days, we’ll watch. For 17 days, against our better judgment, we’ll care. And without getting too schlocky, for 17 days, we’ll sit down as a country and root for our men and women together. There are no democrats and republicans, no east coast vs. west coast (RIP Big & Tupac), and no religious animosity.
There’s just Team USA. And that’s something worth celebrating.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.