Sunday, August 29, 2004
I've enjoyed this year's Olympics much more than I did 4 years ago. The main reason being, I was actually able to watch this year's Olympics. Four years ago in Sydney, the games were in September. I was too busy moving from Bremerton to Cheney to start my first year of school at Eastern Washington University to even notice the games.
Anyways, the 2004 Summer Olympics have meant more to me than previous Olympics. The Kirk sisters, Tara and Dana, are a major reason why that is the case. Tara and Dana have worked very, very hard to get to where they are at today. They have made a lot of sacrifices over the years. I'm very happy for them that they were able to see the rewards for their hard work. While Tara's college career at Stanford is done, Dana still has two more years on the Farm. I have no doubt that both of these ladies will be training for 2008 soon enough.
Tara is coming home with a Silver medal for her participation on the women's 4x100 medley relay team. While it isn't an "individual" medal, it doesn't mean that it doesn't mean anything. It's the culmination of everything that she has worked for up to Athens. That's the point some people miss when it comes to the team medals. While Tara didn't swim in the finals of the relay, she swam in the semifinals. In order for the team to advance to the finals, the swimmers who swim in the semis have to swim well. The swimmers in the semis, Tara included, did just that.
While Tara finished 6th in the 100 meter breaststroke final, I can't help but be proud of her. That was a very fast race which included some of the best breaststrokers in the world. If I know her, I know she's going to train for Beijing in 2008, looking to earn the Gold. Dana didn't advance to the 200 meter butterfly finals, but I'm also proud of her as well. I didn't know Dana as well as I did Tara, but I also know that Dana will train for 2008 as well. Although anything can happen within the next four years.
As for the rest of the Olympics, I've enjoyed it, for the most part.
Michael Phelps didn't reach Mark Spitz' record of 7 Gold medals, but that shouldn't diminish what he did in Athens. Phelps earned 8 medals, 6 Gold. He's the anti-Gary Hall, Jr. Phelps has shown remarkable class throughout these games, even giving up his spot on the 4x100 medley relay team for teammate Ian Crocker. This kid isn't a failure. Not even close.
Paul Hamm shouldn't have to give up his Gold medal in the men's all-around. It's simple, he didn't do anything wrong. It was the judge's incompetency that caused this whole controversy, not Hamm.
Beach volleyball is cool. I don't see a problem with women in bikinis on a makeshift beach playing volleyball. Sue me.
The women's teams completed a trifecta, winning Gold in soccer, softball, and basketball. That's pretty impressive. The softball team was the most impressive team to me, because they only allowed 1 run in the entire tournament. And that lone run came in the Gold medal game against Australia.
My favorite non-American Olympic moment of the Games has to be Greece's Fani Halkia winning the Gold in the 400 meter hurdles. But it was the medal ceremony that was chilling. The entire stadium was excited as hell, hearing the Greece national anthem. Halkia had the Greece flag draped on her. This is what the Olympics are about.
NBC's coverage was decent, but could have been a lot better. I enjoyed being able to watch some of the events live, thanks to the other NBC networks airing the coverage (CNBC, USA, MSNBC). But I would have liked to have seen more of Greece.
Wow, I haven't even touched on the men's basketball team. Well, I don't need to say anything. Bronze is simply unacceptable. Maybe later I'll go into this. But this post is reserved for the real Olympians.
Don't tell me that the Olympics don't matter. They may be more commercialized these days, but they still matter. Men and women throughout the world spend every waking moment for 4 years for that one moment in time. And for that reason alone, it's my duty to support these athletes, by taking some time out of my life to watch the Games on television. It's the least that I could do.
Congratulations to all of the Olympians throughout the world. And a raise of the glass to the Greece Olympic committee organizing chief Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki for getting Greece ready for the games. Without her, Greece wouldn't have been ready.
The Olympic Spirit is alive and well.