Saturday, August 9, 2008

Cheers and Jeers of the Opening Ceremonies

I have heard a lot of people say that the start of the Olympics mean little to them.

For me, the Olympics is a big deal. I remember as a kid watching track and field, swimming, and gymnastics with my parents and always enjoying it so much. Especially the summer games, and this year has many intriguing stories to follow and athletes to cheer for. Whether it was rooting for Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses, Greg Louganis, Matt Biondi, or Janet Evans I often got excited for events I didn't know very much about.

Then after two and a half weeks I forgot about these athletes and their sports for four years. It doesn't make sense, but during the Olympics I really care about a sport that isn't baseball or college football.

I have not had many kind words to say about the government of China since the inception of this blog. Yet last evening I was at a bar in Chicago rooting against the White Sox and having dinner and I suddenly was entranced by the show the Chinese put on last evening in the opening ceremonies.

The rather packed bar of 20 and 30 somethings were quite a focus group to hear their thoughts and reactions. When the US team walked into the stadium the bar erupted with cheering and chants of "USA, USA". I thought that was pretty cool that in between 'Jaeger Bombs' and trying to hook up the bar was interested in the Olympics.

But there was a reaction I enjoyed even more. The drunks of Chicago booed the hell out of President Bush when he came on the screen.

Who says the young don't know anything?

The Olympics are part of history, and as a Greek I am always proud when the Greeks lead the procession of country's as the home of the Olympics.

I encourage you to watch the Beijing games and hear the amazing stories of the athletes of the world. While the Olympics are far past the days of pure amateurism, the athletes of these sports get one chance to perform and win. Hundredths of seconds determine their success or failure.

Think about training for your sport,,,,,,,, every day for your entire life. And then having just ONE chance every four years to capture the attention of the world. That's the story of most Olympic athletes. This is their chance,,, take some time and watch it unfold.

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