I watched the Opening Ceremonies of the London Olympics last evening, as always the best part is when the individual countries march into the stadium. For those of you who decided not to watch the festivities, here is a brief synopsis. It is the British Isles (England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) Olympics, England led the Industrial Revolution, the British love their Socialized Medicine, Rowland Atkinson (Mr. Bean) plays the piano (at least he plays one note on the piano), John Entwhistle of Tubular Bells fame is still alive, Queen Elizabeth parachuted into the stadium with James Bond, and there are British Hip Hop Artists. That’s about it except for Sir Paul McCartney who still has not performed as I type this post. Perhaps Sir Paul will liven up the proceedings.
I must be turning into a super senior citizen; I have been watching these Summer Olympics since the 1960 games in Rome, and I have to admit that I have loved watching all of them. The 1972 Munich games were tragic, a real life agony and ecstasy. As I look over the whole of the games that I have seen Olga Korbut was a delight to watch, she of the first Olympic perfect 10. Ironically Olga now lives here in Scottsdale, Arizona where I live, her Russian citizenship renounced long ago. With the dominance of men in sports over women, I have to admit that gymnastics is the one sport where the women truly do excel. The grace of the female body seems to best the brute strength of the male gymnast.
To me the track and field events are the star of the show in the Summer Olympics. The 1968 Olympics in Mexico City were made special by the 29ft 2in long jump by Bob Beamon, a record by 22 inches over the previous world record. That jump remained a milestone for a full 23 years before it was topped. One cannot overlook the incredible 9 Gold Medals performance by Michael Phelps in the 2008 Bejing Olympics, which bested the previous record of 7 Gold Medals won by Mark Spitz in the 1972 Olympics.
I leave with the hope that this years’ Olympics is terrorist free, that the United States wins the most medals, including the Men's and Women's Basketball Gold. Of course I am a homer, but most importantly I hope that some underdogs and unknowns prevail and see their Olympic hopes and dreams turn to Gold. That is the true spirit of the Olympic Games.