A few post-Olympic thoughts:
- Sport I most enjoyed watching: Volleyball, both indoor and beach (indoor was mostly on late at night). Amazing stuff. The Owensboro Parks and Rec League better watch out this fall — I think I got better just by osmosis. (Side note: as good as those players are, I still saw serves go in the net or out-of-bounds.)
- Sport I most wish I had gotten to see, but didn’t: Team Handball. Looks really cool.
- Sport I got tired of: Track and Field.
- How long does it take to rehearse the Opening and Closing Ceremonies? I suppose it looks pretty cool, but if the Chinese can pull something like that off, I can think of few other things they should turn their attention towards.
- Most dramatic story of the Games: the U.S. volleyball community rallying for a men’s gold medal and women’s silver medal after the men’s coach’s father-in-law was murdered and his mother-in-law severely injured by a random knife attack in Beijing (the coach’s wife is a former Olympic player). Talk about overwhelming emotions. The coach missed the first three matches to be with his family, then joined the team to lead them to the gold.
- Guy who most made it look easy: Michael Phelps. Most of the time, looked like he was just strolling along, until you saw an underwater view — then it looked like they were flying.
- Coolest single moment I saw: Swimmer Jason Lezak overhauling Alain Bernard (the trash-talking Frenchman) to win gold in the men’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay. It went from “There’s no way he can catch him!” to “I can’t believe he caught him!”
- After four years (or longer) of work, the Games could be over in an instant for you. One slip, one mistake and you could be done. Or all the effort could pay off and you could win gold. But as cool as a gold medal is, it doesn’t last. We’d do well to put that sort of effort toward lasting things. The Olympics are over. Eternity is not.
- It’s gotta be hard to keep your ego in check after winning a gold medal. Especially if you win eight of them. In all the interviews I saw of all the athletes, I didn’t hear much humility. Most of their comments went something like, “If you work hard, you can do it. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a little imagination.” My personal pet peeves: “I amazed myself with what I did” and “I’m proud of myself.” Phil Dalhausser (beach volleyball) came the closest to humility when he said something about just getting lucky.
- Enough already of the extreme close-up camera shots that last an uncomfortably long time.
- Skill that’s farthest from my grasp: flipping and twisting to land on an impossibly narrow balance beam. (Although I suppose there’s a reason guys don’t do that.)