I’m counting the days…
The Olympics are a little less than 3 months away, yet my excitement has already begun. The other day the Olympic torch was lit and will begin its journey to London. It reminded me how close we are to the opening ceremonies (July 17th). I think the reason I get so excited is that the Olympics brings countries together for 17 exciting days.
Since they are only held every 4 years, it makes the events more exciting. I love watching heart-breaking stories of athletes who had to overcome obstacles to make the team, the promising young athletes who dream of Olympic gold and those who may be competing for the last time.
The only thing that would be more exciting would be if the Olympics were being held in New York. If you remember, London beat out New York to host the 2012 Olympics. Can you imagine if the Olympics were being held only a few hours away from here?? I would be there in a heartbeat. I mean how many opportunities do you get to see the Olympics live?
For the United States, there’s a lot to be excited about. Here’s some storylines to follow in London….
Who wasn’t glued to the TV when Michael Phelps won a record 8 gold medals in Beijing in 2008? Phelps, 26, has publicly announced his retirement, so the London 2012 Olympic Games will likely be his last. The 14-time Olympic gold medalist was one of the most successful athletes in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games and everyone will be watching to see if he can have continued success. Australian swimmer, Ian Thorpe, is also returning for one more duel after announcing his retirement back in 2006. This should be one of the biggest storylines at this year’s games.
Not to be forgotten in the Phelps/Thorpe matchup, is U.S. swimmer, Ryan Lochte. Lochte is a six-time Olympic medalist and was part of the U.S. team that set the world record for the 4×200 meter freestyle relay (2009 World Championships).
On the women’s side, Missy Franklin is America’s latest swimming sensation. Franklin, a 6’1” 16-year-old who has a 6’4” wingspan and size 13 feet is a natural in the pool. She won three golds, a silver and a bronze at the world championships last summer and could swim in even more events in London if she takes her impressive times into the US trials in Nebraska in June. Watch for her to take the Olympics by storm this summer.
Track and Field
The US “fields” one of its strongest track and field squads in many years. Walter Dix, won bronze medals in the 100 and 200 meters at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and 30-year old Tyson Gay is a three-time gold medalist at World Outdoor Championships.
For the Women, Allyson Felix, 26, is a two-time Olympic silver medalist in the 200 meters and a gold medalist as part of the U.S. women’s 4×400 meter team. Lolo Jones, 29, will be seeking redemption in the 100-meter hurdles after she tripped on one of the final hurdles in 2008. She is a two-time winner (2008, 2010) of the World Indoor Championships in the 60 meter hurdles. I watched the women’s relay team on TV a few weekends ago and they looked extremely tough to beat.
Also fun to watch…..Jamaican, Usain Bolt, is a five-time World and three-time Olympic gold medalist, and currently holds the record for the 100 and 200 meter races. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he actually pulled up slightly before the finish line while winning the 100 meters in world record time by a huge margin. Then he beat Michael Johnson’s seemingly untouchable world record in the 200 meters. How much faster can this guy get?? One can only guess at how fast the fastest human might be able to run under the glare of another Olympic spotlight with stronger competition.
U.S. Gymnast, Nastia Liukin, was the 2008 Olympic all-around champion in gymnastics. She’s also won four all-around national titles, as well as nine world championship medals and she returns again in 2012.
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh won beach volleyball gold in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. They have been called “the greatest beach volleyball team of all time,” and will be looking for gold again in 2012.
Rochester’s Abby Wambach, missed the Beijing Olympics but helped her team win gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The U.S. Women’s soccer team should once again be in contention for gold in London.
Those are just some of the stories/events to watch this year. Another one of my favorite things about the summer Olympics……you can pretty much turn on the TV at any time during the day/night and watch some Olympic event….it’s amazing! I sometimes find myself watching table tennis at 3am. I just can’t get enough!
Let the games begin!!!!