I have no idea why I feel so compelled to watch the Olympics this year. The 2004 Athens Olympics went by in a flash and I don’t recall watching one event. However, I have been glued to the Beijing Olympics since I DVR’d the opening ceremonies. From former Ann Arbor resident Michael Phelps race for Olympic perfection to Keri Walsh losing her wedding ring in the sand to the age of the Chinese women gymnasts, the Beijing Olympics certainly has not been short on storylines and excitement.

I find myself amazed that when I was a kid, the thought of the Chinese, Russian, and even the German team competing against the U.S. was like something out of Rocky IV. Now, the Olympics are in China and the entire sorld is glued to the television watching amazing athletes compete in sports that people, at least in the U.S., never watch. I mean who has ever watched trampoline? I sure haven’t, but I can’t wait!

Even international conflicts have impacted the Olympics. U.S. men’s speedskater and Winter Olympic gold medalist, Joey Cheek, was not allowed to attend the games because the Chinese government revoked his visa as they thought he would protest Darfur. A couple days into the games, Russia decided to enter into a conflict with the Republic of Georgia. The in-laws of the coach of the U.S. Olympian men’s volleyball team were attacked in an apparently random incident in Beijing. One was killed, the other injured.

The Beijing Olympics have been nothing short of compelling. I am anxious for more and can’t wait to hear additional commentary from Bela Karolyi and Bob Costas over the next couple of weeks. The excitement of international competition and increase in U.S. pride has conjured up my inner patriot.

Go red, white, and blue!

— Allen Arnold

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