Thursday, August 21, 2008

Los Juegos Olimpicos Parte Dos

It's been great to be seeing so many athletes and sports. Telemundo is following the Spanish-speaking countries and Brazil very closely (of course), rather than focusing on the Americans and their rivals in each given sport (the Chinese in gymnastics, the Jamaicans in track, etc.). Michael Phelps didn't swim the 50-meter free, so I wonder if it was even televised on NBC. The Frenchmen placed second and third, and the Brazilian who won the gold must not have been the favorite, because Cielo Filho sobbed through the second half of the Hino Nacional Brasileiro, winning my heart over the Americans, who stood on the podium not crying, not laughing, and not singing, but chatting during "The Star Spangled Banner."

Michael Phelps must know the words by now.

It became apparent to me during the gymnastics meet that the Russians were Brazil's rivals for these Games, while the new Cold War was playing out between the Chinese and the US (remember when all the American fingers would get pointed at the East Germans and the Soviets?). I watched that meet on NBC before I watched it on Telemundo and NBC showed just the two teams while Telemundo showed gymnasts from Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Russia, Germany, Australia, and Poland.

I've also watched lots of volleyball, and seen chunks of judo, tae kwon do, rowing, futbol, diving (synchro and solo), and handball. I'm a few days behind everyone else but I don't care about spoilers. I watch no sports in the rest of my life, and in fact haven't even watched this much of the Summer Games in years, so I have no real loyalties to individual countries' teams. And again, since the commentary is in Spanish, I don't watch anything with preconceived notions about who's going to do what except for those (Bolt, Gay, Liukin, Phelps, Torres) I've heard about in the American press.

I root for everyone who's striving in these Games, because everyone is doing the best he or she can, and because I don't really care who wins. "It's not winning or losing, it's how you play the game." I know that philosophy would not have brought these athletes this far, but I'm just watching.

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