I would say I am "moderately" interested in the 2008 Summer Olympics from Beijing. I haven't heard much buzz in my crowd but am guessing it would not be difficult to find friends who are more eager for tomorrow's big day to arrive and also easy to find some who have even less interest than I.
With almost non-stop TV coverage on NBC for the next two weeks-plus, it will be tough to see everything. The time difference certainly works against convenient prime time broadcasts here in the U.S. and each year that we get deeper into the 21st century it is becomes less acceptable to air sporting events on a delay of several hours. Sorry, the internet doesn't care what time it is.
One thing I do like about the Olympics every two years is the virtual guarantee that someone I have never heard of today on the eve of the Games will do something that will amaze or inspire or maybe even crush me before the closing ceremony.
Looking past the LeBron James-Michael Phelps-Tyson Gay-type star athletes I will already be watching, here are 5 other Olympians whose stories make me want to search out their events too.
1. Jake Deitchler, just the third high school wrestler to make an Olympic team. He graduated from Anoka (Minnesota) High School in April, finishing with an 111-match unbeaten streak. What was I doing 4 months out of high school? Planning on getting around to filling out that McDonald's application probably.
2. Natalie Du Toit, on the South African swimming team, is an amputee. She lost her left leg below the knee in an auto accident. And she swims without a prosthetic limb. Hmmm....seems like a disadvantage to be down a flipper.
3. Dara Torres, the first U.S. swimmer to qualify for - wait for it - five Olympic teams. She set two American records in the 50 freestyle during the U.S. trials. Did I mention she is 41 years old? And kinda hot?
4. Eric Shanteu, on the U.S. swim team, diagnosed with testicular cancer in June and has been undergoing treatment. No word on whether he got the Lance Armstrong surgery. I'm guessing not or he would only swim in circles.
5. Amnat Ruenroeng, released from a Thai prison last year after serving less than two years of a fifteen year prison sentence for burglary. Authorities commuted his sentence after he unexpectedly won the nation's light flyweight boxing crown. I need to find out how he was able to enter the tournament from jail.
Opening Ceremonies air (tape delayed) here on the West Coast at 7:30 tomorrow night.