Monday, June 02, 2008

Awaiting the Flame

I'm a big Olympic fan.

I guess that's what happens when you are young and impressionable and the US is beating the Soviet Union in one of the greatest sporting events ever played.

Or maybe it was the 1984 LA Games that really sealed it for me. With Mary Lou Retton and all of that greatness going on Southern California. I was still too young to realize at the time the US domination at those games had so much to do with Communist Boycott. That after all was really the first Summer Olympics I recall as the boycott of the Moscow games kept me from being too excited about that.

Now, I anxiously await this year's games in Beijing. I'm ready to get the TiVo fired up and watch all the action. Ok, maybe I won't be able to watch it all. But come September, I'll still be watching badminton - or some other sport I generally wouldn't care about if there was no gold medal attached to it.

Beijing brings an interesting viewing challenge. With the 12 hour difference, some events will actually be shown live on the prime time NBC coverage as they occur live (the next day) in China. Meanwhile, NBC will use its cable arms (USA, MSNBC, CNBC, and one other network) to bring near round the clock coverage. In addition, for the first time, the games will be streamed over the internet.

All of this truly excites me. I know that the by the time the Friday night Opening Ceremonies are shown here in the states, there will be Saturday morning activity taking place in such events as Equestrian, Badminton, Team Handball, Shooting, Women's Hoops, Beach Volleyball and women's team volleyball. So you can bet I'll be streaming the video as the Parade of Nations occurs on the TV.

And so it was with interest that I watched a taped game between the US and Argentina on MSNBC over the weekend. The game was played before this weekend, as the Argentines are now off in Japan competing for one of the remaining slots in the 12-team field. The US has secured its spot, and is expected to contend for a medal.

In the first two sets and a half, the US played like the team still in need of securing the spot, either that or Argentina played like the team ready to contend for a medal. I wasn't impressed with the US's effort, and hopefully this isn't a sign of what is to come in China, for the both the volleyball team and the US in general.

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