Lots of thoughts about these Games;
1. I'm so amazed at the Chinese gymnasts! They really shined no the home turf... mistakes by the other teams or not. They must really be the pride and joy of the nation right now! Huge Kudos to them. While my heart goes out to the Women's gymnastics team from the US for their foibles yesterday evening, I am sure they will pull it together for the idividual events and shine!
2. No doubt, the general consensus is that Phelps is one of those Mozart-like geniuses when it comes to his sport! I still can't believe what I am seeing when I watch him swim. I'm sure tonight he will take the 200 IM in world record time again, and finish without even breathing hard. I also think he's a hell of a great athlete.. to get odown of the podium and be magnanimous enough to shake the French Relay Teams hand after all the trash talking is a huge thing. His answers to the reporter's questions are really humble, but intelligent. I don't know if he is just like that normally or just well-coached in PR as well as swimming, but he really leaves a good impression all around.
3. Still with swimming, but also on the political front... watching Kosuke Kitayama take the gold in the men's 100 Breast was a fascinating thing for me, not only as a former swimmer who swam competitively while living in Japan, but also as a Japanese historian. I was very curious to see what the reaction in China was going to be when they played the Japanese National Anthem (Kimigayo) in that pool. After all the atrocities of World War II that happened in China at the hands of Japan, I'm sure it was a very bittersweet moment for the older generations to hear that anthem playing in a national arena. The cameras stayed focused on the winner, and there was not one pan shot of the crowd. Rightly so, perhaps, but I can't help wondering if we would have seen the older generation of Chinese, Koreans, and Taiwanese refusing to stand when they played it.... or if they were standing, was it because there was an expectation to be courteous?
4. I haven't made up my mind about the Redeem Team (AKA the US Men's basketball team). I'm sure they are doing fantastically, as expected. But still it jars me a bit to see people like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Jason Kidd -- all million-dollar-earning NBA players -- out there competing at the Olympics. Don't know why, but it does. I guess I have always felt that the Olympics were supposed to be for the amateur athlete, or the NBA-hopefuls, more than the big stars of the NBA now. Even so, the reports that come from NBC say that each of the basketball players have really gotten into the spirit of the Olympics, which is good... hopefully it means that they are playing the game just because they love the game and are enjoying playing with others who love the game, rather than treating it like "another day at the office" or thinking about sponsors, commercials, contract re-negotiations and so forth. Maybe that's a part that can be "redeemed" as well.
More anon, I am sure... sorry for being so long-winded.