The 2008 Olympic games are set to start in Beijing this Friday with the opening ceremonies. Here are some of the major stories surrounding the games:
Micheal Phelps Chasing History: Swimmer Micheal Phelps has a chance to win eight gold medals. If he does, he will break Mark Spitz (another great swimmer) record for most gold medals in one Olympics (7).
I watched Phelps in Athens and I think he is the greatest swimmer ever. I think he will win the eight events. It seems like he breaks a world record every time he swims (and it's usually his record he breaks) It's not going to be easy, but he is definitely capable of doing it.
U.S. Men's Basketball Team Determined to Win: Our men's basketball team will be on the spot in these games. This team was dubbed the Redeem Team, and for good reason. The U.S. didn't win the gold in Athens and has struggled in international competition.
This team, stacked with NBA Stars like LeBron James (right), Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, and Dwight Howard, is clearly the most talented. But they're always the most talented, so let's see if they can translate that into wins.
The problem with the U.S. basketball team in the past has been lack of teamwork. The U.S. basketball program thinks it can just put together the best players and start playing in the competition. Too bad basketball is a team sport, and the players have to work together. Whoa! That's a surprise.
Coach K is urging the media that his team is ready to win gold in Beijing. I think they'll win too.
Air Quality: Everybody is talking about how badly polluted the air is in Beijing. This is a major concern among the athletes. Chinese officials are trying (but not succeeding) to reduce the pollution.
41-Year Old Dara Torres: U.S. swimmer Dara Torres says she feels better than ever at age 41. That's seems tremendously unlikely, because swimmers usually reach their peak in the early-to-mid twenties. The same question enters everybody's head: Is she doping? I remember another athlete who "peaked" when he was older (Barry Bonds, otherwise known as the King of Steroids)
Steroids Cast Shadow Over Games: Steroids are threatening to ruin track and field. Track and field used to be the top dog in the Olympics. But now many of its premier athletes have been uncovered to doping. This issue is driving fans away from the sport (including me). But let's not talk about the bad things until after the gold medals are awarded and the syringes thrown away.
Some Odd Olympic Events: Table tennis and badminton seem odd here, but they are very big events in China. Handball. When I saw handball on the list of Olympic events, I had to laugh. Something you and I played as a kid is now a profession. Imagine a guy applying for a job and for past professions, he writes pro handballer.
Note: I will not be able to post this weekend because I'll be away.