Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Olympics

You probably knew this post was coming.

I am a huge Summer Olympics fan. Soccer, women's gymnastics and diving are my favorites, but I'm also enjoying swimming. I was dreading being at work and knowing everything before it was on TV, but keeping things updated on the website at work has actually been a lot of fun. I follow what the wire service posts, but I also watch a lot of it live online.

On Tuesday, I had three screens going — iPad, desktop and laptop. On the iPad I had the live NBC feed, on the desktop I had the wire service and the administration for our website, and on the laptop my Twitter feed and email. And I do the same thing at home, but add in the TV and phone.

And even though I know everything that happens and have usually watched everything on primetime, I still watch it all on primetime when I get home.

So I know a lot about what is going on at the Olympics every day. In a work meeting on Tuesday I questioned some of what we were doing in print related to the Olympics and revealed how closely I follow everything. So later on, there was a debate about something Olympics-related in the newsroom, and my co-worker sided with me, saying I'm the mid-Missouri expert on the Olympics. I wouldn't go that far, but I will admit I'm Olympics-obsessed right now.

Some of my favorite things:

1. I love how unpolished and real most of these athletes are. When I watched Missy Franklin on the podium Monday night, I could see in her watery eyes that this has been her dream for most of her 17 years. It was real emotion, not manufactured. With all of the reality shows on TV, everything feels manufactured and fake. But these athletes are the real deal. They aren't always going to be eloquent or "quotable" in interviews, but you know they are speaking from the heart.

2. Gabby Douglas. She is the Shawn Johnson of this Olympics. She is so good, and you can't watch her without smiling. And she meditates on Scripture.

3. The Lochte/Phelps rivalry. This is manufactured by the media. But on Saturday, I made a bet with the sports editor that Ryan Lochte would win more medals than Michael Phelps, purely because I'm tired of the hype around Phelps. Neither one is really proving to be as great as expected, but I'm ahead by one gold medal at this point. The bet — I have to admit to him that I was wrong if I lose — is keeping things interesting and is probably why I care about swimming in this Olympics.

4. Twitter and the Olympics apps. There's a lot of complaints about NBC and the tape delay. NBC has definitely had its moments, and the tape delay is frustrating, but since I'm watching online and on TV later, their plan must be working. But I've loved following everything on Twitter and seeing the athletes tweet. I also have the NBC Olympics app on my phone, and I've really enjoyed the primetime companion. There are facts, photos and trivia updated during primetime. J loves trivia and is really good at it, so we've had fun answering questions while we watch.

5. Soccer. It's so rare that I get to watch soccer, I have to find a way to watch it when it is on. I had it on my iPad at work on Tuesday (so glad I can use work as an excuse for watching soccer). And I'm really looking forward to being on vacation and at my parents' next week for the finals.

And my one complaint: The Olympics can really make a 28-year-old feel old. These athletes are sometimes a little older than half my age. Some of the girls on the gymnastics team weren't even born when the U.S. won the gold medal in 1996. I vividly remember watching the '96 team practice at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. And I'm only a year older than Michael Phelps, but the TV people make it sound like 27 is 40. I hope these athletes are able to move on and able to enjoy the rest of their lives when they leave their athletic careers. Your life is definitely not over at 28.

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