Thursday, August 11, 2016

Let The Games Begin

Every couple of years there is something a little different that we usually watch on the television at the end of the day… the Olympics. While I usually prefer the winter games, the summer event has also had plenty to offer in recent years with some dominant performances by many United States athletes. Of course, there are also many other countries well represented, especially this year, that are providing some great competitions and surprising finishes.

However, before the games get underway, the opening ceremonies usually set the tone for the two week marathon. The last summer games provided us with an evening of entertainment from London that, when all was said and done, it let many with the feeling of how is Rio going to top this in 2016? Well, simply put, they didn’t. The opening ceremonies left most of us wanting and, for me, cause the channel to be changed in search of something that would at least provide some entertainment. Thankfully it was only one night.

Per the usual order of things, gymnastics and swimming were the highlighted categories for the prime time lineup to start the games. These are also the two concentrations that pique my wife’s interest so there really wasn’t a question as to whether or not we would be watching them. As the qualifiers and medal rounds continued, the dominance by the United States was unexpected even by their own lofty standards and watching Michael Phelps continue to add to his medal count is something that many of us, whether you like him or not, have to stand back and admire.

In both disciplines, there were both close competitions and moments of sheer domination. This is what I consider to be the perfect mix that you want to see at the Olympics. Congratulations to the teams and the individuals from all countries that put everything into their performances. Because of them, I am actually looking forward to the rest of the competitions.

Of course, there have also been a few moments of unpleasantness behind the scenes as well. Prior to the opening ceremonies, countries boarded on their assigned buses to the stadium in preparation for the celebration. All of the teams were able to follow these instructions with the exception of Israel who was prevented from boarding their assigned bus by the Lebanese delegation. Of course, with Yarden Gerbi winning the bronze medal in the women’s 63kg weight class in Judo, Israel can say that they have an Olympic Champion at the Rio games while Lebanon is still trying to find their way to the podium... maybe their bus got lost.