Monday, August 18, 2008

Why the Olympics Are Extra Cool This Time

I love the Olympics. I haven't owned a television since 1991, but I always find a way to watch. One year, I even rented a TV from one of those cheezy appliance rental places.

This year the Olympics are extra special. I'm not just talking about Michael Phelps surpassing what I consider the greatest athletic achievement in history. Or about how Jamaica appears to have brought the whoopass to the track this year. Or even about how nifty it must be for China, a perennial gymnastics powerhouse, to be performing well in their own house.

For me, what I'm enjoying is the level of civility, sportsmanship and kindness the athletes are showing this year. These aren't your Nike-sponsored felons like we see in our headlines and (sadly) in the ad campaigns. These are folks who speak intelligently, treat one another with respect. They accept responsibility when they fail on the mat/track/pool/road. They show immense courage by trying again when they fall on their face on the highest pressure stage in the world.

These are role models. They've got me thinking about how we could turn the Olympics into a character education curriculum the likes of which the world has never seen. I'm impressed.

On the other hand, the color commentator for women's gymnastics is an ***hole. He snorted and mocked the chinese competitor when she faltered on the horse. Didn't have a nice word for any of them. Him, I'd like to punch in the neck. But everybody else, even the other reporters, is showing a touch of class this year. Good on 'em.

Thanks for listening.

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