For me, the anticipation is growing. There is nothing like an Olympic year in sports, whether winter or summer. You know what I mean if any of you reading this experienced seeing the 1980 winter Olympic U.S. hockey team's Gold Medal win after defeating Russia (by far the best hockey team on the planet at the time, bar NONE), in the semi’s.
Everyone I knew was glued to their 25” television screen and as the clock wound down to zero, I swear I felt the ground move. At that moment in time, we all became one as Americans, every single one of us. It meant everything.
I am not sure a feat like that can ever be repeated, with the cards so stacked against us. However, the Olympics are the Olympics and this summer’s games raise a slew of questions.
Will Michael Phelps be able to add to his historic victories from 2008 and continue to rewrite the record books, or has he mentally moved on to other things? It will be interesting to watch.
Will women’s soccer avenge their World Cup performance after losing to Japan in pk’s? Are there new stars waiting to be born or will former world class players like Wambach be able to kick it up a notch and make something happen?
And what about men’s basketball, is there another dream team in the works or has fame and fortune so overshadowed the Olympic dream in this sport that it has become an irrelevant showcase in many a pro basketball player’s mind?
The women’s basketball team, led by Diana Taurasi, well…they will undoubtedly dismantle anyone that gets in their way of gold. Don’t think this group will lose focus as their dominance on the women’s side seems laser focused on the Olympic prize.
And what will happen for both men’s and women’s gymnastics? We haven’t heard much about the men’s team, at least not from the media, but how sad for Shawn Johnson. I, for one, would have loved to see her come back to reclaim her earlier form; however, her knee injury (skiing) has taken a terrible toll. Will there be another female gymnast preparing to capture America’s heart? I bet there is, just watch.
Track is always interesting and exciting from a viewer’s standpoint, both men’s’ and women’s. Lolo Jones won’t be the only one America’s eyes are focused on, I can guarantee you that. One of our sprinters, Carmelita Jeter, currently holds the title of “world’s fastest woman,” and long jumper Dwight Phillips is looking to add another gold medal for himself in that event. We will see.
Whether indoor or beach, volleyball is a big time sport for many in this country and those interested will be marking down the timeslots for both. Don’t know if our U.S. women’s indoor team will be able to avenge their loss to Brazil in the gold medal round in Bejing, but we are certainly hoping the men’s team can pull off another gold medal.
Beach, well we have dominated both the women’s and men’s volleyball sand scene with May-Treanor/Walsh and Rogers/Dalhausser, respectively, for a while now. They, of course, are hoping to do the same again in London and take home golds for both genders, and so are all of us. And I am sure there are other U.S. players, waiting in the wings to make a name for themselves, who have the skill to make a challenge.
And certainly there are other embracing, exciting, and inspirational stories on the horizon, in a variety of sports, ready to surface in London. 2012 will be a great summer for U.S. Olympians, I can feel it.
Go team U.S.A.!!!
(Referenced article: Top 10 U.S. Athletes to Watch at the 2012 London Olympics, CBSsports.com)