Bring it on!
Who, with any sense of life, will be able to resist the two week spectacle of excellence on which all these athletes have been focused for the last four years.
I'm looking forward to seeing champion athletes who've spent years perfecting the skills of their sport demonstrating the heroism of which top sport is chock full -- and modelling the skimpy outfits that show off their champion bodies. (And since the point of laws against performance-enhancing drugs is to protect the purity of sport from athletes using equipment to give them an unfair advantage, I submit that the Olympics should go back to the nudity which was de rigeur in the Ancient Olympics, and applaud those athletes like Rebecca Romero above who obviously shares this view.)
What I'm not looking forward to is the incipient outbreak of nationalism that goes with every Olympics -- expect the outbreak to be even more virulent given this year given the Olympics' proximity to two major elections.
And I'm prepared to be amused by the likes of a question from Keith Locke to Helen Clark in Parliament on Tuesday, asking the Prime Minister if she would be "advising New Zealand athletes to wear face masks" to protect themselves against Beijing's smog. Instead of advising Mr Locke that unlike himself world champion athletes might have some clue themselves about how to protect their own air passages should that be necessary, instead of telling him to grow up and get his own life, instead of telling him that what New Zealand athletes wear is not the business of the Prime Minister ... instead of any of that, she told him that on TV the other night she "saw patches of blue sky" over Beijing, so she thought such advice wasn't necessary.
It's hard to know who's more stupid.
The Olympics are about to start. Bring on the human drama!
UPDATE: Scott Powell says, "One of the things I love about world sporting events such as the Olympic Games, other than the displays of fantastic athleticism, is that they provide an opportunity for people to escape from oppressive regimes by seeking asylum in freer countries. The fact that this won’t be possible in 2008 because the Olympics are being held in one of history’s most oppressive nations is only one dimension of the travesty that are Olympic games in China, but at least one athlete may have found a way around the problem...." Read on here for the story.