Monday, August 11, 2008

True Olympic spirit vs. media hype

Last night I saw one of the most thrilling swimming relays ever as the U.S. Men’s team won the gold by slipping by France at the very end of the race by less than a second. The victory gives Michael Phelps his second gold of the Beijing Olympics and keeps him on track to match Mark Spitz’ record for the most gold medals in one year.
The final lap in that race will be talked about for years to come as the “old” guy on the team - Jason Lezak age 32 - somehow overcame nearly half a body length in the final half lap to slip into first place.
But you wouldn’t know any of this by reading the San Antonio Express-News today. The E-N sports editors were clearly unimpressed with that historic performance and relegated the story to the inside pages. Instead, they highlighted the U.S. Men’s Basketball team’s first round victory over China. No doubt they did this because they could run a big photo of Kobe Bryant dunking the ball over Yao Ming. (Yawn).
I could really care less about Olympic basketball these days. I liked it better when we filled our team with the best college players. But now that we fill the team with ringers it has become a pathetic media spectacle and no fun to watch - boring when we win, an embarrassment when we don’t. Who needs that?
Long after everyone has forgotten which overhyped superstars filled this particular Olympic basketball squad, we will still see replays of the final leg of that swimming relay and wonder how the heck he did it.

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