The 2008 Beijing Olympics have run their course-and in reflection, have been the most entertaining Summer Games of my lifetime. To think that one Olympics could feature two of the greatest individual performances in history is stunning. But there is more to the Beijing Games than just Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt.
These were the Redemption Games. Now, yes, many of you will think I'm spotlighting that aptly nicknamed USA Basketball team, but nah, I'm looking at the big picture. For Beijing and China, these games served as an excellent representation of the advancement of the People's Republic since the days of the chairman. Yes, Darfur and Tibet still loom large-but the state of things seem to have enhanced dramatically in recent decades in China.
NBC and any other television providers redeemed themselves, and proved to the world that the Olympics are still the Biggest Sporting Event in the World. Not the Super Bowl, not the World Cup-the Olympics. Spectacular ratings for the Opening Games and other marquee events were a step up from the somewhat disappointing Athens' ratings.
And then there is the matter of that Basketball Team. If your only legitimate scare comes in the Grand Finale where your opponent is playing their heart out-you'd be satisfied. Kobe, LeBron, Wade and the bunch reasserted that the United States is the center of the basketball world. As opposed to in 2004, in which an unlikable, apparently uncomitted team helmed by the hardly amicable Larry "Co-Founder of the New York Knick Demise" Brown, this US team seemed like a committed band of brothers, and with a geniune guy like Kryzewski as their leader, a team that was easy to root for.
Other Ramblings...seeing Osi Umenyiora go down tonight against the Jets was tough to watch, even as a Bungles Bengals fan. The NFL preseason continues to prove that it's got nothing to prove, but a whole lot to lose. The Giants playoff hopes are already in danger without defensive cogs like Osi and Strahan.
If the Yankees can take two out of three against the Red Sox in this week's pivotal Wild Card series-are they back in it? Perhaps, but I'm still unsure what to make about their recent 6-2 run. Kudos to Darrell Rasner today for reasserting the fact that he is more inconsistent and less deserving of a starting spot than Sidney Ponson. C'mon, Raz, you can do better than 3.1 against the O's.