On Friday night, the “Games of the XXIX Olympiad” will begin in Beijing, China. Set aside all of the political controversy in the games, and you might actually enjoy watching some of the U.S. Athletes perform. I get the job of pointing out all of the U.S. athletes that you can watch out for. Sometimes I sit and think about what sport I would play in if I were in the Olympics. Since eating taco bell, playing PS2, and taking naps aren’t events, I don’t know if I can pinpoint a specific event that I would excel in. Swimming would involve wearing too skimpy of a swimsuit. Me and a speedo go together like Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. My mind wanders to football. The first problem would be keeping up with the other players. The second problem would be kicking my foot into the ground instead of kicking the ball. Oh well, enough day dreaming. TNS now presents the 10 U.S. Athletes you should watch:
Dana Torres – Dana is representing the U.S. women in swimming. Not only has she been in 5 different Summer Olympics, but she has retired twice in the process, skipping over the 1996 and 2004 Olympics. She also has 9 Olympic medals, 5 of which she won in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. After having her first child in 2006, she lost 36 pounds and was able to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Trials. At 41, Torres is the oldest American swimmer to participate in the Summer Olympics.
Shawn Johnson – Yes, there is a girl named Shawn, and she represents the U.S. gymnastics team. The list of accomplishments for Shawn is a mile long. She won the 2006 U.S. Junior National all-around, the 2007 Tyson American Cup championship, and the 2007 Pan American Games, in which she won 4 gold medals AND the all-around. She also won the 2007 Visa National Championships, won the all-around at the World Championships, came in 1st place at the U.S. Olympic time trials this year, and was the national champion for the second year in a row at the 2008 Visa National Championships. I’m not sure what all these accomplishments mean, but they sound pretty cool. She has not lost one competition as an “official Olympic athlete”. Look for her to cruise to gold both individually and as a team.
U.S. Men’s Basketball Team – It may not be the original “Dreamteam” but look for the U.S. team to do quite well this year in the Beijing Olympics. The U.S. men’s team has won a total of 15 medals at the Olympics, 12 of them gold. In 2004, the men won bronze, taking a break from the previous 3 straight golds they had won since 1992. The U.S. is lead by a powerful duo of Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony. They have had 5 games to tune up for the Olympics, in which the smallest margin of victory was 11 points against Australia (Aussie Aussie Aussie, oy oy oy!). It appears that the Dreamteam is back to their previous dominance. They’ll face China, Angola, Greece, Spain, and Germany in the preliminary round before hopefully making it to the Quarterfinals and eventually, gold!
Allyson Felix – Allyson was thrown into the spotlight at the 2004 Athens games, and will surely do well in Beijing. Born to an ordained minister and elementary school teacher, Allyson is an Evangelical Christian who uses her running ability to glorify God. She has certainly done a great job at that as she is the current and two time world champion in the 200 meters, the World champion in 3 events in 2007, A silver medalist in the 200 meters at the 2004 Olympic games, and has the fastest 4 x 400 relay leg EVER, surpassing Florence Griffith-Joyner. Allyson will participate in the 100m, 200m, and 400m for the Olympics. Look for her to kick some serious butt!
Michael Phelps – See what I mean about the speedo? Ewwwwww. The most important thing that you should know about Michael Phelps is that he is attempting to break the Mark Spitz record of 7 gold medals in swimming at one Olympic games, which he set back in 1972 in Munich, Germany. Phelps has qualified in 8 different events at the Beijing games, so it is quite possible he could beat this record. Phelps did win 8 medals at the 2004 Olympics, 6 gold and 2 bronze. Look for him to wear the Speedo LZR Racer suit, which I wrote about some time ago. There are so many other things to say about Phelps, but I’ll just let you read about it on his website. Or you can check out the article I wrote about him here.
Some of the other folks to watch are Mark Warkentin, in the 10k open water race (1st in Olympic history), Laura Wilkinson of the U.S. Diving team, and the U.S. Women’s softball team (who look to win gold for the 3rd straight Olympics). Enjoy the Summer Olympics – the Opening Ceremonies begin tonight at 7:30pm Eastern time!