Since I don’t like baseball, this is by far the worst part of the year for me.
NBA basketball and NHL hockey have been over for a couple of months, and the NFL season is just getting into training camp.
Happily, though, the 2012 Olympic Summer Games got under way Friday.
I’ll let others debate whether London’s opening ceremonies were as good as Beijing’s. London did have the requisite mix of the absurd (flying bicycles with wings?) and the sublime (those fireworks at the end).
In its favor, London was able to use the music of a host of recognizable British artists, including
Pink Floyd, David Bowie, U2, etc. Even the Arctic Monkeys covered The Beatles’ “Come Together.” Too bad Bob Costas and Matt Lauer had to talk over it.”
And then there was Sir Paul McCartney and “Hey Jude.”
Although the Games are just getting started, a few interesting storylines already have developed.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for gymnast Jordyn Wieber.
Wieber, the reigning world women’s all-around champion, missed making the all-around finals, not because her scores were bad, but because of an Olympics rule that says nations may send only two gymnasts to the field of 24.
Teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas edged her out by mere tenths of a point.
Perhaps there’s a reason for this rule. However, it makes far more sense to allow the 24 best gymnasts to compete, regardless of country.
Wieber’s agony was palpable. Too bad NBC had to broadcast it in excruciating close-up. Of course, that team gold medal should help a little bit.
In the pool, teen phenom Missy Franklin seems to be living up to the hype, already winning a bronze in the women’s 4x100 freestyle relay and gold in the women’s 100-meter backstroke. She’s got a good chance of picking up even more hardware as the Games continue.
Skeet shooter Kim Rhode made history by being the first American to win a medal in five consecutive Olympics. She was darned near perfect in winning the gold, hitting 99 of 100 targets.
That’s just amazing. She’s only 33, so expect her to just add to that amazing feat.
Northwestern alum Matt Grevers took gold and set an Olympic record in the men’s 100-meter backstroke. He also won a silver medal earlier in the men’s 4x100 freestyle relay. He’s making my alma mater proud.
I’m also eagerly awaiting my chance to watch Jacobs’ grad Evan Jager go for the gold in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. His first race is Friday.
And I’ve been keeping an eye on women’s soccer to see Prairie Ridge graduate Amy LePeilbet, who is a defender on the U.S. team.
Having home-grown athletes for whom to root makes these Games that much more fun to watch.
I’ll be glued to the TV until the Games wrap up Aug. 12.
But for today, I have to brush up on my fencing rules.
After all, Notre Dame graduate Mariel Zagunis begins her quest today to repeat as the gold medalist in women’s sabre.
So many sports, and so little time.
• Joan Oliver is the assistant news editor for the Northwest Herald. She can be reached at 815-526-4552 or by email at email@example.com.