For me - if I was to go "heart and not head" - I'd like to see the Pirates.
I kind of feel for Houston, though. They don't stand much chance in the NL Central, and next year they are in the AL West - and have to fight the Rangers and the Angels. Talk about going out of the frying pan and into the fire.
The name to watch for the coming Olympics in swimming is Ryan Lochte. He's been cleaning the pool with EVERYBODY for the past two or three years, including Phelps. He's broken, I think, all of Phelp's world records in the events they both comete in, as well as others. Unless Phelps is able to really dig down deeper than ever before, he'll finish second to Lochte overall. In fact, I suspect, unless he chokes, that Lochte will come away hands down with most valuable and most winning swimmer in this Olympics.
The American women swimmers also have some great ones too, especially a little (I think) fifteen-year-old (her name escapes me at the moment), who could really electrify the field. As well, Dara Torres, if she makes it through the Olympic Trials in a couple of weeks, could surprise the world once again.
In short, the swimming promises to be one of the most exciting, if not THE most exciting Olympics ever.
Track & Field possibly the same. Usain Bolt no longer runs in a class by himself. There are several very viable challengers, and of course the women are knee-deep in world class runners competing with Jamaica, UK, and a number of others, so Track & Field also promises to have some heart-stoppers. Watch for the men and women sprints in particular to show some spectacular talent.
The rest of the Olympics has great potential in all areas as well.
Of course, in men's Water Polo, I don't expect much at all... that way if by some miracle they pull off a rousing win, or something close, I won't be disappointed.
Overall, however, it should be possibly the most exciting Olympics to watch in my life time.
My only saving grace with regard to swimming is that the times I put up in the mid-seventies are still faster than the current women's world records for those events, but I doubt that will last much longer. In fact, some of them might go down this year in London 2012.
Either way, I'll be glued to the screen.
Wow, you must have been a pretty good swimmer, Scott! You have to admit, Usain Bolt is a spectacular athlete to watch. I don't know if the swimming at the London Games will top the last Olympics. They were incredibly exciting, especially that medley final between the US and France. Should be good. Nevertheless, I must confess to preferring the Winter Olympics over the Summer Games.
I suspect the whole games will have a sharper edge than even the last games overall, but that may be just wishful thinking on my part. However, the rest of the world have stronger competitors than ever before in various fields, so it could be a doozy.
It will also be interesting to see how invasive and effective the security is going to be, as this may be a model - or test run - of big brother to come. Not that the security isn't needed, but it will be extremely instructive to watch and analyze.
Here you go, Irv, and other swim fans. Of course I'm very prejudicial, but this is the most exciting race I have ever seen in any sport, hands down. I still get chills watching it.
Scroll to 2:25 in the video to go straight to the race:
BTW, this is one of the TWO miracles it took for Phelps to win 8 gold medals.
If they had had the same events available in Munich in 1972 that they had in Beijing in 2008, Spitz would have easily won 8 gold medals as well. That is, they didn't have the 50 free in the Olympics back in 1972. Had they, Spitz would have won that hands down as well as his other 7. I happen to know first-hand how fast he was, as even though he had me by three years in age, I swam next to him plenty of times in practice on our summer team.
The second miracle it took for Phelps to win his 8 gold medals was the unbelievable error of Milorad Cavic in the 100 butterfly. Only novices make the kind of mistake he made. World class swimmers like Cavic just don't make those kind of mistakes. It just doesn't happen. Yet he went and did it, i.e., he took the half stroke at the end instead of driving the wall, and thus Phelps won by one one-hundredth of a second. That is, 00.01.
Spitz won every race handily. IMO, he's still the best swimmer the human race has ever produced, unless of course you include Methuselah according the ages of the patriarchs in the LXX, because the LXX has Methuselah surviving the flood by fourteen years. :cool:
Very exciting to relive, Scott. Thanks for the video! (For some reason though, the video kept stopping to buffer. The 8 minute video probably took 15 minutes to complete. It was a real pain in the neck! I wonder why some videos are like that on YouTube.)
By the way, will Jason Lezak be swimming at the London Games or is he retired from swimming now?
My kids have been on a swim team for about five years now. The swim team hosted Lenny Krayzelberg a couple of times. So we got to hear his story and my kids got personalized pointers from him in the pool. Pretty cool.
There must be something specific to your computer because the video works perfectly on mine. I've watched it probably more than twenty times again. I hate sentimentality in general, but I must confess that I fall to it when I watch the video.
I have no idea if Jason Lezak will compete again. There is going to literally be so much talent in the pool in London in this Olympics that anything could happen. I don't think non-athletes realize how exclusive and how extraordinarily good all the athletes are who even make it to the Olympics. For example, there are some VERY fast swimmers in the world, the vast majority of which will not make the Olympics, and yet they are easily in the same class as those who do.
Take the recent collegiate championships as an example. In the 2012 NCAA's there were seventy entrants in the 50 free. The top time was 19.01. The seventieth time was 20.6. Twenty-two of the seventy were all under 20 seconds, i.e., 19+.
And yet, if those were the Olympic Trials, only THREE out of those seventy would make it to the Olympics, and yet those seventy are among the very fastest swimmers on the planet.
In short, those who actually make it to the Olympics breathe some incredibly rarefied air. If only I'd been a little faster back in the day!
Well, okay, a LOT faster! :cool:
I have a great deal of respect for those who are talented enough to even make it to the Olympics, much less win medals there, and since I know what it takes to get there, I really enjoy watching them.
It's great for your kids to be involved in a sport like swimming, or track, or gymnastics, etc., regardless of how talented they are, as being involved in a discipline like that can't help but build character. Plus it's a huge bonus for their health.
The Olympic qualifying trials for the US swimmers won't even take place for another week or so, but in swimming, track, gymnastics, and so on, it just seems that the talent is higher than it's ever been, so for me this year's Olympics is really something to look forward to.