Brain Fart: The Olympics

This year, for the first time in a while, I find myself actually paying attention to the Olympics. As a youngster I used to be fascinated with the amazing feats of the likes of Nadia Comaneci, Vasiliy Alekseyev and Dorothy Hamill, and was the only one in my family who cared that the U.S. hockey team won gold over the Russians in 1980 (yes, I’m dating myself here), but in recent years the gold didn’t seem to shine as brightly. Not sure why, but maybe it was because the sport I chose to participate in and not just watch, mountain biking, got little real TV coverage during the Olympics, and the outcomes didn’t seem to really reflect who was best at the time or the spirit of the sport. I’m still bitter that Julie Furtado missed out on the gold she so obviously deserved on general merit, just because of an inconvenient medical condition that reared up at the wrong moment. There was also that silly points-chasing and court-scuffling that left my fellow West Virginian, Sue Haywood, home watching the race when she should have been out there with Mary McConneloug. (We invented the sport, goshdarnit, we should get two team spots for women!)

But this year I’ve gotten caught up in the gymnastics, the diving, the beach volleyball, and am looking forward to not one but two chances for bikes on dirt to shine: mountain biking and BMX. I’m especially eager to watch Jill Kintner make good on her yearlong quest to come back to BMX and grab its first gold offering. Jill was an awesome teacher at Dirt Rag’s Womens Weekend at Ray’s MTB earlier this year, taking time out from training to show us pump track skills, and she was fun to hang out with as well. It will be a thrill to cheer on someone I’ve actually met.

For those interested, the semi and final BMX races were postponed yesterday due to rain and will take place Friday morning. The women’s cross country race, originally slated for Friday afternoon, has been postponed due to rain as well, to Saturday morning. The men’s cross country will still take place Saturday afternoon. I’m not quite sure what that means for television coverage, but you can head over to NBC’s site to figure it out. Try to ignore the cheesiness of the major-network proceedings (although Bob Costas is not too bad, really) and check it out – you might see history being made.

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