It's been four years since Michael Phelps captured a nation's interest for two weeks in Beijing. We know that because the U.S. Olympic Trials are underway and we prepare to witness the world's greatest athletes compete at the highest level once again.
There is something about the four-year span between competitions. It adds so much pressure, number one. It also allows you to miss seeing it. I don't need to see a swimming final every year, sorry, nothing against the sport or athletes. But I'll make time for the Olympics, especially if a guy is winning eight gold medals.
Phelps, who set American and World records by the fistful in Beijing, will be back to handle the majority of the promotions for Team USA and NBC. He will play the face of the games because people know him but I doubt the interest will be the same without the chase for eight gold medals.
Track and field is always my favorite at the Summer Games, and this year we'll probably see Jamaica's Usain Bolt set another outrageous world record in the 100 and/or 200. American Ashton Eaton set a new world record in the decathlon at the Olympic Trials last week in Eugene, Oregon an event that claims to produce the "world's greatest athlete."
The world's got some serious basketball players and teams, it's certainly not just America anymore, we know that. But after reminiscing on the one-and-only Dream Team, it all pales in comparison to the summer of 1992.
Ah, The Dream Team, the greatest team ever put together anywhere. Never has America felt so superior in anything. Eleven Hall of Famers beating other countries by 70 points. The peak of our country's powers.
Opponents were asking for pictures with the team before games. As only Charles Barkley could say, "You do know we're here to kick y'all's behind, right?"
It's no secret today's foreign NBA stars like Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitizki and Pau Gasol were majorly influenced by the Dream Team's performance in the '92 Olympics. It shocked all other countries to get serious about basketball.
(They got so serious they started beating the USA but let's not go into that...)
Even sports like cycling, beach volleyball, rowing and diving will get me to pause. Is diving a sport? I can thank NBC for airing every single event on a variety of networks and online.
Let's see who the world best table tennis player is. Who's winning the badminton tournament? Did you see how much weight got put up in the clean-and-jerk? I even saw there was an event called "trampoline." I have no clue what that might consist of but I'll check it out. Why not? It's only once every four years.
*The 2012 London Olympics begin with Opening Ceremonies on July 25.