Summer Olympics are worth watching, whether your favorites win or lose


U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky can report that she had golden opportunities for fun during her summer vacation. (Fabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

Like most people, I have been watching the Summer Olympics. Here are the thoughts — some serious, some silly — that have crossed my mind during all that sports TV time.

●Why don’t many Americans play team handball? It looks like a fun, simple game that would be great in elementary school gym classes.

●Fans have been arguing whether the 2012 United States men’s basketball Olympic team with LeBron James and Kevin Durant could beat the so-called Dream Team of 1992 with Michael Jordan and Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Sure they could: Some of those Dream Team guys are 50 years old now!

All joking aside, I think the two teams are pretty close. But there’s no doubt that this year’s U.S. women would beat the 1992 women’s basketball team. Our 2012 team is awesome.

●I don’t like Gabby Douglas’s nickname: the Flying Squirrel! For one thing, I don’t like squirrels, but I love Gabby. She always looks happy, even when she is doing incredibly difficult gymnastics. Gabby, 16, even smiles when she loses.


U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas might want to get rid of her nickname, but she shouldn’t lose her happy smile. (Thomas Coex/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

●I guess we know what 15-year-old gold-medal swimmer Katie Ledecky will do if her teachers at Stone Ridge School in Bethesda ask students to write about “What I Did on My Summer Vacation.”

●Did you hear that 17-year-old Missy Franklin — the winner of five medals, including four golds — announced that, unlike other Olympic athletes, she won’t accept money for endorsing products? Franklin wants to swim for her school teams, and she would not be eligible for high school or college sports if she received money for being in ads. There’s someone who is true to her school.

●London doesn’t seem like a great place to play beach volleyball, especially at night. It looks cold on that sand.

●Was there a sale on fluorescent yellow track shoes right before the Olympics? Lots of runners wear them. I guess they think the shoes make them look fast.

●I get tired just watching water polo. It looks super tough. Next time you are at a pool, try treading water (no touching the bottom) for two minutes. In the Olympics, water polo players have to do that — and a whole lot more — for four, eight-minute periods.

●Some people have criticized NBC for showing too many American athletes. But watching one team reminds kids that disappointment and losing is a big part of the Olympics. Think about the American gymnasts who messed up some of their routines. Sometimes, no matter how much you practice, things don’t turn out the way you planned.

Enjoy the rest of the Summer Games.


Different jerseys help distinguish one country’s runners from another’s, but the same can’t be said about their shoes. (Anja Niedringhaus/Associated Press)

Fred Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author of 18 sports books for kids. His latest soccer book, “Go for the Goal!,” has just been published.

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