Like a lot of sports fans, I'm psyched about the Olympics. I love almost everything about them, from the Opening Ceremonies (today) to the last flicker of the Olympic flame two weeks from now. What I really like
are all the different events. The Games are a great time for some not-so-well-known sports to get their moment in the sun.
We see plenty of baseball, basketball and tennis during the year.
I don't know why they even have tennis in the Olympics; we
have way too many tennis tournaments already. Here are
some of the events I'm looking forward to seeing:
Swimming relays. I'm not much of a fan of swimming. I know Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin are amazing, but swim meets put me to sleep -- except for the relays. For me, teams of swimmers diving into the pool are much more exciting to watch than eight single swimmers splashing their way across the water. And I love that relay teams have great and not-so-great members, all of whom have to pull together to get a medal.
Rowing. Here's another great race. The boats, especially the big ones with eight rowers, start slow like "The Little Engine That Could" chugging up the mountain. Then the oars dip into the water in perfect unison. The rowers strain on every pull. Suddenly the shells are skimming across the water and the race is on. By the finish line, the boats are really moving.
Whitewater kayaking. This is the wild side of Olympic water sports. Kayakers plunge into roiling water and make their way through a slalom course using their strength and skill. This year's races will be in salt water, which may make the kayaks even harder to control. It promises to be a crazy ride.
Badminton and table tennis. Chances are the networks won't show many matches on TV because these games aren't really America's racket. But they should be on TV more. With wild, spinning serves, lightning smashes and jaw-dropping returns, world-class table tennis is nothing like a friendly game of Ping-Pong in the family rec room. Same with badminton: The birdie flies at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. Believe me, badminton in the Olympics is no backyard barbecue game.
Women's soccer. Now that the Women's United Soccer Association is gone, this Olympics is one of the few places to see top-notch women's soccer. And even though the United States has veteran stars such as Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy, it's not a shoo-in for the gold. Expect Sweden, Germany and China to give Team USA all it can handle. But, medal or no medal, it will be fun to watch the women play again.
See, there are lots of great events in the Summer Olympics. And I haven't even mentioned field hockey, volleyball, softball, water polo and wrestling.
Time to get psyched.
Fred Bowen writes KidsPost's Friday sports column and is the author of sports novels for kids.