You're 16 and the whole world's watching you. That's Shawn Johnson at the Beijing Olympics. She's got a lot of expectations riding on her. The petite Iowa gymnast entered the Olympics, favored to win the sport's most coveted title, the all-around competition.
I wasn't expecting to be moved by an Olympic commercial. Then I saw Derek Redmond and his father. It was that unforgettable moment from the Barcelona Olympics when track star Derek Redmond had no way to finish his race. In the middle of his run, he got a crippling injury.
Who would have thought that watching people swim could be exciting? But then, how many people swim like Michael Phelps? I know I’ve been hooked into rooting for him as he goes for a gold medal record. And how about that guy who’s following all those guys with a camera? He must be a really good swimmer! Michael says his life is basically, "I eat, I sleep and I swim." I’m pretty good at two of those three. Don’t look for me in the Olympics.
I finally found an Olympic athlete I can relate to. No, it’s not America’s swimming ace, Michael Phelps. I don’t even like to be seen in public in my bathing suit. It has a hole in the knee. The balance beam isn’t my thing either. I have a hard enough time turning around twice and finding the ground. But it actually is a gymnast with whom I was able to identify. A little.
The weather's been good for the Olympics in Beijing. Except for those dark clouds. World-class athletes, disqualified on the brink of their moment of glory. Because of what they call doping. You want to win so badly that you pump illegal substances into your body to give you the edge. Instead, you go over the edge.
The world is watching the Olympics. I'm trying to watch when I'm able. The Olympics are pretty engaging. I'm not sure how some of these athletes get their bodies to do what they do. Jumping jacks are challenging for me. What intrigues me are the personal stories - they're what make this a human drama, not just a sports drama.
They're some of the wildest roller coasters in America - Goliath, Titan, Maverick, Millennium Force. Oh yeah - and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The American economy is taking us for one wild and unpredictable ride right now.
Okay, maybe it's because I'm thinking about the Super Bowl. Hey, I lived for 28 years in the New York area. I spoke for New York Giants' chapels. Can't I be forgiven for my mind wandering to the upcoming Super Bowl? Of course, I can't reveal who I'm rooting for.
Newsweek provides some interesting insight into Barack Obama's campaign for President. His surprising success has been attributable, in part, to organizing tactics he learned as a community organizer in Chicago years ago. In Iowa, his operatives established Obama clubs in local high schools to move voting age teenagers from apathy to involvement. His organizers "spent months recruiting barbers and hairdressers to preach the candidate's virtues to their customers."