So we're at the end of the first week of the Olympics and I have a few random thoughts:
1. Wow. The opening ceremony was spectacular. And a little creepy, especially the part where the goose-stepping soldiers took the Chinese flag away from the little girls...
2. The air quality in Beijing sucks. It makes LA look like it has the atmosphere of a pristine wilderness.
3. Venues are terrific. Whoever designed the Bird's Nest stadium should get a medal. Ditto the swimming cube.
4. The first US medals were a gold, silver, and bronze sweep in women's saber. How cool is that?
5. On the Chinese women's gymnastics team-
Cyn: How old are they?
Me: They're supposed to be sixteen.
Cyn: They are not sixteen.
6. Is it just me or are about half of the swimmers for foreign countries going to college in the US?
7. Does the Chinese government really take children away from their parents at three if they are athletically promising? What happens if they can't cut it? (Or don't want to?). Do they do the same if you're good at math?
8. The best thing about NBC's coverage of the games is that they use Arnaud's Bugler's Dream (which ABC introduced back when they covered the games).
9. NBC's coverage has improved somewhat over the past decade and a half. It's not nearly as sappy as it used to be. Still, they could stand to tone it down a bit.
10. Bob Costas is no Jim McKay. But doing Bela Korlyi's live reactions to the gymnastics was brilliant and hilarious.
11. Michael Phelps is clearly a space alien. So is Jason Lezak. And Dara Torres.
UPDATE: Okay, British swimmer Simon Burnett (who apparently is a former NCAA champion for the University of Arizona, see 6, above) has another take: "I think I've figured out Michael Phelps. He is not from another planet; he is from the future. His father made him and made a time machine. Sixty years from now he is an average swimmer, but he has come back in time to mop up."