Friday, August 8, 2008

They're Baa-aack...

For the next couple of weeks (and then some), the summer doldrums will be broken by a bit of that hope and glory that we like to call the 2008 Summer Olympics. It’s a time to marvel at the athletes’ various triumphs over adversity… a time to see how long it takes for Bob Costas’ seemingly subtle jokes to wear thin… and a time for figure skating fans to scour the schedule for gymnastics events.

Just kidding!

No need for stereotyping here; there’s over 30 sports represented in these Games, surely a little something for everyone. For me, well… okay, gymnastics it is. But swimming takes a close second—and I’m not just talking about the synchronized kind. Or watching to see how many new medals Mr. Phelps adds to his hardware collection. Nope, I’ll be looking for a different Michael… the Michael I also refer to as my oldest brother.

He’s not one of the athletes; though he spent his formative years competing at many a swim or water polo meet, he never reached awesome heights with either. He has, however, served as an assistant coach with USA Swimming for the past decade or so—a job that took him to Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004, and of course, Beijing. Now.

So what? you say. It’s not like he’s ever going to be seen on TV or anything. To which I must laugh, deeply, and say Au contraire! For it was during a brief controversy in the 2004 Athens games, where a U.S. Swimmer That Wasn’t Michael Phelps seemed on the bubble for keeping the gold medal he’d just earned, that my big brother appeared… for all of about seven seconds… just long enough to be seen talking to the swimmer and giving him a thumbs-up on the gold.

OK, so I’m easily entertained. But rest assured, even if Michael doesn’t get his few seconds of fame this time around, I’ve still got the 2004 videotape around here somewhere. (It might come in handy on gymnastics’ off-days.)

But since I can’t locate it immediately, I guess I can’t make it the
Clip of the Day. Sorry. Please accept Jeffrey Buttle’s bronze medal-winning free skate at the 2006 Games in its place.

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