Trip Start Jun 18, 2008
46Trip End Sep 04, 2008
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Sunday morning I woke up when I always do (7:30 with bright daylight) but this time I decided to get out of bed no later than 9:30. One word: Phelps. I'd missed all of his other swimming competitions that had been held during the week, and was trying to stay on top of his successes through the news and YouTube. But I wanted to be able to honestly tell my grandchildren that I was in Beijing and watched on TV the morning he made history by earning his 8th gold medal. And, with a racing heart, I watched the relay. And with a swollen throat, suppressed tears as the National Anthem played as he accepted his medal.
And, sadly, there is Liu Xiang. The school I work at had a giant TV installed in the lobby just before the Olympics began. During lunch, they'll show broadcasts of various events, especially if it involves Chinese athletes. On Monday, I couldn't contain my students in the classroom because everyone in the school was watching the qualifying heats for the hurdling. I gave in and allowed them to watch, too. As soon as Liu Xiang appeared, it was clear to me there was trouble in paradise. He only did a quick warm-up before he began limping and favoring his right foot. As I watched him grimace, I knew it was bad news for China. Their hero had fallen.
Though it isn't funny when an athlete is seriously injured, I can't help but shake my head and smirk a bit when I see the CCTV replays. I know it sounds callous, but they add this super dramatic background music that has a large crescendo during the close up of his face when he first exhibits his wincing pain. It's so over the top. I mean, he's hurt, which is unfortunate, but he's sure not dead, and his homage seems more like a requiem.
And now, for a nod to the golden girls. That Russian pole vaulter is hot. What I wouldn't do for abs and butt cheeks like hers. It was pretty exciting to watch her set a new world record since she's really just in a league of her own. And Shawn Johnson. Wow. She makes me love gymnastics all over again. Am I taller than her?
On a personal note, we've seen all the Olympics events we had bought tickets for: boxing, weightlifting and softball. Weightlifting was surprisingly fun, and our softball dreams were not fully realized. Unfortunately (and fortunately), the US team is in the gold medal match and our tickets tonight were for the bronze. Australia v. Japan. We thought, let's root for Australia. They have white skin, too. Well, there are only 7 innings in softball, but a tied game brought us to 11, so we switched to rooting for the game to end. The Chinese must have thought we were some seriously pathetic fair weather Australian fans. And, it must be said, Adam bought two 10 year-old boys a beer to share. In America, that would be a crime.