TIf you donít already know the significance of 08.08.08, youíve been living under a rock, and this isnít just related to the United States. On August 8, 2008 a global event will be taking place that is literally one of my favorite things to watch. No, itís not another Disney Channel movie; itís the Olympic Summer Games.
Years ago both the summer and winter games were held in the same year, but beginning in 1992, the games were split and now there is either a summer or winter game every two years. This means there are still four years between the summer games and then again between the winter games, though So the last time we watched the gymnasts, volleyball, swimming, running and diving of the best trained athletes in the world was in 2004, and you might not have been paying attention then. Be sure youíre paying attention this year.
This year the Olympic Games will be held in Beijing, China. There will be 302 events in 28 sports with up to 206 countries competing. In total, 10,500 athletes from all over the world will be participating and the United States alone will be bringing 600 of these.
Interestingly enough, not all of the games will actually happen in China. The equestrian events will take place in Hong Kong, which competes separately from China. Technically, Hong Kong is a territory of China, but is allowed to form its own team for the Olympics. Puerto Rico and Bermuda have the same situation. Having events in two different countries hasnít occurred since 1950s. Itís become very normal to have events in different cities, however, so Beijing isnít the only city weíll be seeing during the various events.
Things to WatchGymnastics
Ė Whether you love the sport
of not, gymnastics is a huge draw during the Olympic Games. The final six female American athletes were chosen July 16-20 at a special camp. Of the eight finalists, there were a combined 29 World Championship medals, but the team of six is widely believed to be the best on the mat.
A new scoring system will keep everyone on their toes as well. The new system means there are no more perfect 10s. Youíll be looking at scores like 16.43. While the numbers might be uglier, the routines are going to be breathtaking Ė the new system has led athletes to create some of the most challenging routines ever.
Menís gymnastics is just as interesting. In 2004, if you were watching, the twin Hamm brothers really livened things up. Everyone was antsy this year to see if they would qualify again, but then Paul Hamm, one of the best male gymnasts in the world, broke his hand at Nationals. But just recently heís confirmed his spot for the Olympics despite not going through fully through the trial process, and is ready to go take on the world (again.)Swimming
Ė The big name in swimming these days is Michael Phelps. He was supposed to set a new record for the sheer number of gold medals won at an Olympic game in 2004, but he missed earning the record breaking eight, by earning two bronze medals to compliment his six golds. This summer, heís back and heís going for the gold again. This time heís up for seven gold medals Ė a match to the world record in a single Olympics. The whole world will be watching to see if he can do. I, for one, am simply impressed that someone can earn six gold medals in a matter of a week regardless of any world records involved.