The Olympics: Opening Reflections

After 4 long years of waiting, it’s finally here. I’m a little bit older, not much wiser, and once again am prepared to scream at my television / computer about sports that, except for these 2 weeks every 4 years, I generally will not even give a passing thought about. Thank God the wait is over… the Summer Olympics are here again.

I’m either proud or ashamed to say that last night, my brother and I made it through all 4.5 hours of the opening ceremonies. Despite the somewhat lengthy process, I actually found the entire thing to be very enjoyable. I will not endeavor to recap the entire ceremony, because if I did then the Olympics would be over by the time I was finished. Instead, here are my thoughts on some of the highlights.

– At the risk of offending the masses, the little kid who sang the opening solo has a bigger pair than I do, and he hasn’t even hit puberty. I cannot imagine the tension involved in singing live in front of literally a billion people. He was flawless, as were all of the children’s choirs in the opening portion of the ceremony.

– I don’t know what Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer thought they could add by commentating during the ceremony, but whatever it was, they failed.

– Kenneth Branagh delivering a Shakespearean soliloquy makes everything better. Kenneth Branagh is like ranch dressing.

– Daniel Craig may have elevated himself to the most bad ass of all the Bonds, as he is the only one that I know of to have actually met Queen Elizabeth II on screen. Plus they showed a teaser trailer for Skyfall during the commercials, and it looks awesome.

Tangent: In November, Skyfall comes out. In December, The Hobbit comes out. Merry Christmas Andy.

– The best part of the ceremony was the London Symphony Orchestra, Chariots of Fire, and Rowan Atkinson. If you didn’t see it, stop reading this and watch it now. Seriously. It’s awesome. On a related note, thank you Danny Boyle for not making this thing devoid of humor. The Chinese Olympic Committee could have learned a lot from you.

– The music selections for the 60’s to 90’s portion of the show were very good. However, there should have been a lot more Pink Floyd. In fact, they should have played Pink Floyd the entire ceremony. In all honesty, they should still be playing Pink Floyd. Why am I not listening to Pink Floyd right now? Screw you NBC.

– Kudos to the British for keeping the Parade of Nations moving at a quick pace. I know that it moved at a quick pace because Bob Costas complained at least 20 times that they were being rushed and didn’t have enough time to commentate. My heart damn near broke for him. However, no matter how fast the athletes move, it takes a while to get through 200 countries. That’s why my brother and I invented a Price is Right style game where we would alternate predicting how many athletes made up a country’s delegation, and then the other would take the over or under on that number. We didn’t keep score, but I won.

– After the United States, I will be giving my full throated support to the contingent of Independent Olympic Athletes. Those guys were awesome. I’ll also be cheering for the American Samoans, because they kind of scare me.

– For the final run of the Olympic torch, they had 7 young athletes run around the track while passing the torch between them. I was really hoping one of them would grab the torch and breakaway from the pack. The lack of killer instinct was disappointing.

– Paul McCartney closed out the show with Hey Jude, and I think he might have been either nervous or overcome with emotion. Considering that Paul McCartney has given thousands upon thousands of performances in his career, you know it’s a hardcore event when he’s getting choked up.

And so, the Games of the 30th Olympiad are officially open. So far today I’ve watched preliminary beach volleyball matches and watched the US Women’s Soccer Team crush Colombia 3-0. The US Women’s Team is incredible. The fluidity and grace they show moving the ball down field as a collective unit is amazing, and I look forward to seeing them stand tall on a podium in the very near future. For now though, the NBCSN Simulcast has decided to show some Equestrian action. I’m having a little trouble getting into it, but never fear. This is the Olympics, and I too shall overcome.

In closing, because these are the games of the 30th Olympiad, Time Warner has decided to dub this the XXX Olympic Games on the display. I was already expecting greatness, but now I’m expecting nakedness too. Don’t let me down NBC. And so, as is often the case, I leave you with a haiku in the spirit of competition:

Olympics are here,
US came to dominate.
Here comes the pain, world.

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