The 2008 Olympic Games sprang up in the fertile soil of my wide screen television set a couple of weeks ago.
They grew like a tomato plant on steroids and it bloomed in spectacular fashion. The opening ceremonies were spectacular and London folks are already running with their tongues hanging out trying to find an opening to match or exceed that one.
However, hidden behind the dazzling and ostentatious techno-splendor is a totalitarian government with most of its people living in poverty and servitude. That sullied it for me.
The games eventuated in a struggle between America, democracy and land of the free where athletes choose to train and prepare in the area they like and China, a totalitarian society where athletes are chosen, taken from their homes and told what to do. They train methodically for 10 or more hours every day under constant supervision and coaching. The Chinese have adopted the old Russian model of servitude and they produce winners but at what cost.
One gold medal winner has not seen her baby for over a year. One gymnast cried and wanted to go home but her parents forbade it.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching the American women's gymnastic team as they jumped, ran, twirled, spun, flipped and smiled in victory as well as defeat. They assiduously tried to defeat the Chinese machine. I was especially interested in the two Hoosier girls on the team.
Bridget Sloan lives about 10 miles from us. Too bad Samantha Pezeck of McCordsville had an injury and couldn't compete and Bridget had a limited role. I maintain the Chinese cheated with three gymnasts being underage.
How about Mr. Phelps and his swimming feats? Eight medals and eight Olympic and world records are unfathomable to me. Exceptional doesn't approach the success. Exciting, exhilarating and electrifying approach his accomplishments. However, after I saw it 32 times the glimmer faded some.
I cheered as the women and men scored gold in beach volleyball. I wonder why the men in sports seem to be wearing uniforms that cover more and more of their bodies, i.e. beach volleyball, track and field and regular volleyball while the women's uniforms are getting briefer. As if I didn't know. (wink, wink) I was caused to wonder all during the match if the women's beach volleyball team outfits just might split, rip or slip. The women's track team is the same way. They deign to show as much as possible and perhaps in London in four years they may be showing possible.
I reveled in the men and women gold in basketball, rowing, archery and boxing. Further I am glad that we won the games which we have since the Russian juggernaut was dismantled several years ago. The Chinese have taken up the mantle and will be even more formidable next time.
Hooray for the USA. I pressed the rose in my memory book. See you in London in 2012. I may not be able to stay up that late then.
Larry Vandeventer grew up north of Calvertville, graduated from Worthington High School and can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or at 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168 or by phone at (317) 839-7656. He has written five books about his experiences.