Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Golden race

I love the Olympics. Always have.

Most of the sports I know nothing about and don't follow until the Olympic torch is lit. But I find myself staying up all night watching team handball or fencing.

Every Olympics has multiple amazing moments. But tonight's 400-free relay is going to be hard to top. We keep hearing about Michael Phelps quest to win eight gold medals. But analyst Rowdy Gaines seemed to keep shooting that down. Over and over he said he couldn't see the French losing. He was still saying that with 25 yards to go. And yet there was Jason Lezak who kept closing and closing and then amazingly touched the wall first. It was a jump up and yell moment. Then to see the pure joy pouring out of Phelps, it was awesome.

My first Olympic memory is the U.S. hockey team's Miracle on Ice. I vaguely recall the summer boycott that summer so my first real Summer Olympics was 1984. McDonalds gave out cards which if a U.S. team won a medal you could get free stuff. A gold meant a Big Mac, silver was fries and bronze was a coke or ice cream. Thanks to the Soviet led boycott, we ate at McDonalds all summer. As a kid, everything was about the U.S. winning. As I got older, it became more about seeing athletes of any nation perform at their best. But I have to admit, tonight's 400-free relay brought the nationalist out in me. I stood and cheered. It would have sucked to lose to the French.