An Olympic moment

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, August 14, 2008

I have friends who have been perched in front of their television since the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

Not me. I’ve watched if I’ve been home or nothing else grabbed my attention right at that moment, but as far as being glued to the set, I’m just not that guy.

Still, Sunday night when nothing was on television, I found myself tuned into NBC watching the swimming events that were taking place in China. I’m no big swim fan, but I don’t know how anyone could not be cheering on Michael Phelps and his attempt to sweep Gold.

My interest peaked when I saw Bob Costas talking about a newspaper report in which the French team had reportedly said they would “smash” the Americans in the 4×100 relay. I’m no fan of the French to begin with and this trash-talking certainly brought out the American in me.

I had to stay up and see the race and, hopefully, see an upset of monumental proportions. Before the meet started, even the American experts were saying that despite the French being boastful, it was likely they couldn’t be beat.

Oh, that’s always the way…the team that couldn’t be beat. It’s funny when I hear such thing said. It seems there have been many times when “couldn’t” hasn’t turned out so well for those who said it. The Titanic comes to mind.

Still, I knew there was at least a decent chance the French would actually win the Gold Sunday night. Michael Phelps wouldn’t be a happy person for sure and neither would any of us who were staying up in the hopes of seeing the French eat their words.

The race started and it seemed like it was taking forever. The United States was represented by Cullen Jones, Jason Lezak, Michael Phelps and Garrett Weber-Gale.

After getting out to a good start, the American team fell behind and it seemed inevitable that the French, behind their best swimmer, would simply coast to the gold medal while the United States was forced to settle for silver.

Then it happened, Lezak sensed weakness and made his move. And what a move it was as he pulled even with his French counterpart and then out-lunged him at the wall to send the Americans to the top of the medal stand.

I have to admit pumping my fist in the air and letting out a loud “yes” right there by myself. I don’t usually get that caught up in Olympic events anymore. I enjoy them, but I’ m not a diehard fan by any means. Still it was so nice to see the American spirit prevail.

There have been other enjoyable moments in these Olympic games, but I doubt seriously that any of them would compare to watching the American defy the odds n and defy the French n to win gold.

It was one of “those” moments in sports for me. One that I will always be glad I was in front of the television for. I hope you were there watching too.

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