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Closing Ceremony

So long, Beijing. It’s been educational, fun and quite interesting. Thanks again for the hospitality — something you maintained as long as you weren’t questioned about how you do the things you do. Through it all — the age issues, the typically pathetic judging for all judgment-related competitions, NBC’s terrible coverage after the Phelps show left town — you managed to offer a venue that provided a lot of sports entertainment.

But now we are leaving you for a 2012 date with the folks from London, England; leaving you so you can go back to doing whatever it is you do to make your citizens a part of the collective.

Do you get the feeling yesterday’s departure was none too soon for China’s government? Having to face Western scrutiny was an uncomfortable necessity in order to show the world your might, but you get the feeling they reached their limit. No more questions about Tibet and forced relocations and gymnast’s ages. Just leave now so we can salvage what’s left of our steadily-crumbling facade — er, I mean friendships developed during the Olympic Games.

Now that the final curtain has fallen on the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, what did we learn?

* There a strong possibility Usain Bolt was developed in the same lab that produced Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. Am I saying he’s a cyborg robot capable of eradicating the Connor name throughout history? Yes. Yes I am. Bolt is Terminator, although, like Woods, he’s probably a T-1000 model. Remember, a metal endoskeleton is much more bulkier than liquid metal.

* Michael Phelps is apparently half fish/half pimp. It’s all that gold, folks.

* There are so many attractive female athletes, it’s impossible to keep track of them all.

* The US Sprint Team, with the exception of Walter Dix and the 400-meter sweep, performed like absolute garbage. They came to the Olympics with expectations of putting the the US back on the map as the dominant country in the world and how did that work out for them? Just ask Tyson Gay. Or Usain Bolt.

* I’m a pretty liberal person — or least an independent thinker — but I discovered I agree with George Will on something: Seeing all those Chinese drummers in the closing and opening ceremonies was kinda creepy. It was almost like China saying, “Do you see? Do you see what we are capable of? Do you see just how in-step the youth of China is with our way of life?” It was at once awesome and intimidating.

* Will anyone in the USA remember anything from these Olympics except Phelps, Bolt and the Redeem Team winning? I’m sure winners like Stephanie Rice and Rebecca Adlington will be adored in Australia and Britain, but if you walked up to someone TODAY and ask them who these two swimmers are, you’d probably be greeted with a blank face as a response. And their competition only ended last week.

Furthering this point is the gymnast team, especially Shawn Johnson and Nastia. When you have American girls winning gymnastics gold medals, people immediately harken back to Mary-Lou Retton and her popularity. Um, how’d that work out for Carly Patterson?

The Olympics are a weird beast. They captivate the world for about 2 weeks, then everyone forgets they were even on — until the next time. And with that in mind, see you in London, 2012. Maybe by that time, the USA Sprint team can find four sprinters capable of handing a relay baton off without dropping it. Don’t hold your breath, though.