The Buzz: 100 Reasons to be Excited for the Olympics
By Mike Gustafson//Correspondent
While yesterday marked the beginning of the 100-day countdown to the 2012 London Olympic Games, today marks the 100-day countdown to the beginning of the Olympic swimming competition. Which makes me giddier than a swimmer inside a Ben & Jerry’s factory. As if you, too, need extra motivation, here are 100 reasons why I'm losing sleep at night pondering London, and why you should be excited for the 2012 Olympic Games.
100. NBC live streaming all swim events.
99. This guy.
98. This song.
97. Those time-lapse videos of the Olympics compressed into 10 seconds.
96. Swimming on the cover of USA Today, NY Times, and your 50-person circulation small-town newspaper.
95. President Obama talking about swimming/Olympics.
94. Four American swimmers’ names trending on Twitter when we beat the Aussies by .01 in the men’s 4x100 freestyle relay.
93. The millions of 8-year-olds watching on TV and thinking, “I can do that one day.”
92. The 8-year-old who actually will.
91. When “red” states and “blue” states become “GO USA!” states.
90. The huge increase in USA Swimming membership.
89. Seeing someone in my small town of 4,000 people in Michigan wearing a T-shirt that says, “Phelps Phan.”
88. Those alien/super-hero Speedo goggles.
87. “Swim-viewing” parties (instead of Oscar/Super Bowl/March Madness parties.)
86. Fantasy swim leagues that actually are important.
85. Watching LeBron watch a swim meet.
84. The 5,000,000 swimming mimes to traverse the blogosphere.
83. Promotional ads that depict Phelps & Lochte as “teammates” rather than “rivals.”
82. Pre-planning Tweets to send as soon as Phelps does something amazing.
81. The obligatory post-Olympics SNL hosting duties of awesome and slightly awkward USA swimmer/Olympians.
80. When 50 million teenage girls discover Ryan Lochte.
79. Nicknames like “Aqua Man” & “Missy the Missile” that go mainstream.
78. That last night at Olympic Trials, when Omaha cheers our Olympic roster as loudly as we can to send our swimmers to London with ringing ears.
77. Teri McKeever leading U.S. women to Olympic dominance….
76. …and Greg Troy doing the same on the men’s side…
75. …and Frank Busch helping put it all together...
74. …and every other coach in the USA beaming with pride, knowing they, too, played a part.
73. Knowing that after 15,000 miles of training, it comes down to the last millimeter.
72. The few thousand adults who get their butts to lap-swimming, suddenly inspired.
71. Deli’s around the country naming sandwiches after Olympians. (I’ve eaten a few “Phelps” sandwiches at Urban Rustic in Brooklyn -- Prosciutto, Basil, Mozzarella, Roasted Red Peppers, Hot Peppers on a Baguette, in case you were wondering.)
70. Finally something to watch in that “sports-lull” between the NBA finals and college football season.
69. The influx of babies named “Michael” “Natalie” “Ryan” or “Missy” this summer.
68. “Reality TV” way better than the Kardashians.
67. More social media Olympic “content” than even Neo from “The Matrix” could handle.
66. Special effect swim race highlights edited to “Foo Fighter” songs.
65. Refueling feuds, fires, and rivalries (respectfully, of course).
64. Resurgence of the beach-time American Flag Swim Brief.
63. Phone conversations like this:
“Dude. Did you just SEE that awesomeness?! AHHHHH!”
(And so on.)
62. Knowing that a swimmer will be warming up for finals, feeling utterly amazing, and thinking, “I’m going to win an Olympic gold medal tonight.”
61. “The Social Media Games.”
60. The 50 free, deciding the World’s Fastest Human.
59. The Mile, deciding The World’s Hardest Training Human.
58. The 400IM, deciding The World’s Greatest All-Around Human.
57. Those few weeks between the Trials and the Olympics when swim writers go CRAZY with Olympic predictions.
56. That one billion people will watch many of the same swimmers you’ve met & talked with at any USA Swimming Grand Prix Meet.
55. Walking into a bar/restaurant/neighbors house and seeing swimming on TV.
54. “Nothing is impossible. With so many people saying it couldn’t be done, all it takes is an imagination.” –Michael Phelps
53. Those 3-minute profile pieces NBC runs before swim races, and I get to yell out, “I KNOW that girl!”
52. The one absolute dark-horse who makes the U.S. team, and then shocks the world.
51. Prelims swims that determine nighttime relay placements.
50. Dan Hicks & Rowdy Gaines commentating = best in the business.
49. Not being able to sleep at night, because you’re too busy reading every article, blog, Tweet, Facebook post, Morse code message, and pigeon carrier note written about every race you just saw.
48. The mentality that “Nothing matters except this race.”
47. Conversations with old friends that go like this:
“Wow, Michael Phelps is in really good shape.”
“Didn’t you swim?”
“Why don’t you look like Michael Phelps?”
“Why don’t you LEAVE ME ALONE?!”
46. That if Dara Torres makes the team, she’ll be 45 years old… meaning, yes, Retired Masters Swimmer… there’s still hope.
45. Kitajima vs. Whomever We Put Against Him.
44. That first time you hear the Star Spangled Banner.
43. ANY time you hear the Star Spangled Banner.
42. At any party or social gathering, knowing you can talk more knowledgably about swimming than ANYONE ELSE. (And people might actually listen this time.)
41. The small towns holding subsequent post-Olympic parades & “(Name) Day” named after their hometown heroes.
40. Wheaties Box Covers!
39. Twitter exploding whenever Lochte (insert verb here.)
38. Natalie Coughlin.
37. It not taking “three clicks” to get to swimming news on ESPN.com (and/or any other major media outlet).
36. That “sports writers” around the country are reminded there is something else going on besides football & basketball.
35. “Uh, sorry work/school/Mom/Dad/son/daughter. I have to, um, watch this, um, swim race, real quick… DON’T BOTHER ME!“
34. Or, putting a note on your door saying, “CONFERENCE CALL” when really you are just streaming swimming races and messaging your swim friends.
33. Or, stomach pains/groaning a la “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
32. Or, you know, quitting everything for 8 days and holing up a la Howard Hughes.
31. Ryan Seacrest adding more “star power” in the primetime NBC coverage.
30. Young American swimmers stepping up, accepting the challenge, saying, “Yep. We got this.”
29. Olympic ring tattoos.
28. You thought Linsanity was big? Just wait.
27. The comebacks that are finally “Back.” (Here’s looking at you, Hansen/Ervin/Torres/Evans?)
26. That every person named “Michael Phelps” will have no problem with dinner reservations.
25. Rebecca Soni’s 200m breaststroke.
24. The fact that someone could disprove this statement: “No one is going to win eight gold medals at these games.” (Didn’t Phelps teach us not to discount any possibility?!)
23. A race – a culmination of a lifetime’s training -- that can be decided by this much [ ].
22. The Olympic torch relay.
21. Seeing on Facebook & Twitter everyone’s favorite swimmers IN EACH OTHER’S PICTURES.
20. The subsequent amount of time we will spend clicking through aforementioned pics.
19. No. Morning. Finals.
18. Advancement of photography/video technology = awesome shots of Olympic racing = future desktop wallpaper.
17. That final medley relay.
16. The potential of another Eric The Eel.
15. HD everything.
14. "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well." –The Olympic Creed
13. Pausing the world’s problems, just a little bit, to watch great athletic competition.
12. Saying goodbye to Olympic swimmers in their final career races.
11.Phelps becoming the most-decorated Olympian. Ever.
10. Men’s 4x100 freestyle relay. Remember James Magnusson’s quote? “Let the rest of the world try and catch us.”
9. Seeing a “The World According To Ryan Lochte” segment sequel on NBC. (Please.)
8. 20,000 spectators going nuts.
7. Watching the Olympics with my Mom and Dad, like I used to do as a kid.
5. A world record finally being broken. Or (gasp!) two of them.
4. My non-swimming friends calling me and saying, “Hey Mike, you know what? Swimming is actually pretty cool.”
3. And then me knowing those non-swimming friends will forget about swimming a day later, and simultaneously knowing that I’ll love the sport unconditionally for another 70 years (God willing.)
2. Phelps vs. Lochte. In anything.
1. The Opening Ceremonies, when that torch is lit, and a billion people smile, all at once.