As I reflect on the 2008 Summer Olympics, several memorable moments come to mind.
First, of course, is Michael Phelps, making history by winning eight gold medals in a single Olympics. Plus he set (or helped set) seven world records in the process. What makes this more astounding is the intense and constant media pressure he was under. Had he fallen short in this quest, I would have blamed the media and not faulted him. In addition to all this, he seems like a genuinely nice guy.
In woman’s beach volleyball, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh repeated as gold medalist, which had never been done in the sport. They won 108 straight matches and hadn’t lost one for a year and a half. It seems that their next focus will be starting their respective families.
The redeem team (men’s basketball), showed both character and talent, advancing to win a gold medal. (I haven’t watched them win the game yet, so don’t tell me what happened.)
In her fifth Olympics (and she skipped two), 41 year old Dara Torres out showed most of her competitors, many of who were half her age. Aside from winning three more medals, she exemplified the Olympic spirit by asking officials to delay the start of a race so that a competitor would have time to change out of a torn swimsuit.
I’m not sure why, but the image of President Bush enjoying the games is etched in my mind. I guess it’s refreshing to see him in a non-political context.
Last but not least, happened during the Opening Ceremony. Li Ning (Chinese gymnast), suspended on wires, made a symbolic run around the top of the stadium to light the torch. It was both artistic and awe-inspiring.
Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.