By Doug Halberstadt
In just a little more than three weeks, the sporting world will turn its attention to London, England, for the summer Olympics. For 17 straight days, thousands of athletes from every corner of the globe will compete for the opportunity to be declared the best in the world in their chosen events. Medals will be handed out in sports ranging from archery to water polo.
In addition to the thousands of competitors, millions more will be following the games from their televisions, computers, cell phones, tablets and whatever other new electronic mobile device happens to be invented between now and then.
It seems as if everyone has his or her favorite event to watch. For many, it’s the track and field competition. Olympic swimming has helped make Michael Phelps and his rival Ryan Lochte household names. Still others prefer the grace and beauty of gymnastics, synchronized swimming or the equestrian events.
For those looking for something a little more physical, there’s judo, taekwondo, wrestling and boxing. There is even hockey. Not the kind played on ice, though, and there are no pucks. It’s played with a round ball on dry ground. Most people on this side of the pond refer to it as field hockey.
One of the more recent sports that has skyrocketed in popularity is the game of beach volleyball. I think it’s fairly safe to say this is directly attributable to the scantily clad, well-toned bodies of the players, both men and women. It is one of the favorite spectator sports in all of the games.
Despite the popularity of the many different sports that make up the summer games, the one event that draws the biggest television audience isn’t even a sport — it’s the opening ceremonies. They are set for Friday night, July 27. An estimated 4 billion people will be tuned in worldwide to watch the arrival of the Olympic Flame and the parade of nations.
The name of the Olympic Opening Ceremony show will be “Isles of Wonder,” and the worldwide broadcast will commence at 9 p.m. Danny Boyle, artistic director of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, said: “Our Isles of Wonder salutes and celebrates the exuberant creativity of the British genius in an Opening Ceremony that we hope will be as unpredictable and inventive as the British people.”
I’m never exactly quite sure what I will be doing from one day to the next, let alone three weeks in advance, but I think I’ll make an effort to be a part of the 4 billion watching on the 27th. Care to join us?
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the July 4-10, 2012, issue