I freely admit that I have been greatly enjoying these Olympic games. Michael Phelps is turning in one amazing performance after another in a sport that doesn't interest me at all (swimming), and I am enthralled by it. Not only has he won the Gold Medal in every even in which he has performed, he has also broken every World Record relating to those events in the process. He has also become the winningest Olympian in history; he currently has won 11 Gold Medals, surpassing the previous tie that a few athletes (including Carl Lewis) held at 9 Golds. He may also win more Golds in a single Olympics than anyone else in history if he can get 8. He already has 5 for this Olympics. Anyway, you get what I'm saying about this being a pretty special Olympics.
However, I have come to realize that there is something missing from these Olympics--someone to hate. France talked a ton of trash coming into the Olympics in regards to swimming, and it made our relay victory over them (and it was amazingly close, and without a doubt THE highlight reel of the games) that much sweeter, but I'll be honest... it's France. I don't take them seriously. They are no threat to us. They are the annoying kid down the street that tries to be cool and look tough but always ends up looking like a fool. They aren't a REAL opponent. China is as close as we can get at the moment. They are beating us in both the overall medal count 35-34, and in the Gold medal count 22-10. The women's team gymnastics final was heartbreaking--to see our girls buckle under the pressure and lose to the supposedly 16-year-old (they look 8) Chinese girls was terribly disappointing. It would seem like China is the country to hate in these Olympics, but, if I am honest, it's just not there for me.
Perhaps what I'm trying to say can better be illustrated with an example of what we are lacking. Think back to those "fairytale" days (they seem that way to my generation for the most part at least) of the Cold War. Did we have a clear enemy? YES. The USSR was the enemy, and they were evil. There was only one thing worse than the US not getting Gold in an event, and that was if the USSR got Gold in that event. I don't feel that way with China. So I guess what I am really saying is that what would make these games more exciting would be to not just have the US to root for, but to also have a nation to really root against. We need someone to hate.
After all of that, the idea behind the Olympics is to promote understanding and world peace through athletic competition, so maybe they can consider this a very successful games.
This video may give you a hint of what I mean.