I am new to Bleacher Report, so I am not familiar with Open Mic, but what I am going to do is answer every topic given to me in the newsletter.
One thing before I start, I am a Canadian so this is an unbiased approach to this discussion
Question #1- Is this battle of the nations for real? Are the Olympics becoming relevant again as a proxy for geopolitical conflicts?
Well I have never seen a relevant Olympics as I was born in 1993 and I am pretty sure Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens were not that relevant unless you are investigating BALCO. Let's say that the last Olympic games that was relevant was the Seoul games of 1988.
Now that was 20 years ago, what makes this Olympics different from Sydney, Atlanta, Athens, and Barcelona. Well there is a competition between the U.S. and a communist country. So I have to admit the battle of the nations is a part of making the Olympics relevant again, but it is not the main one.
The main reason is Phelps quest for eight Olympic golds. It is grabbing everyone's attention, not just in the U.S., but around the world. It is certainly more captivating than two countries that I am not even a citizen of compete with each other.
I enjoyed the basketball game between the U.S. and China, but i enjoyed yesterdays game between Spain and China even more, because it was close game instead of a blowout.
Of course the U.S. is going to win the overall medal count, they have been playing these Olympic sports for years, China started developing most of the teams for these sports shortly after they were given the host job for 2008, so honestly what country is more impressive?
Also this is not political, as long as the U.S. keeps depending on China and your president continues to talk to them you are not battling with them, this is basically a storyline that NBC is using for ratings. George Bush was the only major leader at the Opening Ceremonies and he has been visible throughout the games, so focus on Michael Phelps and stop being lulled into a WWE storyline.
Question #2- Are you finding yourself caring mostly about the individual events, or is your primary concern that the U.S. defeat China in the overall medal count?
Well I am Canadian so I do not really care which country wins the medal count as long as Canada actually wins a medal already.
But honestly, I would rather see Phelps win his eight golds, or Torres win a medal than see either of these countries win the medal standings, and you should as well.
Question #3- Do you think there will be a shift in public morale in China or the United States based on the results of the Games?
There likely will be a one day swing in pride if the United States wins the medal count, if China wins they will be on cloud nine for the rest of the decade and likely until 2012. They would have beat the symbol for democracy and proven that communism is the best form of government, and would be told so by their own government every day.
On the other hand if the United States wins, it will be like Mariah Carey picking up a plaque for a number one single, been there done that, when is the next one. The United States expects to win every year and if they don't they will find an excuse for losing.
Some popular ones you may hear around the water cooler are: They have nearly a quarter of the world's population there of course they are better, or, They were the hosts, if this was in(select U.S. city) we would have cleaned them.
Question #4- What's the international perspective? Is this a bunch of media-marketing hype, or is the world paying attention to the competition between the two super powers?
Well since I am a Canadian I can give you a bit of an international perspective, we over here in Canada do not care who wins, we are too busy cheering our boys and girls win or lose no matter how they finish, because they are representing the Maple Leaf and goddammit we are proud of them. It doesn't matter how many medals we win, or if we beat some foreign country, we just want to see our countrymen give it their all.
So if the most of the world is like Canada, then no the world is not focusing on this story. They are too busy focusing on Phelps and his quest for eight golds.
Question # 4- What are the key events for both countries coming home down the stretch? Which athletes and events are going to take center stage as the race to win the medal count comes down to the wire?
Well I have to say that they key will likely be gymnastics and track and field for both countries, the country that wins the most medals in those event will likely take the medal count. Those will be the events that take center stage and the athletes from those countries know that they may be the difference between their country winning the medal count or losing.
Well that's all folks, enjoy the rest of the 29th Summer Olympiad