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Wednesday, Feb. 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Column: Potential-laden Summer Olympics quietly approaching

As hard as it might be to believe, summer is nearly upon us, and with it, the 2012 London Olympics.

I forgive you if you had not noticed. The nation, even the world, is being conspicuously quiet about the upcoming games. I have a hard time figuring out why.

By nearly all accounts, London is ready, even with nearly 100 days until the torch is lit. Frantic stories of a city scrambling to finish facilities and stadiums are sadly an all-too-common occurrence in the days leading up to an Olympics. There are even reports that Rio de Janeiro is already in trouble for 2016.

But it sounds like London is ready to go, and so am I. Without the negative speculation about the facilities, we now have time to focus on the sports and story
lines themselves.

The international basketball climate continues to improve and provide stiffer competition for the USA team that continues to show it finally knows the right way to build a team, not just compile a bunch of stars. Barring a monumental upset, the USA will win gold, but it will not be a 1992-style cakewalk.

Michael Phelps, the most marketable face of the U.S. Olympic efforts, is back for what is likely his final Olympics. Will he swim off into the sunset with more gold medals in tow, or will Ryan Lochte finally overtake him and tarnish Phelps’ legacy?

Usain Bolt, arguably the world’s most electrifying athlete and still only 25, will be back. No one doubts he has the capability to shatter his own records. He easily could have bettered his own time in Beijing in 2008 had he not slowed at the end of a race in celebration.

I hope that does not happen again, and I think Bolt knows many people feel that way.
A sub-9.50-second 100-meter dash is not out of the question if he is in top form
and motivated.

There are even some IU angles to watch for. Several current and former Hoosiers should populate the USA swimming contingent, while alumni such as Eric Gordon and Angel Escobedo could represent the country in basketball and wrestling, respectively.

And those are just a few of the budding story lines. My point is that there is much happening and much to look forward to this summer. Even with the games themselves not starting until July 27, Olympic trials are already well underway. The wrestling team will be determined this weekend, while late June and early July will bring the swimming, track and gymnastics trials.

We have the opportunity to concentrate on these trials this year like never before, without the specter of stadium issues looming over the impending games.

We truly could be on the cusp of one of the all-time great Olympiads. All the pieces are in place.

So let’s sit back and just enjoy the games. And maybe talk about them a bit more.

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