The Olympics can make you do weird things. It's a two week mix of normal and some wacky sports I usually will not follow for four years and yet, it had me transfixed.
The London games made me ask questions like does anyone remotely understand how gymnastics is scored? Who won the gold in water polo? And why is race-walking a sport?
I caught myself watching diving over NFL football, albeit preseason, but DIVING OVER FOOTBALL. Madness. I knew the US would ultimately dominate most of the major events, yet it didn't stop me from watching.
Take the US men's basketball final against Spain. A tight game the US was supposed to win, yet I was genuinely concerned in the fourth quarter. Then Durant and LeBron took over. KD hits a patented 3, James threw down a monstrous dunk and nailed another clutch 3 to effectively ice the game. I raised my fist in celebration. Yes! Go USA, Go LeBron, Go Kobe! This would not happen in any other universe except the Olympics.
Take Usain Bolt. Is this guy human or a cyborg? At this point, I would pay to watch Bolt race a horse. Bolt along with the rest of the male Jamaican sprinters and US female sprinters were amazing to watch. In fact, crazy stat of the day, the US women's track and field team ALONE would have placed top-5 in the overall medal count. Again, not really a surprise to anyone, but I couldn't turn away.
Take Michael Phelps. In 40 years, you can tell your children, grandchildren, maybe your dog, you watched the most decorated Olympian of all-time compete. NBC showed a montage of his 22 total medals, yes 22, and what shocked me was he competed in the Sydney games in 2000! Phelps has been competing at this level since he was 15 and may come back for more in 2016.
Women's gymnastics. I doubt there's another Olympic event with as much tension and pressure. You can feel it with every tumble pass, high beam, bar move, etc. Yes, I just pretended to know gymnastics. The "fierce or fab five" US women's gymnastics team won overall gold for the first time since '96. Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman took home individual golds. The average age of the squad is 16. When I was that age, the most pressure I had was passing my driving test. I barely did it with a 72.
And how could I forget about futbol. Mexico wins gold for the first time over a loaded Brazil squad, and strikes more fear into me they will dominate the US men for years to come. The US women avenge their World Cup loss with a gold medal win over Japan days after an improbable, come from behind, last minute victory over Canada in the semis. Both gold medal matches were played in front of 80,000-plus at hallowed Wembley. Safe to say soccer is doing OK there.
There were also several zany instances only the Olympics can offer. A Chinese team tried throw a badminton match to GAIN an advantage, Russia accused boxing judges of being unfair and US boxing legend Teddy Atlas was kicked out of an arena for being critical of the judges. Boxing being rigged? No way!
A horse went crazy during an equestrian competition. Handball had a buzzer-beater. McKayla Maroney's "not impressed meme" was quite impressive. Coach K's hair moved for the first time since 1986. Tony Parker did Tony Parker things and helped rack up a $20K bar tab at a London club. For some reason, the Spice Girls reunited, Russell Brand performed during the closing ceremonies and Queen Elizabeth jumped out of a plane.
I haven't care this much about the Olympics since '96, but I was hooked. Watching double-amputee Oscar Pistorius compete in track was great as well.
Now I ask when's the next international race-walking competition because I'm watching. I tell you, the Olympics can make you do some strange things.