We're less than 2 weeks away from the 2012 Olympics! GCAS writers gathered today for a quick huddle to let us know what they're looking forward to. Come back in the following weeks as we're sure to capture all the moments and storylines in another sure-to-be thrilling summer Olympic games!
1. Who is the one Olympian you are rooting for?
Caleb: Ryan Lochte. It's time for a new face in USA swimming. I know Michael Phelps is still here, but he has made it clear this will be his last Olympics. While Phelps wasn't training for a couple of years after the 2008 games, Lochte closed the gap or even surpassed Phelps. Will be fun to watch the two battle it out in the 200 and 400 IM, which was already thrilling in the US trials.
Steven: Justin Gaitlin, disgraced from previous doping, has made it back to the top of the world. Will be exciting to see him run toe-to-toe with Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt (although Yohan Blake will make things fun).
Norman: Missy Franklin, to prove you can have a normal childhood, be socially integrated, and still win (gold hopefully) medals in the seven events she's qualified for.
Phil V: I want to say Hercules, but I don't think he was a true Olympian, so I guess Hephaestus. He gets no love, and Aphrodite is the worst. He deserves better!
Leu: South African sprinter, Oscar Pistorius. The double amputee will be the first amputee athlete to ever run at the games. I don't know about you, but whenever there is a first of anything, it is a "must-watch." So yeah, I'll be rooting for him during the 4x400 relays this year. I don't think their team will place, but I'm excited to see how he'll soak in the experience and continue breaking barriers for athletes around the world.
Mok: Any and all Americans. USA all day.
Kelley: John Orozco - the fighter!
Chow: Nastia Liukin. Just kidding... kind of. I want to see me some Kevin Love domination.
Joshua: Allyson Felix. She is one of the most talented sprinters of all time and has had to settle for silver twice in her marquee event. It's time for her to win gold in the 200m at the Olympics.
Phil L: Liu Xiang. After his devastating forfeit in Beijing, Liu, the first Chinese gold medalist in track and field, looks to reclaim the gold at age 28.
JLau: Holley Mangold - Nick Mangold's younger sister and former high school offensive lineman who came out of nowhere in the last year to be a medal contender in women's weightlifting.
2. Which event are you most excited about?
Caleb: Men's 200 IM for the reasons above. Also I will enjoy watching basketball between USA and Spain (hopefully both make it to the gold medal game).
Steven: BMX, strangely enough. If this event turns out to be successful, I would like to see more events like this, similar to how the Winter Olympics has embraced snowboarding and slopestyle events
Norman: Men's 4x100 freestyle relay -- will be an awesome rematch between the US (narrowly beat out France with Jason Lezak's amazing final leg), Australia, and possibly France again. Australia beat out a Phelps-anchored team at the 2011 World Championships and have been bragging since.
Phil V: Either ping pong or diving. It would really make my day if someone did a cannonball or a can opener.
Leu: Swimming 200 IM. I'm excited to see this Phelps vs Lochte batte royale this summer. We all know Phelps. We all know the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I want to know this Ryan Lochte guy. I didn't get to watch the prelims, so these games will be my first glimpse of the two. Let mayhem ensue!
Mok: Gymnastics, men and women. It's a favorite Olympic tradition of mine to get so excited watching gymnastics that I try to do flares in the living room or some front flips on the lawn. Still wildly unsuccessful, but I got too much heart to quit.
Kelley: GYMNASTICS! ...swimming and diving too.
Chow: USA Basketball and Men's swimming.
Joshua: Men's 400 IM. The Phelps/Lochte rivalry is the biggest thing in Olympic sports right now, and that event has everything, with each one having different strengths in the race.
Alby: Gymnastics, to me, is the cornerstone of the Summer Olympics. I love rooting for little-known athletes who spend their entire lives for just one moment. I love rooting against China and their illegal practices. I love rooting against Russia and their inhumane training techniques. #USA
Phil L: I'm most excited to see if the three Thunder players are going to 'accidentally' injure the King as revenge for his complete domination in the NBA Finals.
JLau: Any of the obscure sports, especially Modern Pentathlon.
3. If you were in the Olympics, which event would you want to compete in?
Caleb: Soccer, also seems easier to qualify for since it's a 23-and-under tournament.
Steven: I would love to participate in Field Hockey. It's as close to Lacrosse as I'm going to get.
Norman: Shooting. Probably the one sport I'd have any chance at winning a medal.
Phil V: Fencing, even though I was terrible in high school. I just want to scream really loud and pretend like I got a point.
Leu: Track and field (hurdles and relays). Brings me back to my middle school days (grades 6-8th for those who didn't have a "middle school")! I miss having all the prerace jitters leading up to the race. The thought of floating on air and the adrenaline flowing through your body is just so unreal. I don't miss those itty bitty shorts though...
Mok: Basketball. Not only is it my favorite sport to play, but I think the team USA jerseys are awesome. Here's a random question: which would you personally value higher, an Olympic gold medal or an NBA championship?
Kelley: Gymnastics (sense a theme?)!
Chow: USA Basketball, cause then I could hang with NBA studs.
Joshua: Decathlon. It would be awesome to compete to be one of the best all-around athletes in the world.
Alby: They are adding golf in 2016. So, probably golf. There's nothing more exciting than watching the Ryder Cup and seeing American golfers unite together and dominate a game that originated from Europe. I would love to be a part of that from an individual Olympics standpoint. #USA
Phil L: That running event where you have to jump hurdles and run through water; five years in China is more than enough training.
JLau: Speedwalking - the walking motion seems like it matches closely with my high school gym credit-earning experience -- marching band!
4. Add a new event to the Olympics. What would it be?
Caleb: I would personally love to see Lacrosse return to the Olympics (last played in 1908). With the growth in popularity in the high school and college game, it would be fun to see it done on the world stage.
Steven: Polo, Lacrosse, or American Football ... With the latter two just being more sports for Americans to dominate in.
Norman: Bring back golf! Who wouldn't salivate at the thought of Tiger vs the world? If only Scotland were closer to London, this would make some great sports stories.
Leu: I don't know... pogo jumping?
Mok: Golf would be very fun to watch. It'd be like the Presidents Cup but with more bling. (And it'll be an Olympic event at Rio '16!)
Kelley: Thumb war? :) Some people are wicked talented at it.
Chow: I have absolutely no idea... maybe football? But USA would destroy everyone.
Joshua: Dodgeball. 'Nuff said.
Alby: Poker would be awesome. Playing cards for your country? Sounds incredible. Have it last for the entire duration of the games, the winner is the one with the most money at the end. Phil Ivey, Scotty Nguyen, let's do this! #USA
Phil L: Dodgeball. I have no idea how this is not an olympic sport yet. They have speed walking, equestrian, and TRAMPOLINE, but not dodgeball? Or competitive eating.
5. Share with us your favorite Olympics memory of all-time!
Caleb: Watching Michael Phelps dominate in 2008, and of course the opening ceremony in China (might be the only time I'll give China eprops).
Steven: Favorite moment of Olympics was 1996 watching Hakeem join the US national team and playing in Atlanta. Or I could say in 2000 when watching Andreaa Raducan perform and later stating she's gonna be a hot sports reporter one day. Lo and behold, she is with Romanian TV.
Norman: (Repeat) 2008 men's 4x100 free relay. Lezak just out-touched the French team in probably one of the greatest comebacks in swimming from more than a length behind. If you want something different, I'd say watching Kerri Strug in 1996 stick a vault landing with a hurt leg to shock the Russians.
Phil V: The opening ceremonies for the Beijing Games. Never felt so proud to associate myself with Zhong Guo. <tear>
Leu: A few pop to mind. The Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid always gives me the chills. Kerri Strug's one-footed vault landing to win the Gold for the US in the '96 Olympics. Shoutout to Dominique Moceanu, who I had the biggest crush on. Finally, Phelps and his eight freaking gold medals in '08 (more shoutout love to Jason Lezak and his final leg of the 4x100M Medley).
Mok: Kerri Strug. Period.
Kelley: Amy Chow winning the silver medal in the uneven bars. First Chinese American to win an individual medal in gymnastics. *tears*
Chow: Dream Team and USA relay swimming. Here's one of my favorite gifs. Also interesting fact: I have a sister named Amy Chow.
Joshua: This is a real tough one. I think for the Summer Olympics it would be Liu Xiang winning the 2004 110m hurdles, proving that it is possible for someone of Chinese blood to be really fast. For the Winter Olympics, it would have to be the powerful but bittersweet exhibition performance of Michelle Kwan after she didn't win gold for the second time. Seriously the best skating exhibition performance ever.
Alby: 1996. The entire Olympics. It being held on American soil. The bomb incident. Muhammad Ali carrying the torch. Kerri Strug. Michael Johnson (from Dallas). Dan O'brien. Andre Agassi. Wow, makes me so proud just reminiscing about it. God, I love this country. #USA
Phil L: Chinese-Taipei winning the silver medal in baseball in the 1992 Olympics, their only medal that year.
JLau: Attending the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta with my family... highlight was watching Carl Lewis win his last gold (long jump). Also, I think we met Mattress Mac who was around promoting the Texas 2008 Olympics bid that never happened.
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