Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Sydney Games: Not Summer, Not Worth It

Sydney Games: Not Summer, Not Worth It

By Sean Gormley Hoya Staff Writer

The Olympics are in trouble, and it’s not because of a scandal, be it bribery, performance-enhancing drugs, professional competitors or commercialization.

They’ve got competition, and not the kind they’re used to. The Olympics are a grand event on a grand scale, thousands of athletes from around the world competing in hundreds of events for the ability to say they are the best in the world at what they do. There is triumph and glory, tears of joy and sadness, amazing feats and bone-crunching defeats, but there is not normally outside competition.

The Summer Olympics normally occur during August and the Winter Olympics normally take place in February, but that has been thrown out of whack by the whole “down-under” thing. Although it is the beginning of autumn up here on the right-side-up half of the globe, spring is just beginning in Australia.

This causes a number of problems, not the least of which is weather. Here in the States, there is a chilly nip in the air (at least here in D.C.) that was around all weekend, not the weather expected for the opening weekend of the Summer Olympics. People here just aren’t in an Olympic-watching spirit.

But the weather here isn’t the only problem. In Sydney, which is generally a warm city, it is still not expected to be very summery for the Olympics, with high temperatures often climbing no higher than the low 70s with lows in the 50s. Michael Johnson is going to be sprinting down the track with icicles hanging from his nose.

There is a greater problem facing Olympic support this year, though – the rest of the sports world. The months whenthe Olympics usually occur, August and February, are pretty bad sports months, so the Olympics don’t normally have to compete against much. A couple of Brewers-Pirates games and NFL training camps in the summer and always-enthralling midseason hockey games in the winter. Not too intimidating.

September is a different story, however. The Sydney Olympics have a whole lot to compete with. Major League Baseball’s stretch run, pro and college football and, of course, Tiger Woods are filling up the television airwaves.

Baseball certainly has plenty of drama right now, especially in the American League. The Yankees and White Sox have each wrapped up their divisions and then some, with the White Sox currently padding their advantage for home-field advantage in the playoffs. The West is a different story, however, as the Seattle Mariners have collapsed down the stretch, allowing the Oakland Athletics back into the race. The team that loses that race is going to have to fight with the Cleveland Indians’ murderers’ row and Pedro, Nomar and the rest of the Red Sox for the wild card. Sydney; where’s Sydney?

The National League wild card race isn’t quite as tight, but the race for home-field advantage gets more interesting by the day. The always-solid Atlanta Braves and equally good but very surprising St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants are all within a couple games of each other as they fight for the best record in the NL. The Mets aren’t far back, as they have more or less wrapped up the wild card, and continue to cling to the heels of the Braves. Gold medal what?

College football has been equally intriguing in its early weeks, as teams have risen from the ashes, fallen to pieces and Notre Dame has finally remembered that, duh, they’re Notre Dame.

Just this weekend, South Carolina continued its miraculous run after an ugly 0-11 1999 campaign, beating Eastern Michigan 41-6. The Gamecocks have scored 93 points in three games this fall, more than they scored in all of 1999. You might not like Lou Holtz, but he’s proving that he is one heck of a coach.

Florida and Tennessee continued their annual slugfest tradition with the Gators winning 27-23 in the closing seconds on a great catch by wideout Jabar Gaffney. Or was it a catch at all? Well, the officials said it was, and the zebras’ vote is the one that counts.

What else happened on the Saturday? Something went on down in Sydney, but more importantly, Notre Dame took down Purdue and continued its impressive resurgence. Michael Vick floated some early Heisman talk with an impressive performance in Virginia Tech’s 49-0 rout of Rutgers, which featured a somersaulting Vick touchdown along with some other dazzling plays by the Hokies’ golden boy. Alabama lost its second game of the season after starting off with a No. 3 ranking, getting blanked by Southern Miss in an ugly performance by the Crimson Tide. UCLA continued to lead the PAC-10 resurgence, defeating the No. 3 team in the nation for the second time in three weeks, as the Bruins took down Michigan, 23-20.

But you already knew all this, because you were watching college football, not flyweight weightlifting.

Things probably got even uglier on Sunday, because no red-blooded American male would get caught dead missing the NFL for the Olympics. Especially for gymnastics. Women across the U.S. might control the remote come primetime, but not on Sunday afternoon.

How about last night? Let’s see, Redskins-Cowboys, with a little Dennis Miller on the side, or eight-man rowing? Well, maybe the Dream Team beating the tar out of Italy will get some attention tonight, but more for comedic potential than anything else.

So, what’s wrong with the Olympics? It’s just that there might be a bit too much competition facing the Olympics and too little competition in the Olympics this time around, but more power to you if you’re glued to the NBC networks, watching the U.S. rack up medals. However, the U.S. overall victory, much like the Dream Team’s, is a forgone conclusion, and there’s nothing in sports worse than that.

Even more troublesome, watching the Olympics means having to deal with, not one, but three mascots: Olly the Kookaburra, Millie the Echidna and Syd the Platypus. Are they trying to drive people as far away from the Olympics as possible?

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