LET THE GAMES BEGIN

Sneak Peek

The Olympic Opening Ceremony at London is expected to be one of the most memorable events of our times. Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, is the creative director of this anticipated ceremony. Though it will be difficult to upstage Beijing’s electrifying opening four years ago, one can’t put it past the insanely talented Boyle- who is rumored to have made this into a quirky, larger-than-life, all-conquering, spectacular British extravaganza with everyone from the Beatles to Lord Voldemort to be portrayed in the so-far-top-secret act. 

Whatever the case, Boyle is certain to add in a bit of India, even hiring his favorite musician AR Rahman to take care of the Punjabi beats in a massive Medley score.  

The Games have already begun. 
The football competition is on its way first, and already, we’ve had seismic shocks in this form-resistant event. Giant-killers Japan have beaten World and European Champions Spain 1-0, and Great Britain only managed to draw their opener against Senegal 1-1. Brazil barely managed to scrape past Egypt 3-2. Agreed, that many of these teams play with their B squads or under-23 teams (like Spain), but every one of these players- either national hopefuls or veterans without a team- are out to prove a point, and to experience possibly the greatest moment of their lives. The ‘real’ squads are busy training for the new season, but deep inside, one is sure that they hope to have more glory- a Gold medal around their neck in the near future. 

There will be FOUR MAIN events that will be looked forward to, not only for their viewer-friendly ways, but for their world-famous legendary rivalries. The Olympics version of Sampras-Agassi and Federer-Nadal:

 
Bolt from the Blue?
 
Bolt v/s Blake (100m and 200m)
There’s nothing to be said that hasn’t been said already about the two fastest men in the world. But that’s the thing- a couple of years ago, there was only one fastest man on Earth, and there was no hope of another. The showman, Bolt, was expected to sweep through London too, and his only competition was expected to be boredom and himself. He swept to new World records in 100m and 200m in Berlin, when his closest challenger was the almost-great Powell. And then, came the Beast. Johan Blake, his training partner and friend- a short and stocky 21 year old who, right now, is at the peak Bolt was at four years ago. 
Blake beat Bolt in the 100m and 200m Jamaican Olympic trials, but not many take that seriously. Bolt is warming up, they say. Only Bolt knows the truth, though, and whether he is genuinely fast enough to beat his rival. The fact is- Blake is the 100m World Champion, thanks to a Bolt false start last year. And Bolt is the 200m World Champion. Asafa Powell is somewhere in these competitions too, but for once, he isn’t in the news. There is also the matter of ex-medalist and banned athlete Justin Gatlin competing in 100m again, and he is in red hot form. But he is yet to compete directly against the Jamaican duo. 
Blake is 21, the age Bolt was in Beijing, and is the greatest starter off the blocks. Bolt will aim to be the first runner in history to defend his 100m Gold medal. 
On August 5th, though, in a matter of less than 10 seconds, this will be history. 

 
The Showdown of London 2012
 
Phelps v/s Lochte (400 IM and 200 IM)
Forever swimming in the slipstream of Phelps till 2009, Lochte changed his diet and training regimen. Something as simple as that, has enabled him to do something that was previously considered impossible. He has gotten under the skin of teammate and rival Phelps, and has consistently bettered him over the last two years. Phelps’ form did dip quite a bit, and he lacked the drive and motivation after Beijing, but that’s expected with every great Athlete- but even Bolt did not fall to the depths Phelps did. The 14-time Gold medallist will compete in his 3rd Olympic Games- and probably his last. There is nothing more left to achieve for him, sure, but no Champion likes to be outgunned over a period of time. Fading away isn’t on his mind yet, though he can’t see himself swimming after he turns 30. Now that he’s partially gotten his mojo back, it will be interesting to see him compete against the current best Lochte in the 2 events- 400m Individual Medley and 200m Individual Medley. 
A month ago, Lochte won the 400 IM at the American trials, and Phelps took the 200m IM and 200m Freestyle. Phelps has dropped the 200m Freestyle from his schedule at London. But Lochte claims that it was only warmup for him at the trials, and the real SHOW is yet to come. 
Come Saturday- Phelps, the greatest swimmer in history, is going to face his biggest test yet- trying to win when he isn’t at his peak anymore. 
Whatever the case, the American 4X100 relay team will be impossible to beat with Lochte and Phelps swimming the final 200 meters.

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