By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - I really did try to ignore the Olympics.

Too commercial; too hyped; too much of a time difference.

Those were just a couple of things I thought would keep me away.

Then Michael Phelps started doing his thing. Again.

Then Usain Bolt started doing his thing. Again.

And how cool was it to see Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee, give it a go on the track? That guy, whether you agreed or not about him being allowed to compete on carbon-fiber blades, was inspiring.

As for inspirational, the tale of women's boxer Claressa Shields, the 17-year old who came from nothing and who is now the face of the sport, could bring one to tears.

Heck, I evened watched some women's gymnastics (even without prompting from my wife) and enjoyed it. Now, calling it women's gymnastics is a reach considering girls, not women, compete, but it was still fascinating.

And who knew how cool Queen Elizabeth II was? She stole the opening ceremonies. So many good things easily outweighed the bad, happens every time.

Now, was it lame for those badminton players to go in the tank and intentionally lose matches in order to get a better draw in the next round?

It absolutely was. But for better or worse, it brought attention to a sport that gets none in this country. It had people talking about the sport, if only briefly, and that's more than it would have done without the scandal.

The old "any publicity is better than no publicity" fits here. The fact that it's badminton just makes it funnier.

Now, was it lame for NBC to wait to show all of the good stuff, i.e. Phelps, Bolt, in prime time?

It absolutely was.

What would have been the harm showing Phelps race live at 3 p.m. Eastern and then show it again six hours later?

Not much, really. In this age of instant info, if you wanted to know what happened in an event, you could find out what happened 30 seconds after it was over.

Still, NBC persisted and tried to keep folks in the dark until the most eyes possible were watching at night. And you know what? It worked because the television ratings for the Olympics were enormous.

And they will begin again in four years because people love this stuff. They also love the U.S. winning tons of medals, something we do in the Summer Games time after time.

However, the two things I hope we don't see in Rio de Janeiro are Phelps and Bolt.

Phelps has said he's done and will not swim competitively again. But we've heard that song way too many times from star athletes who miss the spotlight and want to give it one more go.

Hopefully, he'll stick to his words and walk away. There's nothing more he needs to prove and trying it one more time, at age 31 by the time 2016 rolls around, would likely only tarnish his legacy.

Ditto with Bolt. That cat walks away from London as the Man. He was already bigger than his sport before the Olympics and now he's enormous.

Let others try and come close to what he's done in the past two Olympics and let him leave on top.

One sidenote: it was funny to see Ryan Lochte and Yohan Blake stumble in London.

Both, definitely, had their moments in London, but both yapped before the Games that they were going to take down Phelps (Lochte) and Bolt (Blake), respectively, and both, to put it mildly, didn't.

Always better, fellas, to let your actions speak first and then you can start jawing.

As for me, I have four more years to tell myself I won't bother with the Rio Games. It won't work, but I'll try.

Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several newspapers in the Philadelphia area for more than 25 years.

Copyright 2012

The Sports Network, a STATS Company. All Rights Reserved.  home | terms of use | privacy policy | comments |