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The first of what should be many Olympic Notes entries over the next couple weeks.

I looked back at the archives of my original blog today to skim through my thoughts on the 2004 games. I may have to pick out a few gems to share with you during this year’s games.

I understand I have a problem of having a problem with people who have problems pronouncing foreign words, especially in the two languages I’ve studied. Even setting that aside, I was stunned at how many names of countries Bob Costas mispronounced Friday during the opening ceremonies. Apparently he suffers from that East Coast problem of refusing to pronounce most Spanish words the proper way.

My biggest problem with NBC’s coverage, though, is their apparent poor job of getting the Chinese to put Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines in position to see the swimming pool very well. They’ve miscalled about every close race so far. I remember them being pretty good in the past, so I’m assuming the problems are because of their position.

I think this take is kind of dumb, though. Gaines might have bought a little too much into the French, but it’s not like there was no basis for picking them. Pretty much everyone figured this would be Phelps’ biggest relay challenge of the games because of the French. So sure, he made the wrong pre-race call, but it’s not like it’s that big of a deal. It might have even made the drama that much better.

Am I the only one who, each time I hear an athlete or team described as “out of nowhere” or their “rapid rise” to the top, assumes drugs are involved?

Along those lines, do you think there are whispers in France and Australia about Jason Lezak’s ability to swim like that at the age of 32? I’m pretty sure that would be a bigger story here if it was a 32-year-old Frenchie who chased down and out-touched Michael Phelps.

Which is a perfect segue to Dara Torres. I want to believe, I really do. And I probably buy into her story about 90%. But too much has happened to allow me to fully buy into her story, or any other exceptional story for that matter. I think it’s easier to assume that everyone is on something, even someone like her who has volunteered to be tested constantly through her training. Her story is pretty kick ass, clean or not, though. Is there anything on her body that isn’t pure muscle?

Each time I see Katie Hoff, I want to tell her to loosen up the goggles a bit. She always has those big, red circles on her forehead before races.

I wouldn’t be upset if Stephanie Rice won a lot more races, even if she is an Aussie.

I’m enjoying all the indie rock that the ad agencies are offering up during commercial breaks. So far, I’ve noted Death Cab For Cutie, The Decembrists, Brandi Carlile, Sia, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Sea Wolf, and Silversun Pickups.

I’m not enjoying political ads during the games, even from candidates I support. You know I’m an absolutist when it comes to the First Amendment. Unless you’re saying that someone should be killed or harmed, I think you have the right to say just about anything as long as you’re willing to face the consequences of your speech. But I would move that we suspend that right, at least for politicians, during the Olympics. Send them off to some island, institute a full media black out, and let us all be on the same team for two weeks.

W. seemed to be enjoying himself in China, though. A friend suggested he has senioritis. I think that’s a valid assessment.

Al Trautwig really annoys me.

You know why I like Michael Phelps so much? If you took away his athletic ability, he’d be a big dork. My brother-in-law and I decided the other night that he’d probably have been in the chess club in high school if he hadn’t been a swimmer. Now that most swimmers look like strong safeties, and if you took away their athletic abilities they’d still be Mr. Popular, it’s kind of refreshing that a geek is amongst them.

I could care less about tennis at the Olympics. It’s a made-up competition to get a bunch of superstars in in the games. Even if Rafa and Federer end up playing for Gold, it’s going to be a footnote to their French Open and Wimbledon battles, and hopefully their U.S. Open match.

Did NBC really pull out their old NBA music for Team USA’s game Sunday? I guess David Stern secured some kind of waiver for the traditional Olympic theme. If you’re going to do that, why didn’t they bring back Marv Albert, too?

I usually don’t dig on gymnastics, but tonight’s men’s competition has been great, with the plucky U.S. team hanging in there. Of course, it is now midnight eastern and they still have two rotations to go. I think I’m off to bed and will check results in the morning. I move the Olympics always be in the Western Hemisphere.

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