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Olympic Viewpoints

We're watching the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games during prime time, half a day after they occurred, along wihth several million of our closest friends across America.

Did you see the judo fighter from Guam? You'd think he'd cause Guam to sink into the ocean. 399! Is he outta his mind? Biggest athlete in the Games. Yao Ming, doing the host nation proud, is the tallest. He looked like he could just reach up with the flame and light the cauldron.

Not many events cue the goosebumps like the nationalistic pomp of an Olympics opening ceremony. And there's the topper - omigosh, that lighting of the cauldron by the gymnast who ran around the stadium on air! Bob Costas summed it up well with one line: "When it comes to opening ceremonies, retire the trophy."

As the Olympics unfold, I might come back here and recount memories of my all-time favorite Olympian, Jamil el Reedy.

But for now, I want you to do some reading and see where you stand on the Olympics -- still a great conglomeration of the world's best athletes, or an event bogged down in political garbage, especially while hosted in a nation of much notorious history and current events?

I selected columns by three journalists I've known for years and respect, both for their writing ability and for their experienced perspective and thoughtfulness: Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post, Joe Posnanski at The Kansas City Star, and Gil LeBreton at The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

I've known Sally's dad even longer, the inimitable Dan Jenkins, long ago of Sports Illustrated and author of two of the funniest books (among many he wrote) in the realm of sports its ownself -- Semi-Tough, and Baja Oklahoma.

Joe has grown into one of the most consistently good sports columnists in the business, earning national recognition as such, at my hometown paper where I worked for 10 years.

Gil, well, he's family. We worked alongside each other at The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate for a year or so, before he moved to KC, and then Baltimore, and then to Fort Worth and rose from NFL reporter to a crafty columnist. He first covered the Olympics in Montreal '76, and has been to all of them since except for '80.

See which among them you think strikes the right note about the Olympic perspective. The headline on Jenkins' commentary leaves no doubt, "Partners in Grime." 

Both Poznanski and LeBreton still see the intended purity of the Olympic ideal somehow breaking through the smog.

Write us a note with your thoughts about these varied looks at the spectacle that will unfold over the next 17 days in Beijing. info@beofgoodcheer.com