Five reasons to look forward to the Olympics

Usain Bolt: 'I'm a cool and exciting guy!'. File photo / AP
Usain Bolt: 'I'm a cool and exciting guy!'. File photo / AP

The 2012 London Olympics are less than 40 sleeps away. APNZ's Daniel Richardson looks at five reasons why you should be excited about the 30th Olympiad.

1. It only comes around every four years

What were you doing in 2008? It was so long ago that you might not even be able to remember. Us sports fans have been hanging to see the greatest athletes attempt to run, swim, cycle and jump higher than many others in a bid to win a piece of gold and have the ability to tell every that they are simply the best in the world.

Also, it's way better than the Commonwealth Games. Man, they were average in 2010.

2. Feel-good stories

Like Eric the Eel in Sydney in 2000 - real name Eric Moussambani Malonga - the swimmer from Equatorial Guinea, there's always a couple of "wildcard" athletes who are invited to the Games from developing countries to have a crack on the big stage.

Think Vanuatu 100m sprinter Elis Lapenmal, who clocked an underwhelming 13.31s to finish eighth in her heat in Beijing in 2008, or Palestinian swimmer Hamse Abdouh who also competed at the Games four years ago.

Sure they might run about as quickly as you did in your year 12 100m final at a high school track and field meeting, but there's something special about seeing these athletes being given the chance to have a go.

3. Usain Bolt

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt might be the coolest human in the world. Ok, maybe not, but he's at least in the top 400.

The 1.96m speedster provided this gem about his Olympic build-up on Twitter yesterday: "After a good work session then it's home to work on my back and abs for the girls lol". Brilliant.

He lit up the Beijing Games in 2008 as he claimed gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay - all in then world record times - and who knows what the entertaining 25-year-old could produce in London.

An autobiography is due to be released on Bolt this year and in 2010 he said of the book: "you can't really give away anything in your book ... should be exciting, it's my life, and I'm a cool and exciting guy". See, he is great.

4. We might win stuff

Valerie Adams, BMX riders, sailing competitors, our exceptionally skilled female hockey team, a gun cycling team and our ever-dominant rowers; New Zealand has a bunch of athletes that could bring home medals to Godzone.

"Super Saturday" was brilliant in Beijing and who knows what we could experience this year.

PricewaterhouseCoopers tipped that New Zealand would only win seven medals at this year's Games but I will go on record and say we will grab more than that.

5. Debate

One of the ongoing discussions surrounding the Games is what sports should be there and shouldn't be included.

Women's boxing will debut at the Games this year, which is a great step forward for the sport and women's sport in general.

Sadly, you will be made to sit through a wildly pointless under-23 football competition, a tennis event that any player would trade in for a Grand Slam title and disgracefully golf will also be added in 2016.

But, if you're looking for something different to watch get among the modern pentathlon. It consists of pistol shooting, fencing, 200m freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a 3km cross-country run. Fair play to anyone who can do all of that.

The event is steeped in history and is far more relevant to the Olympics than another golf tournament.

- APNZ

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