Ten things we learned this summer:
1. Michael Phelps is indeed a freak of nature, which was dutifully explained to viewers by NBC via some very cool "Six Million Dollar Man"-style graphics that zoomed in on his freakishly disproportionate arms, legs, and feet. (His oversize ears were not discussed.)
2. Nastia Liukin may be the best U.S. gymnast, but Alicia Sacramone is the hottest.
3. Badminton isn't for kids. It's a high-speed game that requires the sort of agility and fast reflexes anyone reading this probably doesn't have.
4. "I Got Soul but I'm Not a Soldier" is one groovy song that backed up the best Olympic-themed advertisement.
5. There's something elegantly compelling and simple about the footraces. At the Olympics you can't get much more basic than "which of you can run the fastest?"
6. Cheaters can win. Anyone with the vaguest sense of human adolescence could easily see that some of China's gymnasts were no more than 12, way under the age required by the rules. But China put them into competition anyway and the team won gold. Everyone complained, but the Olympics seemed reluctant to "embarrass" the host country with something so rude as an accusation of cheating. Even though the complaints grew to the point that officials finally had to admit that they were looking into it, the Olympics are now long over and whatever sanctions that come down to punish China won't really matter, will they?
7. We don't care at all about millionaire NBA players trying to win a medal in basketball. Whatever.
8. Mary Carillo's cutesy little Beijing human interest stories were cloying and took us away from the games. We tuned in for the athletes, not Mary's husky man voice or her forced interactions with Bob Costas in the NBC studios. This is supposed to be the Olympics, not "The Today Show."
9. High divers go straight to the showers after a dive because the shower water is warm and helps with their muscles.
10. The opening ceremonies were nothing short of amazing. When was the last time something as cheesy as an Olympic opening ceremony got you talking at the water cooler? Yes, there was something vaguely Leni Riefenstahl about the whole thing - the thousands of Chinese performers dancing and marching in perfect "don't mess with us, we have more people than you" unison. And there was also the requisite controversy about the little girl singer who was deemed ugly and replaced by a prettier child who would lip sync the song. But did you see the glowing red drumsticks or the last torchbearer running around the inside of the stadium's upper deck? Brilliant.