(Apologies to KT Tunstall)
So why IS is that next week's(!) Olympic Games has me so excited? Why this year more than others? Why this team?
Since the Athens Olympics, I've become "closer" to the sport. I've been attending more competitions since the new quadrennium kicked off, and events such as Worlds 2005 and Commonwealth Games in 2006 helped me to see the new generation come into its own. As digital media has taken off and run with our insatiable appetite for instant news, gymnastics has become more accessible to its fans. Particularly in light of the new scoring code, the chance for analysis has encouraged, nay, accelerated web-based discussion. YouTube and photo-sharing websites have helped the visual and 'personality' side of gymnastics garner outside interest for the sport, and foster more interest among those who already love it.
In short - I've invested in Australian gymnastics this quadrennium. The girls who have made our Olympic team are girls I saw in their senior debuts in 2005 and 2006. Girls who looked to Slater and Skinner as their heroes will soon be etching their names into the books alongside them. This has been a four-year period of learning, of engaging with the sport (particularly in light of the new code) that I loved, as I moved away from the boredom of high school and full-time work. I've had more time to enjoy gymnastics and follow the development of our gymnastics program. I even got to start a blog!
I know about these athletes, I know how this squad functions, I know what they're capable of.
This is an Olympics when we have a real chance, more than ever, to gain our best result throughout the time we've been attending the Games. This is a team whose coaching and support staff have taken an entirely new tack in preparing them for the competition of their lives. This is an experienced team with medals to its name, and now we must wait to see if they can convert these into good performances worthy of prestigious medals and history book entries.
And that's why I'm excited.
...In addition, of course, to the fact that I'll get to see and appreciate Tweddle/Pavlova/Cheng/Zgoba/Chusovitina on the global media stage...