Maybe it was Michael Phelps. Maybe it was the number of tremendous athletes. Or, maybe it was because I had the time to watch during the day. Regardless, I got hooked on the Summer Olympics this year in Beijing. I knew I would watch the Olympics at some point during the past two weeks…I just didn’t know I would watch as much as I did. After watching the 4×100 freestyle relay early on in the Olympics, I was hooked. Yes, Phelps obviously had a big impact. It was hard not to pay attention. But, I found myself watching volleyball, beach volleyball, baseball, diving, gymnastics, track and field, water polo, and swimming. I guess when it gets right down to it, I got into the athletes. NBC can televise every sappy story in the world, but I’m sure every athlete in Beijing can tell a story of hardship and hard work. These are the top athletes in the world competing on the biggest stage of the world. That is the story of the Olympics and it doesn’t need to be dressed up with melodrama. The great thing about sports is watching the best compete against the best. That is why people watch Tiger Woods. That is why people will tune into the Red Sox versus the Yankees. And, that is why the Patriots losing in the Super Bowl was such a big deal. Why it took me so long to realize this with Olympics, I will never know. Thanks to the athletes this year for energizing my love for the Olympics. Now, I just have to hope Chicago gets their act together for 2016.