Olympic Memories and Today's Hopefuls

Tanya MercadoCorrespondent IJuly 30, 2008

Growing up, the Olympics were always a major event in my family. From the opening ceremonies to the closing ceremonies my family rooted hard for Team USA. My father loved track & field while my mom and I were more into gymnastics, diving, swimming, and even synchronized swimming.

I remember watching Mary Lou Retton as a little girl, always wanting to be like her. No chance of that ever happening. Florence Griffith-Joyner, more popularly known as Flo-Jo, was my favorite athlete. She amazed me with her speed as she raced down the track to Olympic gold. I felt closer to her since I was better at sprinting.

With the 2008 Beijing Olympics approaching, I was looking forward to watching Paul Hamm perform in gymnastics before he pulled out due to injury. He broke his right hand on May 22 and he has rotator cuff issues as well. I am looking forward to watching his twin Morgan and Joseph Hagerty.

As I was watching the trials, I was rather impressed by Hagerty's performance. I have been a big fan of Amanda Beard since her first appearance in the Atlanta games in 1996. I feel she will still be able to dominate. Artistry and athleticism do not seem to go hand-in-hand with me.

When I think about the Olympics, what immediately comes to mind is endurance, strength and flexibility. The incorporation of mainstream sports I do not have a problem with. It is allowing professional athletes, such as those in the NBA and MLB, to play that I have a problem with.

It should be for the amateur athletes like those in college sports or on the world circuits. As I watched the Olympic trials for various events, I have to say Team USA is a force to be reckoned with, from gymnastics to diving. I have every confidence this year's hopefuls will bring back gold to their country. Go Team USA!