Don't even think about missing the women's gymnastics competition in Beijing. Bag the basketball, if you must. Torpedo the track and field. By all means, skip the swimming. But cancel all plans the night of the ladies' team final, Wed., Aug. 13, because the U.S. and China will be fighting World War III on four inches of the balance beam.
OK, OK ... guilty as charged of overhype and gross hyperbole. But I'm not kidding.
Can the Americans beat the traditionally powerful Chinese on their home turf? In an arena packed with whistling, flag-waving Chinese fans? Judged by judges who would not be human if they weren't influenced to some degree by the hometown crowd. Yes, yes and yes.
I love this U.S. team. It's led by spunky, thoughtful, power-packed
She's coached by
Then there's the elegant, stylish
Behind her is
None of these American gymnasts wilt in front of a notepad or microphone. All are charming, funny and bright. And they have a track record of performing under pressure. They are, in short, a team the country should fall in love with.
If they win. More than anything, I'm looking forward to seeing them try.