Sports fans and devout, yet fatigued, Goggling monkeys alike need wait patiently no longer -- your time has come: Summer Olympics 2004, The Last Anticipated Lull.
The Games have always brought people together in peace to respect universal moral principles," states the official Olympics website -- with a flickering promise of respite from international turmoil and polarization at home.
In these times of international distraction -- when the nation seems to live and breath to the tunes of John Williams -- while who will take home the gold is still TBD, some predictions are safe.
One, it can already be predicted that terms of thematically epic proportions will flow like Gatorade; words like generation, legacy, century, hero, and patriotism will fall from sportscasters lips faster and easier than they can say "doping."
Two, both Democrats and Republicans will ponder and spin what, if anything 16 days of these words, and a corresponding spike in nationalism, will mean to America's own electoral decathlon.
Three, when the Olympics begin, news coverage will turn towards local Olympians, rolling out hours of Behind the Music-style storytelling.
Four, no one can predict how the nation will react if the booing of American athletes is widespread.
Meanwhile the Games will feature athletes with super human abilities from all over the world. And among those called to the duty of defending this Olympic legacy of centuries and generations of Americans will be the youth of Toledo, Tucson and Madison, to name a few places.
This in mind, The Note has put together a list of battleground athletes who, in the coming weeks, might expect lots of local media -- and maybe even the coveted presidential congratulations call. (How medaling Olympians would react to hearing the words, "John Kerry is on the phone to congratulate you," is something we haven't figured out yet.)
The big four battlegrounds are listed first, followed by the others in alpha order, broken down by hometown. If yours is represented, expect to get a heavy dose of Olympics at the top of the hour.
Lebron James — Men's Basketball. Also plays in Cleveland for the Cavaliers. Following his successful NBA rookie campaign, James is a rookie Olympian.
Rau'Shee Warren — Boxing. At 17 he's the youngest American Boxer
Ron Siler — Boxing. He and Warren are already garnering attention in and around Cincinnati.
Gary Hall Jr. — Swimming. 2000 gold medalist and son of Olympian.
Toccarra Montgomery — Women's Wrestling. A favorite to medal.
Blaine Wilson — Gymnastics. He is from the area, went to Ohio State, and continues to live there. His past successes (two-time Olympian; five-time national champ) have made him the best celebrity Columbus can offer.
Miles Avery — Coach of Men's Gymnastics Team. Very well known in Columbus; also coaches the OSU men's gymnastics team
Morgan and Paul Hamm — Men's Gymnastics. The Hamm's are twins.
Katie Smith — Women's Basketball. Solid shot at a medal with Team USA
Devon Vargas — Boxing. Has already generated a decent amount of coverage in Toledo; little-known outside of Northwest Ohio. Has a decent shot at a medal.
Rhi Jeffrey — Swimming — Delray Beach. Medal hopeful.
John Capel — Track & Field — Born in Brooksville. Good shot at medaling
Erin Gilreath — Track & Field — Born in Gainesville; lives in Willison. Potential to medal
Bernard Williams — Track & Field. Won 2000 gold on U.S. relay team that finished with "distasteful" celebration.
Amare Stoudamire — Basketball. Another young, first-time Olympic basketball player.
Heather Mitts — Soccer. Also Cincinnati native. Mitts is a surprise selection this year, but was a popular star at the University of Florida. The former ABC/ESPN commentator has used her good looks to promote the WUSA soccer league.
Lamar Odom — Men's Basketball. Late addition to the team is in his first Olympics.
Venus and Serena Williams — Tennis. The two top medal threats for American Tennis.
Jennifer Capriati — Tennis. 1992 Olympian medalist
Maritza Correia — Swimming. First black woman to make the Olympic swimming team.
Swin Cash — Women's Basketball. Teammate of fellow Pennsylvanian Dawn Staley
Mohini Bhardwaj — Women's Gymnastics. This gymnast is considerably older than the average, teenage girl.
Allen Iverson — Men's Basketball. Iverson is Team USA's captain this year.
Dawn Staley — Women's Basketball. Solid shot at a medal with Team USA.
Lauryn Williams — Track & Field. Beat Marion Jones and Gail Devers to qualify. Outside shot at a medal. Also a senior to be at the University of Miami.
Joanna Hayes — Track and Field. Born in Williamsport
Rebecca Giddens — Kayak. 2002 World Champion and medal hopeful
Jeff Nygaard — Beach Volleyball. His partner won the 2000 gold medal, and they've had enormous success since joining up.
Tucson Jennie Finch - Softball. One of the best and most popular softball players in the world.
Tairia Mims Flowers - Softball. Along with Finch, also from Tucson
Amanda Beard - Swimming. Likely medalist and popular swimmer.
Richard Jefferson - Basketball. Solid shot at a medal with Team USA.
Daniel Lincoln - Track & Field. Unlikely to medal, but he's a local college star and 12-time NCAA All-American.
Cael Sanderson - Wrestling . There has never been a more celebrated wrestler out of Iowa. Sanderson went undefeated in college and will be watched more than any other Iowa athlete.
Kara Lynn Joyce - Swimming. Upset heavy favorites in Olympic trials, and has a moderate shot at a medal.
Tim Broe - Track & Field. Has a shot at medalling
Andre Dirrell - Boxer. Most likely U.S. hope for a medal in boxing
Maurice Green - Sprinter Actually from the Kansas side, but he's one of the best American sprinters, both states will claim her.
Scott Goldblatt - Swimming. Solid shot at a medal.
Brenda Taylor - Track & Field. Good shot at a medal in the 400 m hurdles.
Briana Scurry - Soccer. Goalie who is very popular in Minnesota and always gets positive press.
Sada Jacobson - Fencing. Ranked 1st in the world and would be the first American female fencer to win any medal.
Nashua Laura Gerraughty - Track & Field - Slight shot of medaling
Shelia Burrell - Track & Field. Has a shot at medaling
Tom Pappas - Track & Field. Leading contender for Decathlon gold in Athens.
Mariel Zagunis - fencing - Already drawing local media coverage.
Philip Dunn -Track & Field. Decent shot of medaling
Marla Runyan - Track & Field. In 2000 became the first legally blind athlete to compete in the Olympics.
Dana and Tara Kirk - swimming sisters.
Gail Devers -Track & Field. Has a good shot at medaling and is very well known overall.
Tiombe Hurd - Track & Field. American record holder in the triple jump.