The Battlegrounds and the Olympics

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.

Ohio:

Akron:

Lebron James — Men's Basketball. Also plays in Cleveland for the Cavaliers. Following his successful NBA rookie campaign, James is a rookie Olympian.

Cincinnati:

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.

Cleveland

Toccarra Montgomery — Women's Wrestling. A favorite to medal.

Columbus

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.

Lancaster/Logan

Katie Smith — Women's Basketball. Solid shot at a medal with Team USA

Toledo

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.

Florida:

Delray Beach

Rhi Jeffrey — Swimming — Delray Beach. Medal hopeful.

Gainseville

John Capel — Track & Field — Born in Brooksville. Good shot at medaling

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