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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank
In the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, our nation and the host nation are expected to fight it out as medal count winner to the very end. As of Thursday 1:45 PM ET, we were ahead of China in total medals 95 to 83, with Russia a distant third at 51. In terms of economic power, the International Monetary Fund ranks America first in Gross Domestic Product with China second. The gap is 13.8 to 6.9. In terms of military might, the 2005 U.S. military budget was almost as much as the rest of the world’s defense spending combined and is over eight times larger than the official military budget of China.

The world is watching Michael Phelps accomplish feats that make him to swimming what the American economy is to GDP or what the USA is to global defense spending. Dominance of this sort (in all three competitions) comes along once in a lifetime…and to witness it is truly special. Watching the man who looks like a cross between Super Bowl hero Eli Manning and the guy who plays Jim on “The Office” (Thank You Stephen Colbert for that joke) break Mark Spitz’s record from Munich in’72 will make Beijing one of the most talked about Olympics of all time. But as Phelps’ personal empire builds, the American empire declines. As our economy tanks from 8 years of the supposed “CEO Administration,” the Chinese economy soars!

Three years ago, I recall my mentor in business school telling us in class about China becoming the next global superpower and how the Olympics being in Beijing was a chance for them to truly rise up and show the world what they are made of. Maybe we’ll know a little more about the era of American hegemony nearing its end by the time these games are done?

For more Chicago sports information and discussion click here.

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Raminder, NBC5 Street Team

The Olympics are in full swing and apparently the Phelps-mania is catching on and NBC couldn’t be happier for their advertisers! And we are too!

Former U.S.S.R. member Russia realized they didn’t have much sports might so why not show their military might during the Opening Night ceremonies by engaging Georgia in a wrestling match.  

The U.S. maintains a slim lead in the total medal count (79) but China (76) has to wonder if the medals should be weighted the same, given that they (China – 43 Golds) have 17 more Gold medals than the U.S. (26 Golds).

Russia (10 Golds) is sitting at a total of 42 medals and I think Putin (and his judoesque prowess) saw this poor showing coming and wanted to bring Georgia into its empire and count their 3 medals too. But it doesn’t work that way Mr. Putin or at least try invading the UK (16 Golds and total of 33 medals) and Germany (11 Golds and total of 28 medals) as they could put you in the lead.

These Olympics might be remembered as the ones that brought Russia into the forefront of Europe again when it was instead supposed to be China’s moment to make us fear them. ;-) Oh and the other billion strong nation of India celebrated with their first-ever solo Gold medal in 10m Air Rifle shooting…Jai Hind my peeps!

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Raminder, NBC5 Street Team

Remember the good ole Cold War and all its detente? I miss it. It sure gave meaning to everything in our lives, from watching the tense weightlifting competition pitting U.S.S.R and U.S.A.,  to some other so-called sport (handball…go easy on the bashing if you play handball) that’s only remembered as a sport every four years, or how the judges from both nations rated each other in gymnastics.

But maybe, just maybe, these could be the games that bring back the passion sans the sappy storylines (a la VH1 Behind the Music). China and its exports (some lead-filled) to us have propelled them to a powerhouse status worthy of being disliked by mainstream America. Russia, on Putin’s watch, is gathering its resources and might just become something to be reckoned with, but not till 2020 or so.

India, though well populated, cannot muster up the same level of chutzpah for sports as they have for education. Germany is still reeling from their EuroCup loss to Spain to care about the Games. Cuba, minus Fidel, is adversarial in boxing and baseball but too small to really challenge…

Nonetheless, here’s a merry toast to seeing a rival rise onto the world stage tomorrow night and Happy Games To You All!!!

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Blagica Bottigliero, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Everyone listen up and listen up good! One of our very own public schools, Jones College Prep, has a PHENOMENAL opportunity to take its BAND to CHINA and perform at the Olympics. What’s the issue? They need an additional $36,000 to get there.
Kudos to fellow Street Teamer and NBC5 Diva, LeAnn Trotter, for doing a story on NBC5 to help the cause. Good news is, money started to roll in, but the bad news?

Jones College Prep needs $36,000 MORE in the hands of the United Airlines sponsorship team by the end of THIS week to get those plane tickets.

Why does this topic get to me? Here are a few reasons:

  • I live around the corner from Jones. I’m a neighbor, I give a darn and I love the hustle and bustle of being around students. I was also a band nerd.
  • Did you know that Jones College Prep earned the TOP prize at an orchestra/band competition in Canada in 2006?
  • Did you know that the Mayor has a close tie with the Chinese consulate in town AND that Chicago has one of THE best Chinese as a second language programs?
  • Did you know that Jones College Prep earned a BLUE RIBBON award and is one of THE best 100 schools in the COUNTRY – and its public?
  • Did you know that this may be the ONLY band that is sent from Illinois to China to perform at the Olympics?
  • Whitney Young is sending a choir

Mr. Mayor, since Chicago is trying to obtain the 2016 bid and since we have such a strong and warm relationship with China, can’t someone you know help out?

Can’t Orbitz, Motorola, Kraft, McDonald’s, Sears, CB Richard Ellis, Jones Lang LaSalle, Crate & Barrel, Lettuce Entertain You, Levy’s Restaurants, Billy Dec or some OTHER successful Chicagoland based company/entity help out and sponsor our phenomenal Chicago representatives and send them to China to perform?

Hey Sam Zell, think YOU can help out?

Here is Jones College Prep’s number: : (773) 534-8600. Ask for Mr. Menzies

(For more ideas, stories and my POV on life in Chicago, take a look-see here)

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