Olympic qualifiers gave foretaste of media mania

It was easy to locate the trials given the obvious visual cue of Phelps' photo covering the building.

Phelps checked his time on the scoreboard after his heat in the 200 meter butterfly.
Phelps checked his time on the scoreboard after his heat in the 200 meter butterfly.

I’m not in Rio at the 2016 Summer Olympics, watching Michael Phelps and other U.S. Olympians compete, but I feel a bit as if I’m there since I was in Omaha, Neb., when Phelps and others made the U.S. Olympic Swim Team.

The well-known and the soon-to-be well-known — and unfortunately, the soon to be forgotten — had to pass through Omaha on their way to Rio.

It was always easy to locate Phelps in CenturyLink Center Omaha. I just had look in the direction where all the cameras—and cellphones–were pointed, and no doubt Phelps was at the end of the sea of devices pointed at him.

The media is fickle, though. While Phelps did his job in Omaha, there were some athletes who did not perform as well as anticipated, and a camera person following the expected winner would quickly re-direct the camera to the unexpected leader in a different lane — the spotlight ever changing.

All the best to Team U.S.A. during the 2016 Rio Olympics. No doubt it was my cheering that helped a few of those Olympians win their races by hundredths of seconds and punch their ticket to Rio via Omaha—and maybe years of grueling and focused training, preparation, and sacrifice. U-S-A!

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