As the summer marches on, sports enthusiasts find a bit of a lull in different sports to follow. Currently, NASCAR and the MLB are about the only domestic professional sports making the headlines these days.
But every four years, fans are graced with some of the top echelon of sportsmanship and athleticism.
The summer Olympics set the stage for the fastest of the fastest and the strongest of the strongest the world has to offer.
Olympians will rise. Stars will fall.
There is no greater stage for world-class athletes.
Already, several countries' Olympic trials have yielded major upsets with fan favorite athletes.
Michael Phelps was defeated in the semifinals of the 200 Individual Medley at the swimming trials.
Phelps did emerge with a victory over Lochte in the 200 Freestyle at the trials as the pair both qualified for a trip to London later this summer.
The Olympians will no doubt want to bring home medals for the Red, White, and Blue, but this inter-squad rivalry will only yield faster times.
Considering that Phelps has announced his retirement from international competition following this year's Olympic games, fans of Team USA swimming will surely be treated to thrilling races in the Olympic races.
But the swimming pair weren't the only ones making headlines with an inter-squad rivalry.
Usain Bolt, the world record holder in the 100 meter run, was upstaged by fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake in the semifinals of the Jamaican trials.
Both Bolt and Phelps are the best of the best. Their records in the 2008 Beijing games prove just how good they are in their respective sports.
This is an exciting time for sports fans.
However, the Olympic games represent something more than just putting our world-class athletes against the world-class athletes of another country.
The Olympic Games give us something to be proud of.
There is no greater honor than wearing your country's colors on the world's stage in the greatest games mankind has ever known.
Sure, when countries fight against one another, one can't help but think of wars. But there's something special about the Olympic Games.
Athletes who participate know there is greater honor in defeating someone in a sport than meeting that same someone on a battlefield.
These athletes know this and this is why they take up their colors.
Even with lesser-known sports, I encourage everyone to take some time by watching the games and cheering for the Red, White, and Blue.
This is a special time and these athletes are without a doubt fighting for something more important than a super bowl ring, or an NBA championship, or a World Series title.
There is no greater honor in the world of sports.
As the summer marches on, take the time to flip on the TV and watch the trials and later on, support our men and women as they compete in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Chris Siers is the sports editor of the Times-Gazette. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.