BLADE RUNNER: A lot of people saw Oscar Pistorius as little more than a sideshow attraction in London, a double amputee good enough to run in the semifinals of the 400 and the finals of the 4x400 relay. He finished last in both, but won over fans — and the world media — with his perseverance and engaging personality. Pistorius has big plans for Rio, where the best thing is he'll be seen like his fellow runners see him — as a normal guy who just happens to have spring blades strapped to his upper legs.
BEACH PEOPLE: No one had more fun in London than those lucky enough to score tickets to the party that was beach volleyball. But how about beach volleyball on an actual beach? Rio has plenty of them, and doesn't need an excuse to throw a few parties of its own. Three-time gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings plans to be back, but partner Misty May-Treanor is hanging up her bikini.
TIGER WOODS: Yes, golf will be in the Olympics, thanks to one of the most misguided decisions in the history of the games. There's nothing special about golf's best players getting together for a big tournament, because they do it probably 10 times a year and already compete for their country in the Ryder and President cups. Expect Woods to drape himself in an American flag to take on the best from Northern Ireland and England while Vijay Singh tries to win gold for Fiji in what could be the dullest competition of the games. That's assuming they ever get the Olympic golf course — which has been plagued by delays — built in Rio.
So there it is, in all its Olympic glory. All of a sudden, four years from now doesn't seem so far away.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
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