On the one night off I had during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the editor found one extra ticket for track and field. Sitting in the stands rather than the press box, beer flowed and camaraderie reigned. People of various nationalities attempted to teach their national anthems in their native tongues. The air was festive, frivolous.
Ever hear 90,000 people grow silent? That's what I'm most looking forward to in London, that moment when the hush falls and all eyes are trained to a 6-foot-5 blur, a freak of nature, albeit a graceful and powerful one.
Bolt is attempting to become the first person to win the 100- and 200-meter races at consecutive Olympics. His record-smashing performances in Beijing still boggle the mind, stir the senses. Rarely have 19 seconds looked so glorious and furious simultaneously.
The Jamaican has competition this time. Among other challengers, countryman Yohan Blake won both races at the Olympic trials. But Bolt has a penchant for drama and big-sized moments that almost matches his speed. The races will be defined by how Bolt performs, win or lose.
Regardless of the result, Bolt's presence in both races will create can't-miss moments. Don't blink.
Brian Hamilton: Greatness is the name of the game
According to our friends at Lonely Planet, London "has something for everyone, from history to culture, art, grand museums, dazzling architecture, royalty, diversity and irrepressible pizazz."
Clearly, I'm in this for the pizazz, but I'm also steeled for some repression thereof, based on my impressions of our regal allies. (And by "impressions," I mean, "that DVD of 'Downton Abbey'we got from Redbox.")
Or maybe the Olympic spirit will waft through the whole place once the last chord of "Hey Jude" trails off into the night during the opening ceremony, and we'll gleefully turn our attention to the only real, true thing that makes the Games interesting: the pursuit of everlasting greatness.
So in that sense, what piques my curiosity during these Summer Games makes me as creative as a guy who orders fish and chips or cites tourist guidebooks: Let's see how many more golds Michael Phelps piles up and how deep and abiding his siege on the title of Greatest Summer Olympian Ever can be.
Second to that is seeing if the men's basketball team screws things up. Because if we're not here to seek and document greatness or the crushing inability to achieve it, I'm not sure what we're here for.
Besides the pizazz.
Stacy St. Clair: Lower-profile athletes get moment in the spotlight
What am I most looking forward to seeing? Is "all of it" a possible answer?
It's my first Olympics, so everything seems thrilling and history-making. If I had to narrow my response, I guess I would say I am most excited about seeing the lower-profile athletes enjoy their quadrennial moments in the spotlight.
These Games are filled with millionaire athletes and the corporate sponsors that love them, but I take a deeper interest in those who made significant personal and financial sacrifices to be here.
I'm interested in seeing twin rowers Grant and Ross James of DeKalb, who put their engineering careers on hold to chase an Olympic dream in a sport they didn't know anything about eight years ago.
I'd also like to watch Greco-Roman wrestler Ellis Coleman of Oak Park, whose mother moved him and his siblings out of their gang-infested West Side neighborhood to give them a chance at a better life.
They might not be marquee sports or names, but I suspect these are the stories I'll remember long after the big stars' endorsement deals end.