Anyone who's anyone is watching the Olympics, and among the viewers are pro athletes. We polled a cross section of baseball, football and hockey players to see which sport at the Games is their favorite and which current Olympian they would most like to be. Forty-two of 61 respondents selected track and field as the sport they most enjoy watching. "That's what I like," said Cincinnati Reds infielder Bret Boone, "but when my wife is home, gymnastics is always on. I usually head for another room then."
Gymnastics did get six endorsements. "It amazes me those young kids can be so strong and skillful," said San Francisco Giants reliever Rod Beck. And even the nontelegenic archery competition garnered a vote. "I'm a bow hunter," explained Phillies outfielder Jim Eisenreich. "Archery may be boring to everyone else, but to me it's exciting. I've dreamed of shooting that well."
Plenty of the polled athletes have dreamed of running as swiftly as Michael Johnson, who dominated the which-Olympian-would-you-like-to-be competition with 21 votes. "He puts all the pressure on himself," marveled Denver Broncos linebacker Glenn Cadrez. "He knows he's the best." Chimed in one of Cadrez's Broncos teammates, running back Reggie Rivers, "He reminds me of myself."
A few non-U.S. athletes pulled in votes, though not always for their athletic ability. "I'd like to be Pocket Hercules," said Arizona Cardinals tackle Lomas Brown, referring to diminutive gold-medal-winning Turkish weightlifter Naim Suleymanoglu. "I heard he can dance. I heard he can sing. I heard he can rap."
As a caveat, remember that some of the voters are Olympics-challenged. Who in the Games would Braves infielder Mark Lemke most like to be? "Is Mark Spitz still around?" he asked.