I've never watch (nor enjoyed watching) the Olympics as much as I did during the 2008 Summer Olympics.
I'm not really sure why...but I can only imagine that a lot of it has to do with just a general life stage. When I was in college, the last thing I wanted to do was watch 16 year old girls on a balance beam, or men's synchronized diving. Yet with a wife, and a baby, it's pleasant to sit and watch the American beach volleyball teams bump, set and spike, or of course watch Michael Phelps eeks out a couple minor miracles and a whole lot of lap whooping.
I also think that the NBC Olympic producers did an exceptional job putting together the prime time Olympic package as a story. Why else would we care about 50 m free swimming events if it wasn't for 41-year old Dara Torres and other similar athletes who's story we are introduced to. They chose the most interesting events and made them something that you could follow as opposed to broadcasting hours of random edited clips of jumping, running, kicking, splashing, and goal making.
I also attribute a lot of interest in the games to the host Beijing. They're contribution to the games is too fold. The first is the initial level of conflict, intrigue and pre-event stories. I wanted to watch to see if the smog was death defying, I wanted to see the harsh planned economy coaches to see how they treated their protegees, and I wanted to see the Chinese crowds put tremendous pressure upon their hurdler, their gymnasts, and their six foot three inch tall female volleyball players. In addition to all this intrigue and early predictions from many (including economist Daniel K.N. Johnson) of China's expected medal counts, developed an intriguing rivalry that had to be watched.
In addition, Beijing was an exceptional host country. Obviously pouring far more dollars (Yens) into the games than London will in 2012. The Water Cube, the Bird's Nest, and the amazing competitive climate that they created really made the games enjoyable to watch.
In addition to all these, it's such a neat experience to see the world compete together. In an ever increasingly global world it's neat to see the world compete, and to have the ability to respect athletes from other countries who are superior in their sport, like Usan Bolt from Jamaica.
I don't know if my experience is unique. But I've got to see I've never watched (or enjoyed watching) the Olympics so much in my life.