The opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics is set to air in the eastern US in a matter of moments. The parade of each country's athletes carrying their flags, a rainbow of global competition and friendly challenge is one of the most tangible expressions of universal cooperation we see. Wars are left at home and the only tension is in the thrill of competition. To that end, here are the top 10 globally important Olympians and events to watch — where the outcomes may just change the course of humanity. For a brief shining moment on the medal stand, at least.