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The Olympics Thread

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  • The Olympics Thread

    Has anyone else been watching the Olympics (I know, I know, I'm looking for a job, leave me alone)? I read a review which took the approach that while there's no doubting the effort and skill that goes in to competing in the various events, some of them don't exactly make for edifying viewing.

    I saw some Tables Tennis Doubles this afternoon and that just looks ridiculous, although I'm sure it's very tense when you're involved and have a medal riding on the result! I also find the Weightlifting a little pointless in terms of drama and tension... it's just ten seconds of someone making a rude face and then dropping a heavy thing. Gripping!

    Male presenters keep smirking and winking at the viewers about the Beach Volleyball, which has reduced it to the equivalent of a smutty postcard rather than an athletic competition, but it is still a new event, so perhaps in a couple of years... oh, who am I trying to kid? That's never going to be taken seriously.

    My favourite event so far has to be the gymnastics, if only because it's so impressive to see how quickly a human being can move their legs when they really want to... but you wouldn't want to get into a fight with one of those Chinese girls if there was a set of parallel bars close-by!

    My real complaint against the UK commentators would be how much time they spend building up the British competitors, as if they genuinely believe "we" have a snowball's chance in Hell. Then they come in third (if they're lucky) and the presenters rush to interview the miserable (sometimes tearful) Brit whine about how wonderful they were in training. I'd much rather hear from the winner, whoever they represent (language barrier allowing). I know it's nice for the family and friends of the Brits to see the people they know on TV, but personally I don't feel the slightest patriotism when it comes to these international sporting events. I just want to see atheletes testing their bodies to the limits. I don't care where they come from... may the best competitor win! :)

    D...
    "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

  • #2
    Olympics

    My favourite event's the 100 metres pub crawl! Much more a participant sport than a spectator sport.
    Arioch, aid me! Blood and souls for Arioch!

    Comment


    • #3
      Diid anyone notcice how when the beach volleyball players are waiting for a serve, it looks like they're offering to give the other players a big ol' hug?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by McTalbayne
        Diid anyone notcice how when the beach volleyball players are waiting for a serve, it looks like they're offering to give the other players a big ol' hug?
        Well, I'm sure there's a lot of love there... but I'll leave that up to the individual's imagination.

        Originally posted by McTalbayne
        My favourite event's the 100 metres pub crawl! [Wink] Much more a participant sport than a spectator sport.
        At the risk of dragging my own thread off-topic before it's even got going, I've never understood the appeal of pub-crawls. If I'm drinking in a pub I want a nice comfy sofa near the fire, with easy access to the toilets... and nothing short of having to buy a round is going to make me want to venture back out into the cold, cruel night. (Yes, I've always been this boring, and no it's not an age thing)

        D...
        "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

        Comment


        • #5
          The diving from the high board is pretty phenomenal - I can just imagine myself belly-flopping gracelessly, the water turning slowly to rust as my torn stomach seeps out the spoils of too many pub crawls.

          Owzat? On and off-topic in one post! :D
          \"Killing me won\'t bring back your apples!\"

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The Olympics Thread

            Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
            Has anyone else been watching the Olympics (I know, I know, I'm looking for a job, leave me alone)? I read a review which took the approach that while there's no doubting the effort and skill that goes in to competing in the various events, some of them don't exactly make for edifying viewing.
            I've been watching them in a casual way. This is the first time I've watched
            TV in ~5 years, so it has been disturbing -- the American talking heads are
            either (1) retarded, or (2) think the viewers are retarded. I've seen most of
            the Summer games since the Tokyo games in '64, and the presentation seems
            to get dumber every time the games come around.

            I probably wouldn't watch these games, except that my teenage daughter
            is a track enthusiast / competitor.

            As for edifying viewing, it has long been my belief that many athletic events
            are like virtuoso musical performances: one has a hard time appreciating it if one has
            never learned to do it oneself. That's not to say it's impossible, just that it's
            more difficult, I think.



            I saw some Tables Tennis Doubles this afternoon and that just looks ridiculous, although I'm sure it's very tense when you're involved and have a medal riding on the result!
            Yawn! Excuse me; that was my reaction to the event, too. I don't doubt they're
            great players. I just don't have an aficionado's appreciation of the event, and it
            appears neither do you.

            I also find the Weightlifting a little pointless in terms of drama and tension... it's just ten seconds of someone making a rude face and then dropping a heavy thing. Gripping!
            There's not much drama in the event; but this is an event I "practice" to train for
            taekwondo. I find I can watch such activities with interest because of that familiarity/


            Male presenters keep smirking and winking at the viewers about the Beach Volleyball, which has reduced it to the equivalent of a smutty postcard rather than an athletic competition, but it is still a new event, so perhaps in a couple of years... oh, who am I trying to kid? That's never going to be taken seriously.
            Beach volleyball has been on the Olympic slate now for at least one or two
            prior Summer games. It's a sort of popular sport where the conditions are
            good for playing it. There used to be pick-up games in Redondo Beach
            and Hermosa Beach, when I lived down there.

            The smirking you're referring to is probably due to the cheesecake factor, where
            the women who participate typically wear fairly revealing clothing. You're going
            to see that when track and field competition starts, too -- the women's pole
            vault is notorious for this aspect; doubtless why it's pretty popular.


            My favourite event so far has to be the gymnastics, if only because it's so impressive to see how quickly a human being can move their legs when they really want to... but you wouldn't want to get into a fight with one of those Chinese girls if there was a set of parallel bars close-by!
            They're very athletic, no question, but you may not realise just how small the male
            and female gymnasts are. I do full-contact sparring in taekwondo every week, and
            most competitors will tell you that, just as in basketball, you "can't coach height."
            (Or in this case, arm and leg reach.)


            My real complaint against the UK commentators would be how much time they spend building up the British competitors, as if they genuinely believe "we" have a snowball's chance in Hell. Then they come in third (if they're lucky) and the presenters rush to interview the miserable (sometimes tearful) Brit whine about how wonderful they were in training. I'd much rather hear from the winner, whoever they represent (language barrier allowing).
            This happens the world over. I'd be happy to hear from the silver and bronze medalists
            (if they have something interesting to say). How many people in the world are good
            enough to get a bronze medal in the Olympics? A bronze medal or a silver medal is
            impressive, and shouldn't consign its owner to the ranks of the "miserable." Just
            my 10 centimes on the issue.


            I know it's nice for the family and friends of the Brits to see the people they know on TV, but personally I don't feel the slightest patriotism when it comes to these international sporting events. I just want to see atheletes testing their bodies to the limits. I don't care where they come from... may the best competitor win! :)

            D...
            In the U.S., this is nothing new, and there have been complaints about it for
            years. I'm half-French, so I like to hear from the French or French-speaking
            competitors when they do well. I remember back in '76, when Guy Drut won
            the 110 m high hurdles; Drut is intelligent and fairly well-spoken for an athlete,
            so I thought I'd get a chance to hear him interviewed. Instead, they interviewed
            Willy Davenport, the American hurdler, who won a bronze. Davenport was a
            great hurdler, but he had his moment on the podium when he won gold in '68.
            American television decided Americans weren't interested in "foreigners" or
            something.

            LSN

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
              ...it has been disturbing -- the American talking heads are either (1) retarded, or (2) think the viewers are retarded.
              I'm with you. A lot of the time I just turn the sound off.

              Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
              I saw some Tables Tennis Doubles this afternoon and that just looks ridiculous, although I'm sure it's very tense when you're involved and have a medal riding on the result! I also find the Weightlifting a little pointless in terms of drama and tension... it's just ten seconds of someone making a rude face and then dropping a heavy thing. Gripping!
              You know what's boring? Cycling. Like NASCAR, only the wrecks are fun to watch and they don't happen often enough.

              Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
              My favourite event so far has to be the gymnastics...
              Yes. I was blown away by the Chinese gymnasts, both the men and women.

              I was also quite impressed with the synchronized diving. Never saw that before.

              Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
              There's not much drama in [weightlifting]; but this is an event I "practice" to train for taekwondo.
              And you can't say Tae Kwon Do isn't exciting to watch! I practice TKD, too, and I can safely say that martial arts tournaments are a blast!

              Speaking of Olympic martial arts, was anybody surprised by the unsportsmanlike refusal by the Iranian judo champion to compete against a Jew? Does anyone but me wonder why Iran's "policy" to "refrain from competing against athletes of the Zionist regime" didn't automatically exclude them from being allowed to compete at all? I mean, this kind of attitude flies in the face of everything the Olympics stand for, right?
              "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
              --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran
                Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
                ...it has been disturbing -- the American talking heads are either (1) retarded, or (2) think the viewers are retarded.
                I'm with you. A lot of the time I just turn the sound off.
                My wife got tired of my sarcastic retorts after each soundbite by our
                "gifted" commentators -- so she turned off the sound, too. It makes
                it more tolerable. Of course, we still have to see the smirking faces of
                these commentator "people" (I use the term loosely).

                Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran
                Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
                I saw some Tables Tennis Doubles this afternoon and that just looks ridiculous, although I'm sure it's very tense when you're involved and have a medal riding on the result! I also find the Weightlifting a little pointless in terms of drama and tension... it's just ten seconds of someone making a rude face and then dropping a heavy thing. Gripping!
                You know what's boring? Cycling. Like NASCAR, only the wrecks are fun to watch and they don't happen often enough.
                I know a lot of cycling devotأ©s, so I've had practice being indulgent.

                It's not my cup of sock squeezings, though. :)


                Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran
                ...

                Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
                There's not much drama in [weightlifting]; but this is an event I "practice" to train for taekwondo.
                And you can't say Tae Kwon Do isn't exciting to watch! I practice TKD, too, and I can safely say that martial arts tournaments are a blast!
                I don't expect the TKD matches to be televised very heavily. However,
                I saw the U.S. Olympic trials in San Jose, and the 2 American competitors
                (Lopez and Abdallah) are quite good, and have decent shots at winning
                medals. I'd like to see Pascal Gentille from France; he's one of the few
                TKD competitors I've ever seen who is actually taller than me (by about
                3 centimeters). It's interesting to see someone that tall and that agile.

                TKD is easier for neophytes to appreciate than karate point-sparring, and
                usually a bit more crowd-pleasing -- especially when there's a knockdown.
                But some matches, where the competitors are being very careful and fighting
                defensively take a certain amount of experience to appreciate. To someone
                who doesn't know the sport, it can be like watching paint dry (I'm told).

                Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran
                Speaking of Olympic martial arts, was anybody surprised by the unsportsmanlike refusal by the Iranian judo champion to compete against a Jew? Does anyone but me wonder why Iran's "policy" to "refrain from competing against athletes of the Zionist regime" didn't automatically exclude them from being allowed to compete at all? I mean, this kind of attitude flies in the face of everything the Olympics stand for, right?
                This is a complex affair. What I know about it makes it seem somewhat distasteful.

                The irony is that the Iranian competitor should've beaten the Israeli pretty convincingly.
                He's a lot more highly ranked. There was a rumor that there was an "injury" that prevented
                the match, but that might well be a phantom. So we're left with a political gesture.
                I'd think they would've enjoyed beating the Israeli competitor, but seemed to prefer
                "cheapening" the contest by boycotting it. How many political boycotts have there
                been since 1976 in the Games? Too many.

                LSN

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
                  But some matches, where the competitors are being very careful and fighting defensively take a certain amount of experience to appreciate.
                  No doubt. Being a TKD practitioner, I can, for example, appreciate a well-executed switch-stance fakeout. I'll say, "Whoa! Nice!" and someone else in the room will go, "Nice what!? All he did was switch his feet!"

                  Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
                  There was a rumor that there was an "injury" that prevented the match, but that might well be a phantom.
                  Now it's starting to look like it might have been because he couldn't make weight:

                  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3562808.stm

                  Whatever the reason for Miresmaeili's decision not to fight, political BS has no place in the Olympic games. If he couldn't make weight, fine. If he had an injury, fine. If he just got a-scared to fight, fine. But, not wanting to compete against someone based on the political relations between your two countries makes a mockery of the games.
                  "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                  --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran

                    No doubt. Being a TKD practitioner, I can, for example, appreciate a
                    well-executed switch-stance fakeout. I'll say, "Whoa! Nice!" and someone
                    else in the room will go, "Nice what!? All he did was switch his feet!"
                    An awareness of the finer points of any activity enhances our
                    appreciation. I'm sure you've seen maneuvers every now and then
                    that worked, and you've asked, "Why was that effective?" So
                    you try it out yourself after some practice, and you notice that
                    the opponent perceives the maneuver as something other than
                    it is. Putting oneself in the mind of the opponent can be hard.

                    After you've done this sort of experiment a few times, you
                    recognize it when it's done against you, and employ an appropriate
                    counter to frustrate the maneuver. Your opponent says,
                    "You seemed to read my mind." Just experience and thought,
                    and nothing mystical involved.

                    This makes martial arts (e.g., TKD, Karate, boxing, Muy Thai,
                    fencing, Kendo...) seem like physical chess: for every tactic,
                    there's an underlying strategy to which one must respond
                    appropriately. This is the sort of thing that can make it
                    enjoyable to watch a good match between two skilled competitors.

                    It's also the sort of thing that makes a complex sport difficult
                    for a non-practitioner to appreciate. Where there are complex
                    strategies and tactics, it starts to resemble an iceberg: 9/10ths
                    of what's going on is underwater.

                    To return to Duncan's original comments, I'm sure that there
                    are nuances of this sort in table tennis and cycling. Perhaps if
                    we don't warm to the event, our ignorance is to blame, not the
                    sport. However, no one is *required* to appreciate every human
                    activity, of course. It's perfectly permissable to respond, "I don't
                    really care about that event." When I know little of an activity,
                    and it isn't on the surface interesting, I'm as disinclined to dig
                    into it as the next person. That doesn't make it intrinsically bad
                    or boring.

                    Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran
                    Now it's starting to look like it might have been because he couldn't make weight:

                    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3562808.stm

                    Whatever the reason for Miresmaeili's decision not to fight, political BS has no place in the Olympic games. If he couldn't make weight, fine. If he had an injury, fine. If he just got a-scared to fight, fine. But, not wanting to compete against someone based on the political relations between your two countries makes a mockery of the games.
                    From some of the comments from the head of the Iranian delegation, it's starting
                    to seem poltically motivated. People with a political or religious axe to grind always
                    seem like hedgehogs (cf. Sir Isaiah Berlin's The Hedgehog and the Fox).

                    LSN

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
                      To return to Duncan's original comments, I'm sure that there
                      are nuances of this sort in table tennis and cycling.
                      The thing about table tennis is that a player who is good at making the ball rotate while it's going through the air (I'm sure there's some good English expression for this, but unfortunately I don't know it) can force the opponent to hit the ball really, really hard in order to hit the table at all, which is physically tiring.

                      This aside, I regard The Olympics as a very long commercial break, figurally and literally. It should be renamed "Celebration of the Future Coca-Cola Machtأ¼bernahmen" or something.
                      You can't spell "politically correct" without "correct".

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm not a sport fan to begin with, and I haven't watched any of the Olympics.

                        I think any credibility the Olympics had was lost (For any American team, anyway) when our basketball 'Dream Team' was allowed to compete.

                        They Olympics are supposed to be for amateur atheletes?! So I gues the only way we can win medals is to have our over-payed pros come in?

                        I'll pass
                        Madness is always the best armor against Reality

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DeepFixer
                          I think any credibility the Olympics had was lost (For any American team, anyway) when our basketball 'Dream Team' was allowed to compete. They Olympics are supposed to be for amateur atheletes?! So I gues the only way we can win medals is to have our over-payed pros come in?
                          Didn't they get beaten by Puerto Rico though? I thought I saw a rather impressively humble post-game interview with the American co-captain, who was balancing a child on his knee whilst explaining that they would try to do better in future. I wasn't paying much attention because I have no interest in the sport itself... but I'm developing a curiosity for Puerto Rico, so I was lured into the report halfway through.

                          Meanwhile "we" appear to be winning more medals, which is good for me from the point of view that the more events we win, the less chance there is of a single event being hailed as the new Rugby (the sport that the papers all went crazy for when "we" actually won something, but the hype has since wound down).

                          So far I haven't managed to catch a single second of Beach Volleyball. I turn the TV on when I'm eating, or for background noise while I'm drawing, but I always seem to catch the equestrian events... which really don't do much for me, I'm afraid.

                          D...
                          "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
                            Didn't they get beaten by Puerto Rico though?
                            Dunno. But if they did, then maybe they should take a pay cut!

                            Or hire the Puerto Ricans for the NBA
                            Madness is always the best armor against Reality

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              From the BBC sport site:

                              Shock defeat for USA

                              Puerto Rico caused a huge shock with a superb 92-73 victory over the USA in the Olympic men's basketball event. The winners, who were led by 24 points from Carlos Arroyo, outplayed the three-time gold medallists throughout. Puerto Rico's win lit up the tournament and places a question mark on the USA's ability to claim a fourth title in a row, although they need only finish in the top four of their six-team group to reach the quarter-finals. It was only the third defeat for the Americans in Olympic history after losses to the Soviet Union in 1972 and 1988. "No one's in awe," said US forward Lamar Odom. "Everyone wants to come out and play their best game against us. That's the spirit of the Olympics. "You shouldn't feel bad for us. You should feel good for Puerto Rico."
                              http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olym...ll/3567344.stm

                              I'm sure Bill would join me in blaming the whole thing on Bush, yes? :)

                              The Puerto Ricans have beaten Australia too now, and should go through to the group's finals... or the final finals... I don't really understand, but they're winning and that's a good thing.

                              D...
                              "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

                              Comment

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