Tuesday, August 05, 2008

10 Things Olympic

1. Let's start small. I love the Olympics and will probably watch all together too much sporting coverage over the course of the games.

2. I'm a little afraid of these Olympics. They're giving me a bad Munich sort of feeling.

3. I worry that post-natural-disaster there are ordinary Chinese citizens who aren't getting the help they need because resources are being diverted to the Olympics.

4. On the other hand hopefully having people spend time and money at the Olympics will help the aforementioned ordinary citizens get the resources they need in the long term.

5. Do you know how cutthroat the swimming trials are? Only the top 2 competitors in any event go on to the Olympics.

6. Apparently the gymnastics scoring system is all different this year. Miflohny has explained it to me but I'm not certain I get it. I'm pretty sure that after 72 quatrillion explanations by the fine people at NBC sports I'll have it sorted.

7. As grateful as I will be to the aforementioned fine folk for the tutorial in gymnastics scoring I will be spending pretty much all my viewing time making so much fun of them. "So, what are they saying here? I think the deal is that coming in first is best. Don't you think? And from what I can glean 2nd and 3rd aren't bad but 4th? Well 4th is useless. But you know, I'm not sure. Maybe they'll tell me again. Hey! They will!"

8. I would like someone to invent a plug-in for my DVR that seamlessly edits out any story about a trouper of an Olympic competitor who is here for the very last time because they are [fill in an age as old or younger than me].

9. I will cry during at least one special interest profile. I can't help it. I bet you cry too.

10. They name the marathon after a situation in which a man ran a really long time with a message, fought a battle, ran another really, really long time with a message (incidentally because he was greedy and wanted the money with which people would shower him since he had good news) and then...dropped dead. How is there anything but wrong in that?

What's your stance on the Olympics?


  1. Anonymous6:12 AM

    I used to enjoy the Olympics. Now, I barely take notice. They spend too much time on swimming and gymnastics. They can barely be bothered with track & field (which, to me, is the heart of the games). Too much "up close and personal" (hey, athlete, do what you do, I don't care about your stupid life, I have one of those already). It's all about money. It isn't amateur anymore.

    But, I'll still, doubtless, watch a bit.

  2. I love watching the competitions, and while some of the interest stories are good, they are mostly about the beautiful or American ones. There is just too much filler these days. But, I will still watch a lot of it! I like to watch the diving and track races.

    And, I too, feel a bit uneasy about this year's games. I hope nothing goes really wrong.

  3. Gerry, I challenge you to just once read a post where someone says, 'I love X' and not proceed to shit all over X. If you'd said that your favorite part was track & field and you wish they'd show more of that well, then, we'd have a discussion. I might even agree with you. I used to enjoy your comments. Now, I barely take notice. They spend too much time being rude and dismissive.

    Seester, I hear you on the filler. I actually watch more of the coverage on the cable channels and at obscure hours so I can see the less "popular" sports and get by with less filler. I think this will be my first Olympics with a DVR, too. I'm very much looking forward to being able to fast forward over the needless blather and get to the competitions.

    Mostly, though, I really hope that things go smoothly and in the spirit that the Olympics hopes to convey.

  4. Anonymous12:58 PM

    I'm sorry you feel that way. I won't trouble you further.

  5. Anonymous1:17 PM

    I love the Olympics and I'm kind of a sap for the special interest stories. I do tend to get weary of them after the first couple days, though.

    I don't have cable/satellite TV so I won't be able to see the more obscure competitions. I'm probably about the only person, apparently, who really likes to watch synchronized swimming (it amazes me!) and they rarely show much, if any, on free TV.

  6. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Oh, and good luck on the gymnastic scoring. They've been doing it differently for a while now and it's so weird the commentators haven't even tried to really explain it. They've been pretty good about kind of summing up what's going on so you still can understand what's basically going on.

  7. Some of us may want to prove that *we* can run a really really long way, message or not, and NOT drop dead. Or that we can't.

    I cried during the TRIALS (track and field)... I may be toast during the real thing.

    Don't get my husband started on what China may or may not be doing for appearances during the Olympics... there is chatter in adoption circles that it has even pervaded that bureacracy (NO idea if that word is spelled right, but hey, I tried!).

  8. Great TTT. I get confused with the new scoring explanations, too.

  9. Loving the Olympics in this house. Just signed up for an additional Satellite channel to be sure we have all of the viewing options. I am sad when I just realized that I am missing Sat and Sun viewing due to a road trip with a friend.

  10. I used to love the Olympics. When I was a kid I even wrote a letter to Jimmy Carter when we boycotted. I told him that I supported his decision but was sad for the athletes. We are glued to the TV for the opening ceremonies, and I am in awe of the global happiness we feel for that short moment. As for the sports, I hate that pros are allowed. If I want to watch professional tennis, I'll watch the US Open.

  11. I'm really a sap for the Olympics, too. I eagerly watched the opening ceremonies last time and was a bit dismayed at how "Cirque du Soleil" it seemed (I hate the Cirque du Soleil). I always cry when they get their medals- even if it's not the US winning.
    Pros definitely do not belong in the Olympics. Boo on that.

  12. Anonymous5:58 PM

    Okay, I lied, I'm back, here is what I should have said about the Olympics:

    Over the years I've really gotten excited about and emotional about some Olympic moments. The great American hockey win and Keri Strugg's vault come to mind, although I've probably butchered her name. Frank Shorter winning the marathon in 1972 was stunning (and imagine my delight that fall in finding he was my law school classmate).

    The change to out-and-out professionalism dismayed me, although I cannot truly say why. I can watch (just an example) Kobe Bryant on TV all I want. He's famous, he's rich, he's good. Sure, I recall the old discussion about other countries' athletes really being professional all along. They didn't have to tend bar, or plow dad's south forty. Still . . .

    Then there's TV. I recall that some big race (100 meter dash) got cut away from so they could show some swimming heat (or something, I can't recall). It's a 10 second race for goodness sake! The networks have picked their "pet" sports, and that's what we get. Sometimes they show one athlete trying for a specific height on pole vault, but, then again, they might not. High jump, is it still in there? You get the idea.

    So, professionals, bad coverage, limited recognition for some really fundamental events. They got plenty time for equestrian!

    So, I'll watch some, no doubt, although I doubt there'll be the drama of our favorite skiing drunk in the winter Olympics (whatever his name was). The old thrill and emotional juice! Hmm.

    What I really meant to say was I read your blog daily, enjoy the way you relate your life and thoughts, and like to say something every so often so you'll know that someone (I mean this someone) is paying attention.

    Sorry for anything which disturbed you.

  13. Anonymous10:33 PM

    I'd like, for once, to be able to just watch the Olympic competitions without the Bryant Gumbel (or whomever the idiot of the moment might be) comments.

    The smog is bad. It was probably worse in Mexico in '68. Global warming has brought some new highlights to that aspect.

    I'm not a USA chanter, many of the teams have less support than ours do. What makes it all fair? We'll pay you if you win? We'll kill you if you don't? A little extreme is both cases.

    Race horses have it easier. Just ask Big Brown.
    A million dollars to stud or "wanna be dog food?"
    Take notice, most of the athletes that have not won are doing time for steroid use. Pity that in this must win society.

  14. Anonymous9:59 AM

    If only the top 2 athletes in any swimming event are going to the Olympics (and I assume you are talking about American athletes), it must mean that the Americans have not been doing great in the sport. If there was a chance that they could win more than 2 medals in an event, they would be allowed to send more than 2 athletes for that event.

    The marathon athletes are going to have it REALLY bad in the Olympics, as the pollution is horrid in Beijing, which will take its toll more on athletes in long, endurance events held outside. But hopefully no one will die!

  15. Julia, I haven't watched the Synchronized Swimming yet but I put in some Synchronized Diving time today and it is fascinating. Most obscure thing watched so far: Trap Shooting.

    JRH, the adoption thing is wigging me out now.

    Darci, it's probably good that we've got real life things going on to keep us grounded. I had a DVR glitch just now and got booted out of the queue of what I was watching and started to get really hot under the collar before I reminded myself that it's JUST A GAME! Not easy to remember.

    I'm torn with the pro sports aspect of it all. I think it does make things like basketball less interesting and yet, given how sports are run in other countries it's only right in some respects. So I remain torn. And I don't watch much basketball or tennis.

    Oh Mrs. T, I love Cirque! I'm a sucker for all sorts of strengthy feats like that. The medal ceremony makes me cry ever time. Watching them mouth the words to their own anthem? Great googly moogly I can't stand the delicious crunchy patriotism of it all.

    For the record, Gerry, I don't put up with that kind of continuous negativity at a cocktail party, either. I can see all the winks and nods you like and I'll still excuse myself to the bathroom. I actually watched some equestrian today. Sorry to say I didn't help the ratings, I couldn't get through even one contestant without changing the channel. Apparently just not my flavor of ice cream, as it were. Trap shooting however, I couldn't seem to shut off even though I was bored. Who knows?

    Laurie B, it's a complicated extravaganza, that's for sure, and made much more complicated by human rights issues in China. I watch with trepidation but I do love the competition and like to be there when these folks are realizing a life's dream. Plus, I'm shallow, Phelps in a swimsuit isn't a bad way to spend a Sunday.

    All of the endurance events are going to be effected by the environmental factors. I watched a bunch of beach volleyball in the pouring rain. The rain made it harder but at least it lessened the smog so it's a lose lose type of deal. We can only wait and watch. Or not, as we wish.