I’ll try to do these more often this week, to avoid 1000+ words of rambling.
I forgot to mention in my first Olympics Notebook that I’m thrilled with NBC’s coverage in one big way: we have five channels of high definition coverage. S. laughed at me on the night of the opening ceremonies when I got terribly excited when I saw there were four new channels. Of course, two are fairly limited in what they show, mostly basketball and soccer. Another is in Mandarin. And the final added feed is in Korean. Those last two are fun to watch for about three minutes. But I’m getting a lot of three minutes glimpses of table tennis and team handball.
Big props to NBC and the organizers of the games for setting up swimming so it could be aired in prime time in the States. In fact, it’s been an interested few days in coverage. Early last week, the glamor events were on between 10 and 11 Eastern. As the week progressed, those events slowly slid back, moving past midnight in many cases. This 12 hour time difference isn’t so bad!
Then, all of a sudden on Sunday when track starts, everything is back to a long delay, with events taking place in the evening in Beijing delayed roughly 12 hours for prime time in the U.S. The 100 meter heats and finals, one of the biggest events in the Olympics, not live in the U.S.? Doesn’t seem right.
The delay kind of makes sense, since they have to squeeze a lot more events into the stadium each day than they had to do at the aquatics center. But it does feel a little bait and switchy to me. Shame on me for thinking week #2 would follow the same format as week #1.
It’s also interesting to see the other ways in which the U.S. dominates the games from a cultural perspective. Just about every nation has its name across uniforms in English. China and Russia are the most obvious examples, since they use completely different alphabets (or in China’s case, no alphabet at all as Brian Williams kept reminding us in the opening ceremonies). Also, the number of athletes who train in the States is amazing. It seems like most swimmers at least went to college in the U.S. Lots of runners and gymnasts also train in the U.S. Interesting, since most Olympic sports aren’t a big deal from a spectator perspective in the U.S.
Just further proof that the Olympics should always be in the Western Hemisphere.
Oh, and I think there should be Olympics, or some other huge event, every August. Something major to take up two weeks in that long run when baseball is fading and football doesn’t matter yet.
Obviously, Michael Phelps getting his eight golds was amazing, especially the 100 butterfly final. I’m the 800,000th person to say this, but I still don’t understand how he won that. Eight medals alone marked these as the Phelps games, but two unreal finishes in his eight finals made sure that these games will be remembered for what he did.
As outstanding as he was, I had to wonder why he wasn’t swimming in the sport’s glamor event, the 100 free. I know it’s not his specialty, but he is good enough at it to swim the relay. I wonder if, in the absence of the IM in 2012, if he’ll give the 100 free a shot.
Speaking of medleys, I propose a Choose Your Own Stroke medley. Four laps and you get to pick what order you do them in. Throw your best leg out first to get a lead. Or save it until the end to come back. Introduce some strategy into the events! Can’t you just hear Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines screaming, “Phelps goes to the fly! He never uses it this early!”
I said last week that Phelps would be a dork if he wasn’t a swimmer (of course, I said that with love). Turns out the U.S. men’s gymnastic team is comprised of a bunch of gigantic dorks. “That’s how we do it! That’s how we roll!” Come on, you’re gymnasts!
It always pleases me when I see the Netherlands uniforms. There is something very right about the Dutch using fonts straight out of 1979 that seemed futuristic at the time.
I hope she’s clean, because Dara Torres is a stud.
I miss Gary Hall Jr. and his boxing gloves and robe before the 50 free. That guy was like a villain at Wrestlemania.
Back to track, these may be Phelps’ games, and the 4×100 free and the 100 fly finals may go down as two of the greatest events ever, but Usain Bolt may just have dropped the signature performance on these events when he destroyed the field in the 100M final. The greatest individual track performance I’ve ever seen was when Michael Johnson dropped his 19.32 in Atlanta. Bolt’s performance Sunday, when he cruised to the finish, was even better than that. I have a feeling 19.32 is going to get wiped off the boards Wednesday. That guy is a freak of nature and completely amazing.
Speaking of Jamaica, four years ago I, somewhat facetiously, suggested that the U.S. start invading the island nations that are out-running us on the track. The way Jamaica worked us over in the 100 meter finals on both the men’s and women’s side, we need to get the carriers headed towards Kingston right away.
At least the Jamaican sprinters all seem cool and a lot of fun. I loved hearing Shelly-Ann Fraser after she won the gold. Beautiful accent.
Man, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh are fun to watch. And I don’t mean anything suggestive by that. Those girls can hammer the ball. Volleyball was the only sport I was ever any good at, and I miss being able to crush the ball in co-ed leagues at my former employer’s gym. I may have to rent Side Out next week.
Lovely. We’re already getting swamped by Manning Brother commercials.