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Darrel Manson

Games of the XXIX Olympiad

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Is anyone else as apathetic about this year's Olympics as I am. I don't know if it's just from all the bad press that has been associated with the games or if it's because there are no great stories going into the games to follow (except political stories).

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Me too, only I have no clue. I'm usually puddling saliva on the floor in anticipation, but I'm apathetic this time around. This after enjoying the swimming and track & field trials in June. I'm tempted to blame it on NBC's lousy coverage for what, the last 16 years? But anything remotely NBC will have at least some coverage this time (but will they show competition instead of brief summaries as the did in '04 and '06 on "non-essential" sports?). If I know that I'll get to see some actual Decath and Pentath; Archery and other obscure sports, I might get more excited. We'll see.

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Crow   

I'm looking forward to the Olympics, the smaller sports like badminton, table tennis, handball, cycling, etc, that you don't see anywhere else. And Greco-Roman wrestling, which is cooler than freestyle wrestling, just because of the name.

The online coverage is a great enhancement; you can see just about any event that goes on. It will allow me to ignore the swimming and the gymnastics.

The opening ceremonies were spectacular. The choreography between thousands of dancers running around, the thousands of drummers doing their thing, and the technology on display were amazing. And the lighting of the torch was even better than the time the French guy shot the arrow to light the torch back at the Albertville games. I'd love to find out how they rigged those wiring harnesses so the guy could run around the entire top of the stadium suspended sideways.

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Oh my..that was the best opening ceremony *ever*.

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opus   
The opening ceremonies were spectacular. The choreography between thousands of dancers running around, the thousands of drummers doing their thing, and the technology on display were amazing. And the lighting of the torch was even better than the time the French guy shot the arrow to light the torch back at the Albertville games. I'd love to find out how they rigged those wiring harnesses so the guy could run around the entire top of the stadium suspended sideways.

Agreed. The whole time he was running around the stadium, I was on pins and needles -- I just had horrible visions of one of the cables snapping, or of him dropping the torch. When he finally lit the flame, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

If I were Zhang Yimou, I'd be tempted to retire after that opening ceremony. What an amazing display of artistry and cultural and national pride, and as a geek, I thought the graceful integration of technology (like that gigantic LED screen on the stadium floor) was just aces.

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opus   

This is sad: American at Olympics stabbed to death

A Chinese attacker stabbed two Americans, killing the man and wounding the woman, who were attending the Olympic Games on Saturday, according to the U.S. Olympic Committee.

When we started watching the Olympics this morning, we heard something about a tragedy striking the American volleyball team: turns out the victims were family members of a U.S. volleyball coach.

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Crow   

That was a great men's cycling road race. Some impressive scenery, riding past Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, and through the countryside. Sammy Sanchez of Spain came on strong at the finish, timing his attack to beat out that group of lead riders.

I thought that was a Spaniard @ Barcelona... One of the most memorable torch lightings.

You're right, it was Barcelona. Albertville was the Winter Olympics that year. I got my winter and summer mixed up.

So far, I'm struck by the differences between men's and women's version of some of the sports. Badminton, for example: The women's event was much more fun to watch. But in fencing, the shrieking is a bit much.

What do they think this is, tennis or something? ;) Pretty cool to see the USA sweep though.

I am surprised that the medals are so plain. After the spectacle of the opening ceremony, the architecture, etc.

You can tell where they spent their budget.

Edited by Crow

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opus   

Looks like some of Zhang's countrymen were less than impressed by the opening ceremonies. From Kaiju Shakedown:

While most people seem very impressed with the Olympic opening ceremony staged by Zhang Yimou this weekend, the Western press has largely missed the fact that a lot of the Chinese internet talk is about how "empty" and "meaningless" the ceremony was. While the New York Times and others praised the lavish spectacle and dwelt on the positive reaction, Chinese netizens took to the internets to review the ceremony like they would one of Zhang's movies and the result was, "First-rate techniques, second-rate performances, no ratings for the content." (Strong Nation Forum)

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opus   

Holy cow... did anyone see the 400-meter freestyle relay in men's swimming?!? My wife and I were on the edge of our seats during that finish. What a fantastic Olympics moment!

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MattP   
Looks like some of Zhang's countrymen were less than impressed by the opening ceremonies. From Kaiju Shakedown:

While most people seem very impressed with the Olympic opening ceremony staged by Zhang Yimou this weekend, the Western press has largely missed the fact that a lot of the Chinese internet talk is about how "empty" and "meaningless" the ceremony was. While the New York Times and others praised the lavish spectacle and dwelt on the positive reaction, Chinese netizens took to the internets to review the ceremony like they would one of Zhang's movies and the result was, "First-rate techniques, second-rate performances, no ratings for the content." (Strong Nation Forum)

Boy, their expectations for "meaning" are much higher than mine I guess. This is the opening ceremonies we're talking about, right? When's the last time you got anything meaningful out of any olympic opening ceremony? Just look at the spectacle and say "oooh." BTW, on a related note, I had an argument going with a friend over whether or not the giant fireworks "footsteps" were CGI or actual live footage. Turns out I was right.

Holy cow... did anyone see the 400-meter freestyle relay in men's swimming?!? My wife and I were on the edge of our seats during that finish. What a fantastic Olympics moment!

Sick race. Absolutely sick. Somehow these kinds of things always seem to happen in the olympics, which is what makes them so much fun.

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Hugues   
I'm looking forward to the Olympics, the smaller sports like badminton

Huge disappointment in that department from the French channel: a few minutes of badminton (one of my fave games) but that's it. Priority is given to other sports, even tennis with Federer, that we can watch all year long - can you believe that?

To boot, I usually have to turn the volume off since we have the most stupid commentators of the Earth in my country (I bet).

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mrmando   

Let's hear it for the Georgian beach volleyball pair who dispatched the Russians.

OK, they're Brazilian mercenaries playing for Georgia, but what the heck.

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To boot, I usually have to turn the volume off since we have the most stupid commentators of the Earth in my country (I bet).

Certainly the gymanstics commentators are. I think the swimming ones are better. But I guess it is much easier to commentate when you have Aquaman (aka Michael Phelps) in the pool.

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To boot, I usually have to turn the volume off since we have the most stupid commentators of the Earth in my country (I bet).

Not true. The best (er, worst) commentators are the Albanians who, when stealing Eurosports' feed, do not bother to turn down the original broadcaster's sound. THEY JUST TALK OVER THEM REALLY LOUDLY.

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Hugues   

Phelps is a coward: he was scared by Alain Bernard for the 100m freestyle. :mrgreen:

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Certainly the gymanstics commentators are. I think the swimming ones are better. But I guess it is much easier to commentate when you have Aquaman (aka Michael Phelps) in the pool.

I must say that swimming is easier than gymnastics for commentating. The degree of difficulty is equal (except for the turbulance in outside lanes) and execution is much more obvious.

Not true. The best (er, worst) commentators are the Albanians who, when stealing Eurosports' feed, do not bother to turn down the original broadcaster's sound. THEY JUST TALK OVER THEM REALLY LOUDLY.

This is hilarious. You made my morning, Buckeye!

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MattP   
Phelps is a coward: he was scared by Alain Bernard for the 100m freestyle. :mrgreen:

Are you talking about the guy who "crushed" the Americans by losing a full-body lead in the span of 50 meters to them?

:P

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And--with all due respect--enough with Phelps. There are thousands upon thousands of amazing stories in Beijing this week. Does EVERY NBC Olympic program--even those without any water sports--have to include a 15-minute segment on Phelps?

That's one of the reasons I'm so turned off on Olympics. We don't get the best events or best stories; we get all America all the time. This is the time that we should be meeting the world.

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Hugues   
We don't get the best events or best stories; we get all America all the time. This is the time that we should be meeting the world.

Exactly the same with France. All we can watch are things with French teams, and I got an overdose of fencing last week - a sport that became ridiculous: after each action they shout as if they win a point and look at the referee to know who touched the other first. I mean: each action goes like that, every ten seconds. No charm.

And most of our commentators are always shouting to death (you really think they will die or something) as early as the French is about to win a point or whatever. It's unbearable.

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Hugues   

About gymnastics ("barre fixe" exactly, sorry, don't know the English word): I really think the blond American should be number one, she was perfect. But the judges favour the very young Chinese so far, who was less perfect in my opinion.

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barre fixe in English is the "high bar", but that's a men's event.

Did you mean "balance beam" (poutre)?

I had the unique perspective of having been in London last week, and--especially given the UK's awesome medal standings (for its size)--was disappointed at the Phelps saturation, but that could also be an anglophone bias?

I'm guess I'm coming down on the other side--I'm completely fine with the Phelps-o-philia. He's setting a record that will probably be standing for the next ten Olympics. I don't think you can downplay that.

I don't like the gymnastics though--in scoring events, esp. after the figure skating scandal a few years back, I'm skeptical of the objectivity of the judges. Esp. with 12 year olds and the Chinese gymnest FALLING DOWN and still outscoring the others in the balance beam thing.

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MattPage   

Great Britain are third at the moment - THIRD!!! I know the US are always better than that, but for us this is mahusive!

Of course there'd plenty of time for us to be overtaken, but third!

Third!

Matt

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barre fixe in English is the "high bar", but that's a men's event.

Did you mean "balance beam" (poutre)?

I had the unique perspective of having been in London last week, and--especially given the UK's awesome medal standings (for its size)--was disappointed at the Phelps saturation, but that could also be an anglophone bias?

I'm guess I'm coming down on the other side--I'm completely fine with the Phelps-o-philia. He's setting a record that will probably be standing for the next ten Olympics. I don't think you can downplay that.

I don't like the gymnastics though--in scoring events, esp. after the figure skating scandal a few years back, I'm skeptical of the objectivity of the judges. Esp. with 12 year olds and the Chinese gymnest FALLING DOWN and still outscoring the others in the balance beam thing.

I tend to view the judged contests as residing somewhere in the uneasy limbo between the World Wrestling Federation and Real Sport. The athletes are remarkable. The scoring is a joke.

I want to vote for Bela Karolyi as the real star of this Olympics. Bela for president.

I'm enjoying the "Up Close and Personal" segments better this time as well. My favorite was the female American diver who essentially said, "I'm really boring. All I do is dive. I have no friends. I've never gone to high school. This is miserable."

Edited by Andy Whitman

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