Posts Tagged ‘olympics’

It’s All Over for Another Four Years

September 18, 2008

Move along there, folks. There’s nothing more to see here.

Things worth watching came to a sudden end just before the closing ceremony started. Another achievement for dullness. How they do it inside one of the most extraordinary looking stadiums in the world is beyond me. Maybe the event designers are kept inside a concrete bunker or something.

You guessed it. I’m kind of glad the Paralympics is over, as I was glad that the Olympics was over. Maybe I get sports overkill more easily than I used to. Maybe what I think of as mellowing is really me becoming cantankerous. Maybe the further I get from my own sporting past the crustier I get about people who can still do it all. Or maybe I just want to get on with other stuff. Yeah, that’s it. I think. Must be.

I’ve got a double-barreled water thingummy to fit under the kitchen sink – healthy water, here we come. There’s the terracing down the hill out front waiting for me. I’m thinking of changing the name of one of the characters in a novel I am trying to sell to a publisher. And I haven’t written any new stuff for months.

I could go on. After all, I managed to live Olympic-free for the last four years and I can do the same again. Starting tomorrow. Yep. That’s what I’ll do. It’s decided. It’s a done deal. I’m on the way.

That Frenchman who started this modern Olympic malarkey, he sure has a lot to answer for.

Being Above Average

August 28, 2008

It’s good to be above average in something. Isn’t it? After all, isn’t the whole Olympic thing about being above average? OK, a long way above average, but it’s only a matter of degree.

Well, I’ve figured out I’m above average. In lots of ways.

I have more than the average number of fingers and toes. I have more than the average number of hands and feet, of ears and eyebrows, of elbows and knees. I am above average in so many areas I am above averagely astounded by it.

Consider all those butchers who have lopped off a finger. That kid I used to know who’d done the same thing with an axe to one of his toes. TV presenter Adam Hills with his empty shoe. So many people have contributed to the lowering of the average number of fingers and toes, of legs and arms.

It would take some fancy statistics to work out the average number of fingers per person on the planet, but it’s not impossible to get a close-enough figure. And here’s me with my full quota of body parts, proving me to be just a little above average.

Stands to reason then that the Olympic gold medallists are so far above average. Well, until today in Australia.

Two Olympic swimmers, Stephanie Rice and Eamon Sullivan, proved the opposite today. In a public welcome at a shopping centre they refused to sign anything that was not from the racks of their clothing sponsor, Davenport. The sponsorship deals prevents them from engaging in commercial conflict, we are told. A lot of people queued for nothing and left upset and angry.

We might blame the Davenport people. Or we might blame the legal people. Or we might blame the people who signed the contract, the Olympic gold swimmers. It’s a shared event this one, a mixed medley gold. All share the glory, and all share its antithesis.

In a week or so we will see the next Olympic Games, the Paralympics. The games will be peopled by those who are a bit more average than I am in body parts, but far above average in so many other aspects.

I guess it shows that we are all a bit above average in some things, and regrettably below average in other things. The skill of being real, of being a fully human person, is to make sure we have a good handle on what those things are. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the Paralympians will prove to be a little more above average than some of their able-bodied counterparts on that score.

I’m Glad All That’s Over

August 26, 2008

Or should that be – I’m Glad That’s All Over?

The Olympics, I mean. But you knew that.

I don’t mind the sport. That’s why I watch in the first place. And I’ve blogged a bit about my thoughts on the commentators. But I keep the mute button close by. And there’s cycling commentator Phil Ligget who is master of his craft and I’ve never had a problem listening to him. So even the commentators are not all idiots.

What I’m glad about is the end of the public display of how some nations treat their children, taking them from their parents and pressure-cooking them into sporting heroes for the sake of nationalism. The doctrine that the state owns the children of its citizens is quite wide spread. Pressure-cooking is alive and well.

But pressure-cooking people never really works. In any endeavour. The success it brings is limited in scope and comes at a high cost. Consider what was traded for each Olympic gold medal. What personal sacrifice was made, and by whom? And for what? And who has first decided that sacrifice will be made?

Time was, a winner was a winner. We knew that. We remember Herb Elliot and Roger Bannister running the four minute mile. We knew them as individuals. We applauded them as individuals. These days, it’s the country who competes. The Olympic winner is the nation not the athlete. We ride piggyback on the ability of one in a million, or one in a billion. We’ve become hitchhikers.

I loved the moment last week when a gold medal winner was asked how Olympic gold stacked up against all his other victories in national and local competitions. His said competing in his club events was as much fun as the Olympics. He was in it for the sport, for the doing of it, for the pure and simple engagement of himself and others doing what they loved most.

The commentator doing the interview couldn’t quite handle that. The answer got the better of his cliche-ridden thinking. The commentator wanted a bit of nationalism, a bit of jingoism, a bit of shared glory. He wanted to feel that he had a part in the victory. The commentator wanted to think that by putting his particular brand of pressure on the athlete he could own some of the real estate. He was a closet pressure-cooker, that commentator. He differed only in scale from the political and social planners who take a four year old child from her family and put her through a twelve year regime of instruction with the single aim of Olympic gold.

And I, for one, and glad it’s all over.

The Closing Ceremony

August 25, 2008

Oh dear, am I really going to do this? Please, somebody stop me.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse.

And the winner is…

August 13, 2008

I’ve heard a football commentator call “a head-high tackle to the solar-plexus”. But that was in the 1970s and we’ve come a long way since then.

And I’ve recently read a guy quoting his father’s opinion, “The Cadillac is the Rolls Royce of motor cars.”

But I reckon an Olympic swimming commentator scooped the pool with this one. “OK, the gloves are off, she’s tackled her opponents head on in a runaway victory and left them all floundering.”

Fair enough, he had one aqautic reference in there. But the rest is a masterpiece of fabrication. Somebody is paying this guy to say things like this. What a wonderful world we live in.

Every Point Counts

August 12, 2008

You know the trouble with the Olympics? It’s that we get bombarded by sports commentators. There is no more inane group of people on the planet. There orta be a law…

I’ve just watched Michael Phelps winning his next gold medal. The sports commentators comment? “Michael Phelps is the Tiger Woods of swimming.”

So I changed channels. Call it survival.

The other channel was showing the badminton, Korea vs Indonesia, mixed doubles. After one very fast play the commentator scored another win for inanity by putting on her most profound tone of voice and saying, “Every point counts”.

Where do they get them from?