Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympic Thoughts

I have been watching Olympics nonstop this past week, on NBC, CBC and live on the website. This resulted in a severe lack of sleep. There are of course some incredible moments in this Olympics, starting with the beautiful opening ceremony that is just full of class, elegance and awe - inspiring choreography. Zhang Yi Mou, even though I hated your movies, you did good this time! Of course we also had Michael Phelps getting 8 Gold Medals, Liu Xiang's injury (oh I was heart broken over that. Feel so bad for him!). But those moments were talked about well enough by many many other people. This post is about some of the more obscure and weird stuff I saw this week.

1. Intimidation at the Fencing Strip: Now despite have taken fencing class at school. I Have never really watched any competition on TV. And really no tv station would ever play this. So I was totally surprised to learn that when you think you scored a point in the fencing game, you have to basically scream, grunt and act victorious to the judge even though you may have completely missed.Apparently this is a tradition left over from more simple times when there is no electronic scoring. When the points are too fast for a judge to decide, it is dependent upon the fencer's confidence and aggressiveness in declaring victory to score points. Some of the women fencers are quite scary when they proclaim their awesomeness. Women Fencing Clip

2. Creative writing at 10k Open Water Swim: Now I just saw this today online. This is the marathon of swimming. A new event in the Olympics. There is no lanes in water like the shorter swimming events, basically everyone swim in this river and they all bunch up together jostling for the front spot. It looks terribly exhausting actually. But what I found funny is that since there are no lanes, there is no way to tell who is who very clearly in the water. You can't put a number on their swimsuit because the body is submerged under water. So in order for the cameras and the commentators to be able to distinguish between the athletes, all the swimmers have their number written on their arms and shoulder blades with a black marker lol. So when the camera looks vertically down at the swimmers. all you see is two shoulder blades with a giant black number on it!! How clever ;) The Women's 1-k Swim

3. Going nowhere at Track Cycling: This is actually the first cycling event I saw. I thought it was pretty weird that this sport is done in a indoor cycling track. The track looks like a racing track except it is made of wood and about the size of 2 basketball courts. The cyclist starts at the very top of the rim, slowly goes in a circle around the rim until a bell rings, in which case they zoom down to the very bottom of the track and run furiously in a circle til they cross the finish line. I suppose doing it in a slope eliminates the need of having to push off. But still kinda of a funny event if you ask me. Women's individual Sprint

4. Steeplechase: pretending to be a horse: This is the first time I saw this event in track and field. I fail to see the point of this at all. It is a race with giant unbreakable hurdles and a water puddle you have to jump through. Trusty Wikipedia says that this is derived from the Steeplechase in the Equestrian events. So something that makes perfect sense for a horse just looks kind of silly with humans haha. 3k Men's Steeplechase

5. Sailing: Ok, there is nothing really weird about this sport. I am just cruelly excited about the fact that weather has been horrible in the sailing arena the last couple of days. It was raining furiously and producing waves of 2-4 feet. So the most common occurences during the competitions is sending out the sailors to sea, while they sit in chilling rain, completely soaked waiting for the waves to quiet so they can start. And then 2 hours later, they are called back because the event has to be delayed due to bad weather hahaha. I know, I am mean :D Havoc at Sailing

Anyways, despite my amusements at some of the sports, I think this Olympics has been awesome so far. I am really proud of China for hosting it and making it such a great success and I admire all the athletes that strive for the best they can be.


Kabitzin said...

I watched the men's fencing when Keith Smart almost brought America back from a really bad deficit against France. It was really odd watching them always giving the fist pump after every move like they had done something awesome. It reminds me of martial arts forms where you have to yell loudly after every 3rd move. The experience seemed a lot dorkier than I expected it to be.

Kungfucius said...

I pretty much agree with everyone's feeling about the yelling in fencing. It just seems way over the top at times :P Also, there would be times where the fencer would yell yet they didn't end up scoring the point...

Velius said...

Well, as Moonfleck stated, originally, whoever scored a point was a judgment call so whoever seemed the most confident would have a higher chance of getting the point. Probably a tradition that has carried over.
Or, maybe they are just yelling out the name of their techniques each time, you know, kinda like in all anime.