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Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

August 13th, 2008 · Posted by Skuds in Life · No Comments · Life

Having a couple of weeks off work, and not going away anywhere, I have been able to watch a bit of the Olympics this week.  Today there was some eventing, women’s weightlifting and canoeing, leading to the normal speculations, plus a few unique to the 2008 Olympics.

For a start, the games are supposed to be based around a city.  They are the Beijing games, not the China games and yet the show jumping stuff is in Hong Kong.  It really helps to demonstrate just how big China is because Hong Kong is 1972Km away from Bejing.  That is like having an event in the London Olympics based in Tunisia (although Tunis is actually closer to London than Hong Kong is to Beijing by about 150Km!)  In 2012 the yachting stuff will be done in Weymouth Harbour. That sounded like a long distance away from london when it was first announced but is less than 200Km.  Practically next door by Chinese standards.

But I am not sure whether the eventing should really be an Olympic sport anyway.  Surely the horse does all the real work?   The evidence of that is when that royal couldn’t go to Beijing because her horse was injured.  Surely she has more than one horse?  If anything, the horse should get the medal.

There are other sports that I feel are not proper sports because of the subjectivity in them – basically all the sports where the result cannot be measured but depends on the opinions of judges.  When you watch the track and field events you know what is going on: you can see who is going faster in a race or that a jump is a long one, or that a javelin has gone a long way.  Watch diving and you can say “that was really good” and find that actually it wasn’t because the judges say so.  And that goes even more for gymnastics, especially the floor stuff.  If that is a sport then ballroom dancing should be an olympic event and so should ballet and break-dancing.

Not so sure about boxing. While it can be decisive – with a knock-out – it is more often decided on points, particularly in amateur boxing.  I think that its different to rhythmic gymnastics, ice dance and the like though, because there is no ‘artistic merit’ element: just scores for hits, like there is in fencing.

The other thing I don’t really get about the Olympics is the way different sports have different rules on professionalism so that Amir Khan can’t go to Beijing because he turned pro, but Roger Federer can go and play tennis.  If it was down to me I would cut out all the team sports like football, basketball and baseball, although beach volleyball could stay. Obviously.

I thought the opening ceremony was good though.  Fantastic fireworks, and some impressive synchronised drumming.  It was a bit worrying when all the teams came out though.  When the Iraq team entered there was a cutaway to George Bush raising a huge pair of binoculars to his eyes.  For a moment I thought he was about to call in an air strike.

Anyway, its all going well so far.  Team GB is on course to get quite a few medals in sports that involve sitting down again – cycling, horse riding, yachting, rowing, canoeing…  its no wonder that when the games were first held in London we included motorboat racing!

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