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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Everybody hurts

Yesterday was an extraordinary day at the Olympics. Usain Bolt's unreal 100m run, Rebecca Adlington's second gold in the pool, the coxless four's agonising overhauling of the Australians and a lot more. There's a lot of 20/20 hindsight on the radio about the power of positive thinking, the importance of discipline and coaches who say "if you really want to win an Olympic medal you should be prepared to shoot your favourite pet". The coxless four said they were close because they'd spent seven days a week in each other's company 365 days a year for four years. But do all these examples of athletes' unbelievable dedication actually prove anything? Every race I watch I find myself looking at the person coming last and thinking 'they must have worked every bit as hard as the person who came first.' As my mother would have said, 'you all deserve a medal'.

12 comments:

Dan W said...

It must be very dispiriting to run as hard as you physical can after years of intense training to finish 6th and see some newcomer cruise home hardly trying.

Little Johnny Jewel said...

I don't know which Olympics you're watching.

As any fule kno, there is actually only one Olympic event - swimming - and one competitor - Michael Phelps.




NB I am watching NBC's coverage in the States.

simbn said...

They all deserve to be shown too. I find it frustrating the way TV ignores non-leaders in all events. I was trying to see who the first non-African in the mens 10,000m was, who the first European was, but kept blinking at the wrong time. Showing all can only add to the viewing experience. Helps you appreciate the leaders' performances and there are potentially interesting stories everywhere.

Nice moment: an excited Brendan Foster exclaims "There's the bell!" just as we get a close up of the bell being rung. A nice Alan Partridge moment.

David Hepworth said...

I suppose in the near future you'll be able to hit a button and choose who you follow. We were just watching the final of the the men's steeplechase which looked for ten seconds as if it might be won by someone other than a Kenyan. There was quite a swell of "come on the tall French bloke!" there for a while.

Richard said...

I'm having to watch it on NBC too. I hope the BBC are doing a better job! The NBC coverage really only ever concentrates on one or two of the competitors. Usually the American (or a foreigner who went to an American college if there is no real American in it) and whoever their closest rival is.

For any kind of track race they don't even show each runner as they line up in their lanes. So you don't really know who was in the race until it's over and they show the results. It takes away the whole feeling of the games being a global event for me.

Matthew Rudd said...

I'm surprised at the 'different' coverage between international broadcasters - I thought that the pictures were all beamed from Chinese TV.

charliemingles said...

As Jerry Seinfeld said, in these short races the differences between 'Greatest guy in the world' and 'No, never heard of him' is often just a photo-finish the size of a pimple.

simbn said...

Credit where it's due the BBC's live coverage has generally been brilliant, totally on the ball and informative. Top marks to Cram (I felt his absence from the steeplechase commentary somewhat), and Phil Jones's interviews.

Andy Franks said...

And to think that it all started so brightly for the Aussies! Barely a hint of the dreaded Union Flag on the medal podium, smug editorials in The Australian and the most biased commentary imaginable on Channel 7 - A sort of Neighbours meets TV AM directed by a fair dinkum descendent of Leni Riefenstahl.

But then everything changed, the world ever so slightly shifted off its axis and Team GB started winning. Not just a gallant bronze here and a plucky silver there. No, it was a blur of gold, the British medal cabinet loked like a mash up of the inside of an Aztec temple, Auric Goldfinger's most lurid dreams and the valuables bag at a charity match between the So Solid Crew and the premier league's finest.

Quite simply there has never been a better time to be in Australia, apart from 2003 RWC, 2005 The Ashes and 2007 RWC (1/4 finals).

Bliss, pure unadulterated gold smothered bliss!

Expatmum said...

I'm watching NBC too - so only the Americans are winning anything over here!
Re - the question about what makes a winner, I was listening to a Tiger Woods interview a few months ago and he was asked that sort of question. He said it was definitely his focus - he gets up in the morning, thinks about the number he needs to make and sticks it in the front of his mind. (Obviously has to have a modicum of talent too.)
I have tried to employ that technique while doing ridiculously hard yoga - focus really hard on not making yourself look like a complete wimp. It actually can get me a few extra seconds in my position from time to time.

Piers Moron said...
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Piers Moron said...
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