11 August 2008

A Little Relief

I've been watching a lot of Olympics coverage since Friday's opening ceremonies. I love the Olympics: the sports, the rivalries, the personal stories of triumph. It gets back to that whole passion thing.

What I have not loved at all about these Beijing games has been George Bush's presence. Ugh.  I'm SO TIRED of listening to interviews with him, seeing him snuggle with beach volleyball players, having the camera pan over him and Laura in the stands. I'm so happy that he's leaving Beijing today. Enough already! I couldn't care less what GWB thinks of the Olympics!

Favorite Olympic moments so far:
  • Park Tae Hwan winning Korea's first individual swimming Olympic gold in the 400 m freestyle
  • The American men's stunning win over France in the 4X100 m freestyle relay
  • And though I didn't see it and though shooting is not a sport that I enjoy at any level, kudos to Abhinav Bindra for winning the 10 m air rifle event and garnering India's first individual Olympic gold
What have been your favorite moments so far? And while I'm asking questions, what is up with the women's gymnastics team? Injuries, out of bounds, falling off the bars . . . yikes. On one hand, it's surprising to me to see those kinds of things happen with such frequency at this elite level. On the other hand, the athletes are so young, and under so much pressure, self-imposed and otherwise. May they find their Zen for the finals.

39 comments:

Rachel said...

I was going to be all cynical about the Olympics, but I find myself getting sucked into it. We watched the Korean coverage of Park Tae Hwan, and it was fun to see how excited everyone was.

Kristin.... said...

We're rooting for the basketball teams, the beach volleyball teams, and of course the swimming. I truly don't understand fencing, or why table tennis and badminton are sports, but whatever. We're bigger winter olympics fans, as there are 2 ice hockey players in this family (husband and daughter).

Anonymous said...

Actually - you COULDN'T care less. Aren't you an editor? Do you really expect the network not to cover the President of the US in China?

Inkling said...

We watched the opening ceremonies thanks to some friends letting us use their tv and cable while they are away, and I always love the part where the countries walk in with their teams. But this year I was disappointed because we were watching in Canada, and the broadcasters here decided to interview the Canadian team via one of the athlete's cell phones as soon as they walked in, pretty much leaving the rest of the countries in the dark. It struck me how each country biases its news according to its own nationality. Where does a girl go to just see the Olympics in total, without special homage being given to the western nations?

Snickollet said...

Anon:

Ha! You are right! I *couldn't* care less. Nice catch, and my error has now been corrected.

And of course I expect the network to cover the President being in China. I just don't find it interesting and I'm glad it's over.

-snick

Kate said...

Amen to the not caring about GWB and double amen to the women's gymnastics team needing to get it together. I was cringing left and right.

Kizz said...

Thank you for proving to me that I'm not the only one who is all annoyed at all that W all over my sports.

What I found amazing about the gymnastics is that, after all the screeching about how awful the girls were (and they were), they were still in SECOND PLACE! So how badly was the rest of the competition doing?

Lelah said...

I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was found that the Chinese were guilty of forging their women (girls!) gymnast's passports. Their team is comprised of children!

Karen said...

The opening was my favorite. I cried 5 or 6 times. It was just amazing.

Julie said...

Does anyone else find some of the NBC reporters really negative and annoying?! I agree with kizz--you would've thought the US team had blown their chance entirely, to hear the commentators talk! And someone needs to tell that Andrea person who is NBC's poolside reporter to lighten up on the athletes! Her interviews with Larsen Jensen and Natalie Coughlin (right after their heats, no less) were a little too intense for my tastes. This ain't hard news, people!

Bobbie said...

We're following the women's basketball team because there are two UConn alum on it. I love watching the gymnastics because I get such a kick out of the announcers gasping and crying about how each mistake is "going to cost one-tenth of a point"!!

Hey anon - I was a lowly business major. Feel free to edit my comment.

Snoopyfan said...

I am a total Olympics junkie! I love it all, but especially the summer games. The swimming (even synchronized!), the diving (even synchronized!), the gymnastics, volleyball, basketball...love it, love it, love it!

That being said, what the heck is up with Bob Costas' hair? That color is not natural and the haircut is circa 1980-something! It's so distracting! Gah!

LauraC said...

I said many times over the weekend that it frightens me Bush has nothing better to do than watch every Olympic sport ever.

suzi said...

I love the Olympics! The opening ceremony was simply stunning. I missed some parts and am trying to find it out on YouTube or somewhere. Seeing it in HD on Friday was amazing. As for the games, I LOVE to watch the swimming events. I was skeptical about how China would present these games, but they've been amazing so far and I am so happy about that.

Imperfect said...

My husband and I have been addicted to the games this weekend. I love swimming and my favorite moment is by far the men's relay last night! I wish the tennis matches weren't going to be at 3:00 a.m...

Heather said...

I have also been sucked into Olympics watching. Part of it is my love for China, and wanting to see how well they pull off a scheduling nightmare like this (so far so good!). But, I also like to watch any sport that I've ever been involved with -- gymnastics, diving, cycling, triathlon, swimming, and then the sports that I could never do but leave me in awe of other people's coordination (basically anything with a ball).

Suzi, I don't know about the opening ceremonies, but you can find most of the archived sport coverage on the nbcolympics site.

Anonymous said...

Anon: This is a blog. Whether or not she is an editor is immaterial. She is not working nor is she attempting to win any prizes so give it a rest. You can critize others personal thoughts on the day you become perfect, god-like and attain Nirvana... wait, hold on, if that were to happen you wouldn't be acting like a jerk because you'd know better.

Anonymous said...

My favorite moment so far was when I was watching Michael Phelps win his first gold in the 400m individual medley. He's a body length ahead of world-record pace, and I'm riveted. My older daughter, who will be 2 1/2 this week, looked up from playing and said, "Oh look! He can swim all by himself!"

Shosh said...

I love watching the gymnastics mostly because i used to do it and am still interested in the sport. but i find it heartbreaking to see these little girls who dedicate literally their entire lives to it, step out of bounds once and then its over for them, that little tenth of a point costs them a medal. you can somtimes see them holding back tears and i think that ruins a little bit of the fun of the olympics for me. i really think the pressure isnt so great! (btw, i also cant handle watching football because i hate it when the game comes down to one field goal and the guy misses, and then they blame the whole loss on him). so maybe im just a big baby!

Donn24g said...

I completely agree with your whole opinion. Totally into all the games, but totally over seeing George Dubya taking pictures with women in skimpy swimsuits after beach volleyball.

Go team USA!

Neurotic Grad Student said...

I have to second what Kizz said. The women's gymnastic's team is still in second place!! I think the announcers need to keep it all in perspective. The routines they are doing are DIFFICULT and they make mistakes. The injuries are too bad, but in the finals only three athletes compete on an event, so it's not like they're doomed.

My favorite moment was when they had the 33 year old woman from the former Soviet bloc competing for Germany on the vault.

I mean, some of those Chinese girls are like 12 or 13 and here she is, 33, competing at the Olympic level. Amazing.

Becky said...

What the gymnasts can do is incredible, but watching them kind of creeps me out. It's almost as if their bodies have been deformed by too much training, you know?

10 lbs of awesome in a 5 lb bag said...

I watched some of the women's gymnastics and the men's 4x100 relay last night.

Re gymnastics - comments from a former gymnast here: Tim Daggett is a great commentator. I don't know what Elfie Schlagel adds, if anything. And Al Trautwig, who also does Tour de France coverage, adds little to nothing, but that's what to be expected from a guy in that position.

I saw what struck me as the reason that the American women were going out of bounds a bunch on the floor - they took a ton of steps leading into each tumbling pass. Back in the day, we were told to take three steps, and it might have been a deduction if we did more. That said, something seemed off about the floor, maybe too bouncy, maybe not enough. I don't know that it was just nerves to send the girls off kilter.

Of course, none of that explains why they (and others) were falling off of the bars or fumbling otherwise.

And re President Bush: I have not been a supporter of his, and I only saw him last night during his interview with Bob Costas. I should give credit where credit is due. I thought that he said decent things, as he has to walk a fine line. China is a gigantic trading partner for us, and President Bush does not want to interrupt trade and commerce with such a huge partner, he has to be coy with any responses to Costas' questions about human rights issues. That said, I haven't been watching that much of the Olympics yet, so I haven't had a chance to see Bush pal'ing around with everyone.

Mijk said...

the 4 x 100 seimming finale. The american coach talking over and over how they could get the australians and then the dutch grabbing the gold! One of the swimmers is friend of a friend and it makes you even more fanatic ;)

Anonymous said...

I, too, am baffled at the women's gymnastics team. Both my mom and I were gymnasts (obviously not to that level!) and it was horrifying watching some of the simplest mistakes. But, we are all human, and on a good note, we do have some very powerful and graceful ladies out there competing.

Anonymous said...

I don't care for sports. So, I'm not watching. Even my sports minded husband doesn't care to watch. The political presence. One country trying to beat another. No thanks.

Hawkeyegirl said...

I've been very excitedly watching the swimming and diving. The American women on 3m springboard have only been diving together for 2 years so their preformance was impressive. I was also very happy to see the men's relay do so well against the 'smack' talking frech team.

Katie said...

From a GB perspective it's great to see us finally being able to compete on a world scale. I've also loved the rowing, particularly the womens double sculls, I went to school with one of the women rowing.
I love eventing so I've been watching all I can find of that, after poor dressage scores as usual we're pulling it back in the cross country; just a pity there's no Zara Phillips, anyone got some spare cash to buy her another high class competition horse?

Julia said...

Oh, glad you are as nauseated as I am. I wanted to throw things at TV when he was talking to Putin at opening ceremonies. BLAH!!!!
So glad he is outta there.

My favorite moments--

women's 4x100 relay. Dara Tores rocks hardcore. Natalie Coghlin, though? Not cool.

Men's 4x100. Awesome. Though the commentators could stand to stop making it out like the purpose of the win was to keep Phelp's hope of the record alive. Seriously, they make it sound like that fastest split in history was totally fueled by the desire to help Phelps to the record. How stupid!

Gymnastics-- I know. Hope they pull themselves together. It's going to be a hard competition.

buddha_girl said...

Oooooh I am from an Olympic Whore Family! We ADORE the Olympics!

One of my fav parts thusfar:
SWIMMING!

Specifically, Katie Hoff. She's a niece to one of my coworkers. Every time I see that kid swimming, I get serious goosbumps!

andrea said...

Totally off topic - about a week ago I finally got around to sending you a recipe for that "getting dinner on the table" post you did. But gmail seems to hate my server/email address and my emails often seem to end up in people's gmail spam folders if they don't have me in the address book. Can you just let me know if you got my recipe for chickpea tomato soup, please?
Thanks!
PS. I'm in Australia and even WE had endless footage and newspaper photos of Bush. Blurgh.

Juicebox Mom said...

I'm loving the Olympics, especially the usual as noted by many of you (gymnastics, swimming, etc). Also, I am loving the mens and womens soccer as it's our 'family favorite' sport. I really want to see the Brazilian womens team, apparently they are awesome.

One thing I'm hating is the commentating/announcing. The announcers for gymnastics and diving especially, seem very much like they've never really seen the sport or even researched it (certainly they are not experts). They keep saying the same thing over and over. Ditto with the beach volleyball, they've just repeated nearly the same commentary today as they they gave in the previous US games on Saturday night. If you can't think of something to say for 45 seconds...please feel free to not say a dang thing, we can handle it.

My daughter has announced she wants to start taking fencing lessons! do they even exist? I don't get that sport at all, but what the heck, will have to start researching.

Watercolor said...

I am loving watching the swimmers do so well. Wish they would show more diving. Don't care much for gymnastics to begin with - they are so young it just gives me the hebee gebees to think of children competing at that level, just creeps me out. Beach volleyball has been fun to watch. Water polo was interesting - never could see where the silly ball was though hardly. Can't wait for rowing to start! I just love that for some unknown reason, lol!

Watercolor said...

Also, totally agree about Bush. Who cares if he is there?? Not me. Saw one interview with him and he was asked that since the US is having so many serious issues at home right now, was that having any impact on the US's ability to maintain pressure on China's goverment blah blah blah. And Bush answers, "First of all, America doesn't have any problems at home, so no." oy vey. Show us the athletes!!! lol!

Aishah said...

I've been watching the Olympics with my 2 year old daughter and actually seeing the gymnasts fall off the bars and getting right back up has provided a great opportunity for me to teach my girl that falling down isn't the end, and that you should just dust yourself off and get back up and try again. Of course, she's only 2 and doesn't get the whole points system so this could all come back and bite me in the ass at the next Olympics

E said...

I am loving the Olympics, too - and even moreso now that that asshat is gone. Did you see the interview with Bob Costas? Oh how I wished I could slap that lying smirk off his face. As IF he really was that firm with Putin and China's president. LIAR.

Kerrie said...

The opening ceremony was just beautiful, breathtaking. I have to admit to having been somewhat cynical about how China was going to put it all together but it was just amazing.

As far as the events go, I find it hard to go past the swimming, I tend to have a preference for individual sports rather than team based ones....and also have quite a thing for the weightlifting. There's something strangely compelling for me to watch men & women life four or five times their own bodyweight above their heads and hold it there.

Kerrie said...

Oops...that would be "lift their own bodyweight", not life.

Bugger.

Anonymous said...

I am a long time reader, but never comment. I agree with the person who said that the gymnasts are not making simple mistakes - they are making small mistakes in enormously difficult routines. I also think that floor appears a bit off - overly bouncy. And as the mom of 2 girls, a gymnast and a swimmer, I have to say, these girls are NOT deformed, any more than the swimmers are deformed because they have big shoulder muscles. In a world where childhood obesity is a huge problem, surely these young women should not be criticized as deformed or creepy to watch for being muscular and physcially fit! The U.S. gymnasts are 16 minimum, the same age as some of the swimmers and other athletes. They are physcially fit, and dedicated to their sport, just like the any other athlete at the Games. No one says anything about the hours Michael Phelps spent in the pool as a 10, 11, 12 year old to be Olympic caliber by 16 in Athens. Why are the gymnasts critized for spending those same hours in the gym?