Sunday, August 10, 2008

Regarding the Olympics

First, I sympathize with those who have decided not to watch this year's games in protest of the IOC's decision to put the Olympics in China, a nation with a dismal record on human rights. These concerns are important, but I am nonetheless watching the games for two reasons: 1) I don't want to penalize the athletes, and this year's field of competitors is one of the best ever. 2) More importantly, China's hosting the Olympics has drawn attention to important issues (the aforementioned human rights concerns) that many people would have ignored or been unaware of were China not hosting the games. The Olympics have become an occasion for calling China to task.

That said, here are a few thoughts on the actual competition:

  • I noticed that Michael Phelps is one of the few elite swimmers who uses a flip turn in the transition from backstroke to breaststroke in the individual medley. It's the little things that make him so great.

  • I'm not sure whether to be impressed or concerned by the number of world records that have been broken in swimming so far.

  • Whenever I watch volleyball at an elite level, I wonder why it isn't more popular as a spectator sport either in the U.S. or elsewhere. It's fast-paced yet easy to follow; it has no shortage of spectacular plays and translates well on television. Yet the U.S. has no indoor professional league and the pro beach volleyball circuit doesn't even have a page on Curious.

  • The most exciting non-swimming event so far, in my opinion, was the men's cycling road race. Watching made me wish I'd paid more attention to this year's Tour de France.


Blogger Dr. Tony said...

I like watching the sports, especially some of the sports that don't make it in this country (team handball, anyone?). And it is fun listening to the announcers struggle to get the names of the countries and many of the athletes pronounced correctly. That is an Olympic sport in and of itself. :)

I put in my thoughts about the Olympics and protest in my own post for August 10th. Which Way Will You Go?

9:02 AM  

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