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  • Beijing 2008, The Games

    Posted by Dan from Madison on August 10th, 2008 (All posts by )

    I am a sports junkie. Since I have been a wee lad I have loved sports and followed them. Watching them on TV has a somewhat calming effect on me, or lets me blow off steam. I get to escape the realities of my world for a few hours.

    Since I have been alive I have enjoyed the Olympics, Summer and Winter. The drug scandals and other controversies such as fixed judging and other things like that piss me off, but I always end up coming back. I just love sports.

    I would like to take you on a tour of the events that are featured at the Summer Olympics this year, and make a comment or two on them.

    Aquatics

    Aquatics include swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, and water polo. I like watching swimming. I have never been able to swim worth a damn, but like seeing others who can. Diving includes 3m springboard, and 10m platform. Also included are the 3m synchronized and 10m synchronized. I saw some 3m springboard women’s synchronized this evening. It is stupid. Two people do a dive at the same time next to each other and try to mirror themselves. Who came up with this? Water polo is a great sport and extremely hard to do. Synchronized swimming…well…no.

    Archery

    I would like to see some of this competition on TV, but think it will be pretty much impossible to find here in the States. I have thought about getting a bow, but don’t have time to shoot my guns properly so don’t need to pick up another hobby at this time.

    Athletics

    This is just a fancy word for the track and field events, which I enjoy. Too bad so many of the sprinters appear to be on ‘roids. There have been many medals over the years taken away from those using illegal substances. I like the hammer throw and some of the distance running events. Also, we gain from Athletics the person considered the greatest all around athlete in the world, the winner of the decathlon.

    Badminton

    This isn’t the little birdie net you set up in your back yard. If you have never seen competitive badminton you are missing out. It is like nothing you have ever seen. Don’t believe me? Check this out. Sadly we will not be seeing too much of this here in the US either.

    Baseball

    This is one where I wish the US wouldn’t compete. Our baseball season is going on right now here in the States, so we are clearly sending some second best players. This situation reminds me of when we used to send our college kids to play international pro players in basketball.

    Basketball

    I won’t watch too much Olympic hoops. It is good that we are finally sending our best from the US to compete. I expect a gold from our boys this year.

    Boxing

    Olympic sport since 1904, as it should be. I saw some boxing on TV today and they have an interesting scoring system. When one boxer hits another, the judges hit a button and a certain amount of judges have to hit their buttons at the same time for the boxer to score a point. Interesting stuff, but I still like the traditional 10 point must system better.

    Canoe/Kayak

    I don’t really have much interest in these, although the whitewater events are good for interesting viewing occasionally.

    Cycling

    Velodrome racing is insane, and I hope I can catch some of it. I have never rode in a velodrome but want to someday. There will also be distance road cycling events on top of the sprints in the velodrome. One of the best sports featured in the Olympics. As a side note I am disappointed that they included BMX in the Games now. Do we really need a medal in everything?

    Equestrian

    My wife is nuts about horses so will be trying to catch some coverage of the equestrian events. I don’t care about them.

    Fencing

    I like fencing. I have considered taking a fencing class in the past, but have my hands full with other things right now. Hope we see some of this on the coverage here in the States.

    Football

    Could you imagine if real football – that is, American Football – was played in the Olympics? We Yanks would win 100-0 every game. Alas, this is the ‘world’ football, what I call soccer. I am a closet soccer fan so will try to watch some, but in general it will be ‘kicked’ to the curb here in the USA.

    Gymnastics

    I think the pimping of the little girls in these international gymnastics competitions is disgusting. As I sit here writing this I am watching the Chinese team, whose girls look to be fourteen and under, competing. I have heard horror stories of these girls (all countries, not just China) having terrible injuries and higher rates of osteoporosis later in life. It makes me sick. At least the guys are a bit older.

    Handball

    This sport is not very popular here in the US, but is a blast to watch. Check it out. I would like to play someday – it looks like a great workout.

    Hockey

    Not ice hockey, Field Hockey. Another entertaining sport that is only popular in the Northeast section of the US. We will not see this on too much coverage here either.

    Judo

    I like Judo and the mastery of leverage and strategy it requires. We will also not see any coverage of this here in the States unless you can stream it. Believe it or not it has been an Olympic event since 1964.

    Modern Pentathlon

    This one is kind of crazy. These athletes compete in air pistol, fencing, swimming, show jumping on a horse, then a 3000 meter run. How do you train for something like that? Weird.

    Rowing

    I would like to see a lot of this. Rowing is a great workout and these athletes are top notch.

    Sailing

    I am not really into sailing, but may watch if it was on. I watch the America’s Cup when that is going on, and like it, and may develop a rooting interest if I could see some sailing on TV. I imagine I won’t though, since sailing is a long and slow event, not made well for TV.

    Shooting

    Since picking up air pistol I have developed an immense interest in the shooting sports. Events under shooting include air pistol from 10 meters and many other events including shooting .22 and skeet and trap. Again, we won’t be seeing too much coverage (none) of this on TV here in the States.

    Softball

    Eh, not much interest from me here. Go USA though.

    Table Tennis

    Hey, this isn’t your normal ping pong game in grandma’s basement. If there were one sport that I could pick to watch more of it would be this one. Check it out.

    Taekwondo

    Seriously? Really? This almost gets me mad, as I can think of a different martial art that is so much more interesting that could replace this one in the Olympics. And I have heard of a movement to get MT into the next games, although I think it will probably falter.

    Tennis

    Eh, I don’t really care about this one. Again, go USA.

    Triathlon

    I didn’t know that this one was an Olympic event. Crazy athletes doing crazy things. I would like to do a triathlon someday, but would have to practice swimming in a huge way.

    Volleyball

    The way these men and women play volleyball is absolutely incredible. I can’t even see the ball sometimes when they spike it because it is moving so fast. One better, how do they come up with some of those digs? I played volleyball in a rec league for a while and enjoyed the sport a lot. Hopefully we will see some volleyball coverage here as the Olympics move along. I like the court volleyball better than the beach stuff.

    Weightlifting

    The weight that these men and women lift is insane. I don’t know how the human body can do it.

    Wrestling

    A great sport. I particularly like Greco Roman wrestling, which is only the upper body.

    Cross posted at LITGM.

     

    4 Responses to “Beijing 2008, The Games”

    1. Steve Johnson Says:

      “Seriously? Really? This almost gets me mad, as I can think of a different martial art that is so much more interesting that could replace this one in the Olympics. And I have heard of a movement to get MT into the next games, although I think it will probably falter.”

      If the history of the UFC / Pride / K1, etc. show anything it’s that there is exactly one martial art that is absolutely dominant (in that no master of any other martial art can win a competition with a master of this art): Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. All they would have to do to introduce it to the olympics is change the competition rules for Judo; don’t stand the fighters up when they go to the ground, score ground positions (2 points for side control, 4 points for full mount / taking the back, still give points for take downs). Historically, judo grew out of jujitsu when they banned “deadly techniques” (eye gouges, biting, etc.). At that point the rules were similar to what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is today. The rules were then changed to the modern form so the crowd could see more throws which were thought to make for a more exciting sport. I think modern audiences can appreciate the technical skill involved in grappling on the ground. On top of everything, it’s fully in the ancient olympic tradition.

      Personally I would love to see that art in the olympics. There are 4(!) martial arts represented and only wrestlers ever win competitions open to all fighters. Isn’t that a bit odd?

    2. Steve Johnson Says:

      To be a bit more clear in my last paragraph. When single art fighters fight practitioners of the four olympic martial arts almost never win. Almost all of these wins are by wrestlers. Of the single arts, MT and BJJ are totally dominant. Modern mixed martial arts is all about knowing MT, BJJ and wrestling (MT for striking and defending, wrestling for take downs and take down defense and BJJ for fighting for position on the ground and submissions).

    3. Joshua Says:

      Did anyone else happen to catch this pretty serious gaffe during the opening ceremony? I see it’s been making the rounds on some China-watching blogs.

    4. Dan from Madison Says:

      Steve – I would love to see Jiu-Jistu in the Games. Why not? But I like the standup of MT as well, although MT wouldn’t really have that much interest worldwide. Then again, neither does ping pong.