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 2012 Olympics, General discussion
Merengue
Posted: Jul 28 2012, 01:01 PM


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I just realized we did not have a topic for general Olympic discussion so I have started this one. There already are separate threads for discussion of both the men's and women's football tournaments so place your comments on those sports in those threads. If there is enough interest to open other threads dedicated to a specific sport let me know but judging from what happened 4 years ago, most of our Olympic discussion ended up focusing on football (although there may be enough interest for a separate basketball thread too.)

Otherwise this will be where we discuss the opening ceremony, the closing ceremony, Tv coverage in your area, and any sport other than football. So have a go here. What were the feelings on the opening ceremony? I did not realize the NHS was such an integral part of British society! It must be to show director Danny Boyle though! laugh.gif James Bond and the Queen was pretty good. Quite unique. The boy meets girl story within the ceremony was I thought ridiculous. But overall a pretty enjoyable opening ceremony.

And the first major sporting event to finish was the cycling road race. While all eyes, at least from the US TV commentators were on pre race favorite Mark Cavendish from Great britain, I thought the retiring 38 year old Alexander Vinokourov taking the gold was a great story. Nice sprint by him at the end too to defeat the Colombian Rigoberto Uran. Those two and the rest of the breakaway pack took the sprint specialists like Cavendish out of the race.


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raconteur
Posted: Jul 28 2012, 01:34 PM


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The opening ceremony was pretty good, not anywhere near as lavish or breathtaking as Beijing 4 years ago, but who could ever equal that? But here in the US, the banal TV comments during the ceremony made it at times hard to bear, as this commentary rightly describes it.

The Queen and James Bond was good. But man what has happened with Paul McCartney's voice?

Anyway, much of these Olympics will be on tape delay here in the US so the swimming finals, whose results I just read about, won't be shown here for another 4 hours or more.

The cycling race was pretty enjoyable and nice to see the Kazakh Vinokourov win in what was already scheduled to be his 2nd to last race (he'll also compete Wednesday in the time trial then hang it up.) And the 38 year old winning was a victory for middle aged guys everywhere! biggrin.gif
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Rufus T. Firefly
Posted: Jul 28 2012, 02:52 PM


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The NBC coverage is just so sickenly banal as the article raconteur linked noted and not surprisingly overly chauvinistic but I guess that comes with the territory. But what is really frustrating in this internet age where I sign on and instantly find out the results, is that the events are on tape delay here in the US, few sports are covered live. 20-30 years ago that was acceptable, in the internet age it is not.

This article says the opening ceremony showed Britain's taste for protest and dissent. I think that is going a little too far but for an opening ceremony it was fine. I am more interested in the competition than the ceremonies.

Here is a projection of the expected medal winners in every sport, the projections are already proving wrong but let's see how close they eventually are to what takes place. At the least it gives you an idea of some of the competitiors to watch in a particular event.
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Yogi
Posted: Jul 28 2012, 03:23 PM


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QUOTE
The Queen and James Bond was good. But man what has happened with Paul McCartney's voice?


Paul McCartney just turned 70! That explains it all right there.

While the camera view from the base of the torch was fantastic, that was probably the least spectacular torch lighting ceremony I can remember in the last 30 years.

I know I am middle age and they weren't shooting for my demographic but the text message bit in that silly boy meets girl story looked more like a Benetton ad than something from an Olympic opening ceremony.

The Bond/Queen scene and the fireworks were great, the rest of the ceremony- meh.

I enjoyed the cycling too, but what happened with the coverage, the graphics rarely listed the leaders. Or have I become spoile dby Tour de France coverage in that regard? As raconteur noted, Vinokourov's win was a triumph for the middle aged guys! smile.gif

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Martin
Posted: Jul 28 2012, 03:42 PM


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Bloody hell, Paul McCartney is 70???!!!!

I pretty much agree with Yogi on the opening ceremony, the Bond skit and fireworks were the highlights to me. I always enjoy the athletes marching in and the chance to see some athletes who we will never see compete but it seemed to go by so quickly that individual athletes could not be identified other than the flag bearers and even the TV commentators noted the procession was moving extra fast this year, I guess that was so the ceremony could be completed in time after all the pre-march dramatics went so long. Beckham helping bring in the torch via speed boat was a kind of humorous touch but again I am with Yogi, a very underwhelming lighting ceremony.

On to the cycling, I like how Olympic road racing, as opposed to most professional races, does not allow radio communication and the teams are smaller 5 compared to 9. Thus teams actually have to race and not play so many cat and mouse games or overly rely on technology. So while the German and British teams were trying to set up their sprinters for a final push they lost track of the fact the breakaway pack had moved too far away from them to catch up. This just seems more like pure racing than the grand tours with all of their technological help.

Vinokourov's win does make for a good story for us older guys but he also was a convicted drug user, he served a 2 year ban about 5-6 years ago for using performance enhancing drugs. Then again perhaps in cycling it is more of a story of he was simply caught because he did not use a good enough masking agent! I'm not cyncial am I? wink.gif


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shelsoccer
Posted: Jul 28 2012, 09:49 PM


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I kept switching in and out of the opening ceremony. Who lit the torch? At any rate, I'm not a big fan of opening or closing ceremonies.

Our local sports columnist here in the Kansas City Star had an interesting take. Basically, that the ceremony was a fun, light-hearted approach -- something needed in a depressed world-wide economy with terrorism and civil wars swirling around -- as opposed to the over-produced ceremonies in Beijing. Not have seen all of either, I can neither agree or disagree.

The organizing committee did state in advance that they wanted to speed up the athlete march, and I think that's a good thing. I like seeing the athletes enjoying the moment. It's kinda cool to see (miniscule) delegations from Nauru, Rwanda, Nicaragua, etc., but it does get repetitious. And, with the Olympic schedule what it is, there are a lot of athletes not taking part (e.g., women's soccer players, swimmers) who were already in the midst of competition or who had events the next day.

Btw, the US team uniforms looked like something from the Love Boat. For non-Americans here, that was an old TV show about the crew of a cruise ship. Either that or I had vision of being led around the Acropolis by a tour guide.
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Sporting
Posted: Jul 28 2012, 09:49 PM


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The British cycling team didn't do themselves many favours with their, I thought, over-confidence, Wiggins saying he was going to lead Cavendish in for the sprint. When it came to the race itself, Wiggins and Froome did their bit, but some of the other teams didn't really do their share of the hard work in the peloton - no reason why they should have played in the Brits' hands, as it were, but the gap between the main bunch and the escaped cyclists got just a bit too much to close down.

Must disagree re the opening ceremony, which I thought was humorous, understated, fairly eclectic and which has been pretty much universally praised by media and spectators all over the world. Maybe you needed to be British, though, to get all the references?

There were quite a few gaps in the swimming (and other) events due to sponsors not getting rid of their tickets or members of that horrible phrase, the "Olympic family" simply not turning up. Same old story...
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hobbes
Posted: Jul 29 2012, 04:45 PM


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I quite enjoyed the opening ceremony. It had a bit of wit, charm and soul that is so often lacking in these things.

I was pretty impressed by the industrial revolution sequence, I thought the James Bond bit was good and Rowan Atkinson made me genuinely laugh and I can't remember the last time that has happened at an opening ceremony.

I actually changed the channel for a minute during the modern family part and ultimately it ended up being one of my favourites. I missed the transition, but by time they were texting and falling in love to a spree of British hits, I was enjoying it a lot. I liked the pogo-ing punk rock chickens tremendously and I thought it was brilliantly subversive that Danny Boyle (who I've been a fan of since Shallow Grave) dropped Pretty Vacant by the Sex Pistols and Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood in the middle. The latter was banned by the BBC and the former was written with the express goal of getting a certain crude word on the radio.

When I watched Vancouver's ceremonies I enjoyed them, but in no way did they reflect anything that had anything to with my life as a Canadian. They hit all of the predictable notes. In that way I thought the multi-cultural, clubbing, texting mad, family section actually reflected a little what life is actually like in England right now and so for that alone I was okay with it.

I thought our commentators were bad for talking over Dizzee Rascal (I'm sure they wouldn't dare talk over someone singing, but rapping? Sure . . .), but after hearing the NBC stories, I'm glad I get to watching up here.

I was watching the cycling, but switched over the to women's football. I was cheering for the breakaway pack to stay broken away. I thought the British were far too casual in letting such a larger group make that kind of a break. The pelleton can reel people in well, but not a pack that big.

cheers,
hobbes


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Und ich habe der Mannschaft gesagt: Wer sich nicht bewegt, kann nicht mal gegen Kanada gewinnen! - Joachim Lw
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autogol
Posted: Jul 29 2012, 07:52 PM


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A review of day 2 of the Olympics, with a slight emphasis for a US audience. Read the story on the 123 lb North Korean weightlifter who lifted 370 lbs.! Over 3 times his body weight! And the N.Korean lifter was not even in the group of pre competition favorites.

And from the link, the story of the women'scycling road race,

Marianne Vos of the Netherlands won the gold medal in the women's road race in a rain-drenched sprint, leaving Britain's Elizabeth Armitstead with silver and the host country's first medal of the London Olympics.

Vos, the former world champion, made a daring move past Russia's Olga Zabelinskaya to emerge from the three-rider breakaway. Zabelinskaya won bronze after a frantic finish through a driving rain that was reminiscent of four years ago in Beijing.
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Nkono
Posted: Jul 29 2012, 09:26 PM


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An exciting finish to the men's 4x100 swimming relay where France, anchored by Agnell, caught the US' Lochte at the very end. I know swimming is a very individual sport but it looked pre race to me like the US team was a group of individuals who did not really get along while France, and the other competitors were looking like a group of teammates. I doubt if that effected the outcome any but was something curious to me.

Anyway lifting 3 times your body weight is an absolutely incredible accomplishment, it probably won't be discussed much more as the games progress but that has to be one of the highlights of these Olympics.
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Sammy Maudlin
Posted: Jul 30 2012, 04:16 PM


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Never mind Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps, this seems to be the Olympics for swimmer Yannick Agnel, the 20 year old wins another gold tonight, beating Lochte, who finished 4th in the 200m freestyle. A South Korean and Chinese swimmer finished 2nd and 3rd. BTW when did Korea, China and Japan become so good at swimming? Those 3 nations are becoming real contenders in numerous swimming events.

Meanwhile Agnel is stealing the headlines, the guy is a dolphin in the water!
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shelsoccer
Posted: Jul 30 2012, 07:07 PM


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Japan has had an above-average swim team for some time. They haven't been strangers to the medal stand. The Chinese women have been strong, sometimes chemically enhanced, for a while as well. The Chinese men are relative newcomers, and I can't remember a S. Korean swimmer of note before today.
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enganche
Posted: Jul 30 2012, 10:41 PM


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South Korean fencer Shin A Lam gets royally screwed over:

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/olympics-fou...28265--oly.html

QUOTE
With time running out in one of the two semifinal matches for the women's individual epee competition, South Korea's Shin A Lam led Germany's Britta Heidermann by a single point. Officially, Heidermann had just one second to launch an attack and score a touch, which would advance her on to the gold medal match to face the Ukraine's Yana Shemyakina, a lack of time which all but ensured that Shin would advance.

Instead, the timing mechanism on the piste became stuck, giving Heidermann extra time to complete her attack and win the bout, which earned her the spot in the gold medal bout. Officials, unsure what to do without a true, official protocol to follow, eventually decided to award the victory to Heidermann.


How does fencing not have any set rules for such a circumstance?

We often complain about football's idiocyncracies but at least they have a codified set of rules.

And then there was the controversy at team gymnastics where a Japanese competitors score was reviewed and raised, moving Japan up from 4th place to a silver medal and knocking Ukraine out of a medal.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/30/...E8IUL2W20120730


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Prefiero morir de pie que vivir arrodillado
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Johnbuildr
Posted: Jul 31 2012, 04:54 AM


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Agnel has been the surprise story of the swimming events thus far, but since it has not been noted in this thread, let us not overlook which country is again dominating the Olympics in this sport. A check of the medal count thus far in swimming has the US well ahead with 12 to its closest challenger with 5.

US swimmers Grevers and Thoman ran gold-silver in the 100m backstroke yesterday.


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Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum



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TonyDE
Posted: Jul 31 2012, 09:20 AM


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Yup John the US usually does dominate in the pool and with so many races, one in each discipline for 50, 100, 200, 400 and 1500 meters, there are a lot of medals available. This is where the US usually stacks up on medals won.

Surprisingly Australia's swimmers have been kinda quiet in these Olympics, usually they are one of the stronger overall teams. But China are replacing them it seems as an overall swim power.
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