Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympify Me

It was a fantastic 16 days of competition, spoiled only by Channel 7 and Southern Cross interrupting the broadcast on weekends to show the AFL. That and Rebecca Wilson on Yum Cha (an excellent daily olympic themed show despite Wilson).

I write this as the Closing Ceremony beams into my lounge and that of countless viewers around the world (ooh, more drummers). I've had my backside firmly planted on the couch for two weeks (and am more than a little eager to get some exercise tomorrow!).

Our coverage here was, of course, biased towards Australian athletes with little else being shown, though SBS to their credit did show some of the less popular sports from an Australian perspective.

It was weird in a way that because we did well in Sydney and Athens, there was an expectation that the Aussies would do just as well, if not better, in Beijing. And we didn't. But, China's astonishing medal haul, along with that of the USA, aside, we did very well. As did Great Britain who are showing ominous signs for London in 2012 (and, it has been pointed out, won a lot of their medals sitting on their bottoms).

I did enjoy some sports more than others. Swimming and athletics were obvious highlights, especially Mr Phelps and Mr Bolt.

At the other end, gymnastics, diving, boxing, equestrian, BMX, and anything synchronised, head my list of events that continually puzzle me by their presence in the Olympic Games.

But no ranting now as it's time to sit back and bathe in the 16 days that were, and look forward to the next Commonwealth Games in Delhi and the London Olympics. There is a high probability I'll be doing just the same and taking leave for couch sitting then as well.

Well done China! Magnificent!

Edit: OMG the Mayor of London is a scruff. Button up your suit man!

And another OMG! A London Bus that comes apart to reveal an aged rocker and an Idol winner. Puhlease. Following on from the fantastic Chinese pageantry it is just awful. Oh, wait, David Beckham. Well that makes it all better. Good grief. Let's hope they learn how to do this properly by the time 2012 comes around.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Thoughts

Some Olympians seem to pride themselves on fashion. Take Stephanie Rice for example. She swum wearing green and gold earrings during her races. And female gymnasts are all fashionable and sparkly.

Some athletes and sports, however, have no concept of fashion. In particular I'm pointing the finger of unfashion right at the Handball goalkeepers. They wear trackie daks for goodness sake. Daggiest. Uniforms. Ever. Which leads me to ponder why the Aussies are so bad at the sport.

On another "what the?" note, I've added a few choice Olympic quotes over at my other blog Whimsy Askew. Enjoy.

Friday, August 8, 2008

2008 Olympics - Opening Ceremony Live Blog

Well, yes it is sport, but it is the Olympic Games so as games they are valid fodder for this blog.

Opening Ceremony Live On Channel 7 HD

(Times are Australian Eastern Standard Time - 2 hours ahead of Beijing)

21:50 - Olympics in HD baby. Volume turned up for drums.

21:51 - Aw kids are cute. Not so for TV host who doesn't bother welcoming Tasmania. Oh, the HD coverage has stopped. Standard def now shows a weather report. Looks like they screwed up the switch locally.

21:55 - Finally back to the Opening Ceremony. 'Bout time. The Giggling One and I are a right pair of geeks sitting on the couch with our laptops.

21:57 - Cool drums that light up. Epilepsy fits ensue.

21:59 - Drum light count down. Wow!

22:00 - Must watch TV and not computer screen. Chinese mega haka.

22:05 - Drums, glow sticks and fireworks. Very impressive.

22:06 - Dem rings they are a flying.

22:09 - Obligatory cute as buttons kids.

22:12 - Disconcerting the way the HD signal cuts to generic scenic pictures during ad breaks.

22:16 - The great Chinese tradition of RPGs is shown with the unveiling of a scroll. I think it involves finding the man with the leaky hand.

22:20 - Someone stuck giant darts in all their heads.

22:26 - They should have done Space Invaders on their giant typewriter. Nonetheless very impressive. Again.

22:28 - Puppets! Recreating the lonely goatherd scene from The Sound of Music by the looks of it.

22:34 - The oar dancing is seriously impressive.

22:38 - Thanks to the commentator I now know that the history of China is very sumptuous. Feeling peckish?

22:41 - No safety nets for the guys on the pillars? Quick, call the Health & Safety Rep.

22:44 - Chinese fluoro disco dancers.

22:45 - The disco guys form a giant dove/blob.

22:47 - The Beijing Nikki Webster. She's got a crappy music career ahead.

22:51 - These Channel 7 commentators are AWFUL. Where are Roy & HG when you need them?

22:58 - According to the commentators the birds on the giant screens are symbolic of the green a city of smog.

23:00 - The Giggling One has just found an online news site article about the whole opening ceremony written in the past tense with a post time of one hour in the future from now. It's a time travel conspiracy.

23:07 - Hoorah - the commentators have been given the boot and Bruce McAveney is in the chair. Just in time for more drumming. They like drums in China.

23:09 - Ah, now we find why Bruce and Sandy Roberts are behind the mic now - it's time for the competitors to come in.

23:10 - Greece enters first. Who woulda thunk it?

23:11 - We get a lesson in the Chinese alphabet as Guinea come in 2nd followed by Guinea-Bissau. Then we have Turkey.

23:12 - The marshals are going to get very tired if they have to bounce for the whole parade.

23:13 - OK, I'm not blogging every team. Instead I'll see what facts I can share from the wisdom of Bruce and Sandy.

23:18 - "When you think of Bhutan, you think of archery." Um...OK.

23:29 - OMG, there are 204 countries marching? I didn't realise there were that many. *stifles yawn*

23:40 - Chad's 100m runner is 15 years old. Fast little blighter.

23:45 - As well as blogging, I'm chatting with friends on Skype and we're creating a drinking game to get us through the parade. So far it's a drink every time judo is mentioned, every time we spot a handy cam, and whenever "Dick Pound" is mentioned.

23:53 - We're not drinking enough. We've added mentions of greco roman wrestling, and shots of Juan Antonio Samaranch.

00:00 - "Judo"! *drinks*

00:02 - The bagpipes are back. *drinks*

00:06 - "Judo"! *drinks* ... Handy cam! *drinks* ... Are we half way yet?

00:09 - The Giggling One (also participating in the drinking game) thought the "Albania" sign said "Alabama". I think she's keeping an eye out for Connecticut.

00:21 - Poor Bolivia have been competing since 1936, but haven't won a medal.

00:22 - The dancing usher girls are running out of puff.

00:27 - The USA team look like golfers.

00:42 - Four "judo"s in a minute. Thank frak we've stopped the handy cam spotting. I couldn't handle both.

00:57 - New Zealand. Led by a man wearing a dead sheep.

01:06 - Team #202: Australia! And aren't their uniforms awful. Though according to Sandy the uniforms are "quite sensational". Idiot. The Giggling One was more on the money. She said they put half their uniforms in a bucket of bleach.

01:09 - Finally China arrive to a thunderous reception (as you would expect).

01:23 - All the teams are in and we can now begin the final part of the ceremony. Hoorah!

01:34 - Wake me when the speeches are over...

01:36 - The games are declared open! (at least I think that's what he said)

01:44 - Soldiers steal the Olympic flag!

01:46 - Soldiers have a change of heart and raise the flag.

01:57 - Go the old fat bastards with the flame.

02:01 - He flies!

02:05 - We have fire!

02:08 - It's over! A pretty damn impressive event. Here's to the next 16 days.