Olympic Thoughts

August 24, 2008

The Olympics are over and I’m sad. What will keep me up until all hours now; I’ll have to find something else. So I thought I’d wrap up with a few thoughts and observations before we forget about it. It’s like Erin’s closing ceremonies.

  • The Olympics used to be only for amateur athletes. But as professional sports grew in popularity it became obvious that the Olympians were not the best in the world anymore. Now almost all sports are open to professionals. One notable exception is figure skating in the winter Olympics. I think that they keep it that way because professional (what is popular for people to pay to go see) and amateur figure skating have two different goals. The former is purely to be entertaining while the later is to be as technically and aesthetically proficient as possible. In fact while the main focus of amateur skating is better and more difficult jumping, professional skaters remove difficult jumps they may fail to execute in favor of crowd pleasing dance movement. So the best skater is not always the most entertaining. That’s not the case in other sports. The better technically skilled a basketball player or a swimmer, or even a gymnast is the more likely they are to have professional success.
  • Two of Michael Phelps’s gold medals were won by relay teams. Including the second one when there was an amazing come from behind by the anchor swimmer, Jason Lezak, and the final record breaking eighth gold was the medley relay. It takes a team to be the best.
  • Jackie Chan was just singing in the closing ceremonies. I wonder if they’ll get Pierce Brosnan to sing at the London Olympics. (Wait I think he’s Irish… but he went to school in London does that count?)
  • In synchronized swimming, they do this thing called “deck maneuvers.” They are like dance moves that the teams do before they dive into the water. They are only allowed to spend ten seconds on them and they are not counted in the scoring at all. They kind of remind me of the way we used to do load in for theater competition in high school. We’d practice enough so that we could do it in silence and we’d enter and leave in a single file line. (People thought we were unbelievable pretentious, but I think that they were just jealous.) That certainly was not required and load in was only scored if you took longer than the allowed time and got points deducted. It’s all about making a good impression. If you have it together in the little things you’ll be more likely to have it together in the things that count.
  • I have one more but I think I’ll save it for it’s own special post. Let’s keep the party going.
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