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Author Topic:   2012 Olympics
Modulous
Member (Idle past 97 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


(2)
Message 8 of 181 (669237)
07-28-2012 11:05 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
07-28-2012 8:24 AM


Despite my initial cynicism I loved it, but it seemed to me that most of the world must have been baffled.
I've only seen the first bit, I'll watch the rest later. I was both gladdened and saddened by it.
I liked the capitalists overseeing the rise of the industrial age while the suffragettes protested in the background. But it was quite sad to see the lovely green and pleasant land turned into a smog belching workhouse -forging the Olympic rings at the expense of the countryside.
And naturally, the Queen parachuting in with James Bond was great. Most foriegners are probably unaware of the Queen's famous grand entrances with secret agents - so it was good to see it shown to outsiders.

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 97 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 25 of 181 (669357)
07-29-2012 12:33 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by jar
07-29-2012 12:08 PM


Re: on travel
It's not so much just being comfortable at home, it's that there is a lifetime of variety here. I've spent over a half century exploring the US and have still not made it to every state.
While that is true - it is variety within a common culture. You find much the same TV, basically the same shops, the same language, and so on.
Americans are cursed in that there aren't many nations with a significantly different culture very nearby. Texas is pretty different than New York, but they are closer together than the Czech Republic is to Italy. In fact - the distance between those two is probably less than than travelling from one end of Texas to the other. And they are much more diverse in their cultures than New York is to Texas.

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 97 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 80 of 181 (670046)
08-08-2012 8:58 AM
Reply to: Message 75 by caffeine
08-08-2012 4:54 AM


Re: Finsihing last in the final
So, when you're the Kazakh guy in the final of the men's canoe sprint, and you cross the line long after everyone else has finished, are you happy because you're one of the best eight canoeists in the world, or miserable because you're last?
I'm pretty sure the Kazakh guy is not the 8th best in the world. He's just one of the best rowers in Kazakhstan. There are probably many more (say) Brits that can beat him than just 8.

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 Message 75 by caffeine, posted 08-08-2012 4:54 AM caffeine has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 82 by caffeine, posted 08-08-2012 9:34 AM Modulous has replied

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 97 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 83 of 181 (670056)
08-08-2012 10:24 AM
Reply to: Message 82 by caffeine
08-08-2012 9:34 AM


Re: Finshing last in the final
But are you only allowed one entrant per nation in canoeing? That seems odd. Most events where you compete as an individual or a couple allow multiple entrants from the same nation - China seemed to get silver and gold in most of the table tennis, after all.
In canoeing I believe it is one boat per country per event, though I might be wrong. I don't know how one qualifies to canoe for one's country, but I suspect it involves a minimum time or position in a certain championship (as courses vary, so too will times).
There are also two places that can be handed out at the discretion of the relevant sporting body.
The sport I am most familiar with is Track sprints. In the 100m for example, you have an A-standard qualification time (10.18s), but there's also a B-standard which is about 10.24 along with a bunch of wildcards for countries that simply lack athletes that can get those kinds of times.
So it's possible for a small or non-sprinting country to have someone with a SB of 10.3 get selected to compete, even though they'd be nearly a second slower than the winners. Take for example J'maal Alexander from British Virgin Islands who only just managed to sneak under 11s in qualifying - and that was a pretty good run from him (just over a 1/10th of a second slower than his best). In the UK, I've raced against people that fast (and lost, incidentally) - and I'm hardly an elite athlete.
That doesn't make them 85th fastest in the world. There are probably a a crapload of Americans that can get under 10.8, but they don't get selected because they have three athletes that can run under 10s and that's as many as they can send I believe.

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 Message 82 by caffeine, posted 08-08-2012 9:34 AM caffeine has replied

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 97 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 84 of 181 (670058)
08-08-2012 10:26 AM
Reply to: Message 81 by caffeine
08-08-2012 9:28 AM


mardy arse
London 1908 was a bit more diverse than that, and the guy only ran the race on his own because the two other entrants (both Americans) threw a mardy about the rules, but I get your point.
I've only ever heard people that live north of Birmingham use the word 'mardy'. Where did you pick that up from?

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 97 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 86 of 181 (670073)
08-08-2012 12:14 PM
Reply to: Message 85 by caffeine
08-08-2012 11:45 AM


Re: Finshing last in the final
In the 100m sprint, they'd have to makes it through the preliminaries by beating the other slow runners, then qualify from the heats, and then from the semi-final, which nobody there on a wildcard is going to do (unless they've been hiding some considerable talent).
Absolutely.
Sure, it's unlikely that the eight guys in the final are going to be literally the eight best in the world, but I think at that point it's an acceptable pretence.
Maybe, but there's wiggle room. As I say, in an event like canoeing you'll probably find some countries have a lot of talent that eclipses our Kazakh friend. In the 100m sprint for example, we were missing Mike Rodgers, Darvis Patton and Nesta Carter - all arguably faster than Churandy Martina (who came 6th). But sure, its certainly the cream of the crop.
To answer your question directly
quote:
are you happy because you're one of the best eight canoeists in the world, or miserable because you're last?
You are probably happy when you qualify for the final, but a bit dejected at coming last.
It all depends how you get there though really, if getting to the final is achievement enough, the position is less important. But if you are looking for Gold and you get 6th, that hurts a thousand times more.
Sometimes a Bronze is the best thing ever, other times it represents abject failure.
I've only ever heard people that live north of Birmingham use the word 'mardy'.
I am from north of Birmingham.
Ah, that explains that in a nice tidy package.
Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.
Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 97 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 88 of 181 (670142)
08-09-2012 8:42 AM


Usain Bolt did not run 100m in 9.63s (according to Bolt)
Of course, the time was rounded down (it was initially recorded as 9.64) so it was probably 9.634 or something. That's kind of picky, but then so is the video

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 97 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 139 of 181 (670616)
08-16-2012 2:27 PM
Reply to: Message 136 by Straggler
08-16-2012 12:12 PM


Re: Is the U.S.A. a top sporting culture?
Look I could get as many pub football teams together as is humanly possible and I can pretty much guarantee that the only way any of them will beat the Spanish national football team is by causing the Spaniards to fall apart laughing.
Well yes. But if you pitted your country's 100 top clubs against the Spaniards you have a better chance of someone from your country beating the Spaniards than if you fielded only your top club.
But I seriously question the idea that the US had this mass of world class athletes sitting at home who would have won the medals that other countries won if the US team had been larger. That is just nonsense.
Well, there was the controversy that Britain faced in the cycling. We'd have arguably won even more medals had they not put those limits on the entries.

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Replies to this message:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 97 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 142 of 181 (670623)
08-16-2012 3:14 PM
Reply to: Message 140 by NoNukes
08-16-2012 2:49 PM


Re: EU Medal Count!!!
The agency denied it was attempting to upset the people of the UK but then disparagingly referred to Britain as 'the island.'
A spokesman said: "We didn't do it just to annoy the Brits. But then we have already received tons of mail from the island."
I like the way the Express has to tell us it is disparaging - presumably because its a perfectly innocuous thing to say. Marina Yannakoudakis is a moron, is Britain alone in having so MEPs that get gripey at Europe at any opportunity? Since when is grouping all the EU countries together and counting the medal totals together 'imposing a federal identity on nations'? It's on the EU website, its not as if its a mandate or anything.
Some people...some tabloids.

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 97 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 145 of 181 (670643)
08-16-2012 6:55 PM
Reply to: Message 144 by NoNukes
08-16-2012 6:19 PM


Re: United States of western Europe vs. the Dream Team.
Are the two parts going to give up all of the extra event entries they get by being actually multiple countries?
Why would Europe need to send Lawrence Okoye? They could just send Robert Harting, Gerd Kanter and Virgilijus Alekna to pick 1st, 3rd and 4th in discus.
Why bother sending Daniele di Spigno when Europe could send Peter Robert Russell Wilson, Hakan Dahlby and Richard Bognar and secure 1st, 2nd and 6th in double trap shooting.
I think it wouldn't hurt our medal chances to lose Barbara Benko from the hypothetical European team if we just send for instance Julie Bresset, Sabine Spitz and Esther Suss to take another two medals for Europe.
Granted, it's not always the favourites that perform on the day, and currently Europe has the advantage of 'substitutes' essentially in the event of sub-par performances or bad luck or what have you, so the medal numbers would, I would guess, go down.

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 97 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 154 of 181 (670680)
08-17-2012 8:54 AM
Reply to: Message 151 by Straggler
08-17-2012 8:32 AM


Re: Is the U.S.A. a top sporting culture?
I am not saying that the restrictions make no difference at all to any country or any event. I am saying that the idea that the US specifically is being woefully disadvantaged in terms of per-capita medal position because it has a huge swathe of world beating athletes sitting at home as a result of those pesky restrictions just doesn't appear to be true.
I completely agree that the effect, if any, would be small for many events.
But where luck plays a significant role (ball games spring to mind, but gymnastics too), sending more competitors could make a difference.
In some events where the top 5 are completely dominant and luck is less of a factor (like the 100m), the effect more or less vanishes.
I am essentially agreeing with Bluegens analysis above. That is what I am referring to here when disputing those (Oni and Caf) who seem to be arguing that the US specifically is somehow at a great disadvantage because of the participation limitations in individual events.
And I agree too. But there is a disadvantage to being a large individual country as opposed to a collection of smaller ones, however small. If the US could send three competitors/teams per state I expect they'd do a bit better.

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 97 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


(3)
Message 165 of 181 (670882)
08-20-2012 2:48 PM
Reply to: Message 163 by NoNukes
08-20-2012 10:48 AM


The US has a system for preparing athletes for the Olympics as does every other country that won an appreciable number of medals. But the US system does not pervade the US culture. The system only impacts the few athletes that are identified as having world class talents.
There's more to it than that. From watching American Movies and TV, it might be unremarkable for a high school or university to have its own athletics track. I don't know how common it is, but I'm willing to bet its more common than it is in the UK where most schools have (at best) a grass field that once a year gets a track painted onto it for a sports day.
If it is the case that there are more tracks per capita, that kids have much easier access to tracks, then it stands to reason that there is a better chance of 'capturing' potential world class sprinters. A good solid grass roots system is essential to consistently producing world class athletes.
The system doesn't just impact only the elite - it impacts everybody, and helps (or hinders) elite athletes realize their potential.
And it is not like the US gov't dumps huge amounts of tax payer money into training athletes. US athletes are not state sponsored.
A state can encourage track and field by investing money into facilities and systems for picking out future athletes. Then there are grants and the like, these may come from a government, or a private institution or a sponsor.
Furthermore - a culture doesn't have to be state sponsored to be a culture. A culture which glorifies academics over sport, may find that they are less successful in sport. A culture that rewards sporting success with for instance acclaim or wealth, will probably do better in sport than ones that don't.
But this I respectfully disagree with. The US has a higher medal count, using any metric you chose than both large countries four times it size, and small countries. The count includes far more gold medals than anyone else. I think that's impressive.
The point is that having more medals than a country with a smaller population is not in itself all that impressive. Out of every 3,000,000 Americans, 1 is a 2012 Olympic medal winner. It was about 1 in 700,000 Australians. About 1 in 1,000,000 Brits. I chose countries with reasonably large populations to avoid outliers having a big impact. That said, Jamaica does consistently well for its size (almost always in the top ten per capita rankings over the past 50 years).
If we assume Olympiads aren't biased towards the Australian gene pool, for instance, then it appears that Australia is doing something to extract more of its raw talent and shape it towards Olympic success (and in recent history, 1 in 700,000 is a poor showing for Australia).
And naturally, we shouldn't expect poor countries to do so well, especially in certain sports. With less money for the people, they spend less on sport, which reduces their capacity to identify, and potentially subsidise the training of, a future elite athlete. Britain has a GDP/medal ratio of 37 (US billion), Australia, 39 and the US 145.
America was somehow less successful in extracting Olympic talent from the potential athletic people pool they had available and getting them up to an elite level.
That isn't to say that America has a poor sporting culture though, since the Olympics is not all sport, and few countries focus on an Olympic sport as their main cultural choice (Jamaica may be one of the exceptions). A young American teenage boy who finds out he can run 100m in 10.8 seconds has a choice: Become a wide receiver/half back whatever and if he has other relevant athletic skills, potentially turn pro in one of the many professional team spots available, and earn lots of money and acclaim (and failing that, get laid a fair few times). Or, hone his sprinting skills in a largely amateur sport, hoping to become one of a small handful of people able to command respectable sponsorship earnings/ appearance money/ prize wins.
In a country with such massive wages being commanded by the likes of professional (American) Football, Baseball and Basketball, and such small ones (if any) for Olympic events - it shouldn't come as a surprise to learn that many of America's finest athletes are doing things other than honing themselves for an Olympic event.
A per capita and GDP weighted measures are interesting, but it's not like they're the only thing worth looking at. But I think it's worth noting if people are going to suggest that having the most medals mean America is objectively the best or things of that nature. Whether or not its 'impressive' depends on how you look at it, really. Is it impressive that America won more medals than Grenada? Well no, its not. What is impressive is that Grenada won a medal. A gold one. In an event that has historically been owned by the USA. The men's 400m. He didn't just get a gold, he got in the top 10 times of all time. A list composed only of Americans (and now him), an event that America have won gold in (by my quick count) 19 times. Go Grenada. Though that's less impressive, given its probably rightly considered to be an outlier.
Is it impressive that America beat Britain? Well not really. You've got 5 times the size of talent pool and a whole host more money than us.
Is it impressive that America beat China? Well, yes, actually I think it is. Well done. China has a bigger population (and only 1 in 15,000,000 of them got medals) but America has more money. It's really the only fair direct competition that America has, and its a tough contest.
Is it impressive that America beat America? Wait what? Well you got the best Gold Medal count for a good long while (and 1984 doesn't count, I think), so well done that country there too.
In short - it's practically impossible to say that one country impressively 'won' the Olympics in any sense. Total number of medals (or golds or whatever) is certainly one way to look at it. And really, the only thing you can compare it to is your nearest historical rival, or your own historical performance. You certainly would be foolish to compare America to Grenada in 2012 and declare America the superior one based purely on total number of medals won.
On the other hand, per capita is far from perfect, although I think its best use is in comparing approximately similar countries. I think Australia deserves particular mention, for instance, for its sporting success considering its relatively low population.
And really, wow, I didn't intend to write that much.


I couldn't be bothered doing the maths myself, so the numbers are unchecked by me and extracted from Olympic Medals per Capita

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 97 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


(1)
Message 175 of 181 (671009)
08-21-2012 3:05 PM
Reply to: Message 166 by New Cat's Eye
08-21-2012 11:39 AM


per capita ratings are also not a big deal
Rather than defining "winning" as something that is practically impossible to say that one country did, why not just define it as whoever wins the most medals (weighted or otherwise)?
The only problem I see with this is... Its more about who is the biggest and richest country.
Right, and since we already knew who the big rich countries were, it's almost an entirely boring way to view the Olympics.
All it really does is make the saying that the US won the Olympics loose any realy value as a claim of something of any importance.
Well, it isn't something of any importance. Beating China is pretty much the only thing that can be called an achievement. In gold medals
2012: 1st
2008: 2nd
2004: 1st
2000: 1st
1996: 1st
1992: 2nd
1988: 3rd
So coming first isn't really something of importance. The third largest nation which the most amount of wealth did well at sports? Well, fantastic. If, on the hand, the Bahamas had the most gold medals, that would clearly be something of importance.
The only sensible measure for the US, as I said, are with itself and with China.
And for bluegenes to come out saying that if you disregard the biggest factors in winning the Olympics (size and money) then the US doesn't look all that impressive in its last remaining stat just looks like poor loser talk to me.
Objections to a perfectly legitimate way of making comparisons between nations of varying sizes seem to me like 'poor loser talk'. I'm willing to bet that if the United States happened to be doing well by those other measures, we wouldn't see the objections. If I was to point out that 3000 people die of asthma in the USA, compared with 1000 people who die in the UK - it would be foolish to suggest that the USA has a more serious asthma problem than the UK.
But think about it - bluegenes' team came third. By per capita measures they came 23rd. By GDP they came 41st. What's being a sore loser about saying 'technically, maybe we didn't do quite so well as the naive medal tables might indicate'?
So yes, as I said, a straight medal number comparison has its usages, but it isn't really all that interesting except as a means to compare ones self against historical rivals.
On the other hand, it is quite interesting to see how successful nations are at making the most of what resources (people or money) they have at their disposal. This system, I think perhaps for a number of reasons, actually disfavours the larger/richer countries, but no need to sulk about it, it's just a useful way of comparing similar-ish nations. For instance: for your size the US did well. It didn't beat Russia, but it did beat Japan and Brazil and China.
(and 1984 doesn't count, I think)
Why not? Does hosting affect your medal count, or something?
Well that can't be it, can it? After all, I'm allowing 1996, right? You did awesome in 1996, I loved the US Team in 1996. I'm definitely allowing it.
But no, it doesn't count for the same reason I won't hold it against the USA that they got 0 medals in 1980.
Their main competitors (East Germany and more comparably: the Soviet Union) did not show up. It was a boycott year, remember? That the US did really well that year is best left out as far as examining their relative historical successes.
Should that be taken into account for y'alls number of medals this year?
If there was a home-team advantage to the Olympics, I wouldn't get upset if someone made a medal table that attempted to account for this effect. Just like I wouldn't get upset at someone mentioning that Britain's Olympic 'win' in 1908 is not all that impressive.
Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.
Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.

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