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Author Topic:   2012 Olympics
caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 36 of 181 (669463)
07-30-2012 8:25 AM


I very much want the USA to do very badly at the Olympics, and it's all NBC's fault.
I found myself on their website on Friday, whilst trying to find somewhere I could stream the archery qualifications, and was distracted by the headline 'Have Russia and China closed the gap?'
Now, four years ago, that might have been a valid question, but given that China got 15 more gold medals than the USA in Beijing, now it just looks like the most appalling arrogance.
That aside - the road races were both good - lot of drama at the end, and I've been enjoying the swimming and archery. I can't get into Judo for the life of me, though. I can't quite figure out what's going on.

Replies to this message:
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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


(1)
Message 48 of 181 (669734)
08-02-2012 3:50 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by Blue Jay
07-30-2012 12:46 PM


During the Olympics, I usually feel like the coverage here is overly saturated in American pride and patriotism. It bothers me that the general American public has pretty much no interest in most of the events and doesn't even know how many of them are played or scored, but still has a profound interest in the USA winning lots of medals.
I think every country is the same - they suddenly become briefly interested in an event no one cares about when they're likely to win a medal. If I go to the local news here, I see a list of every event today in which a Czech is competing.
I think it's one of the things that seems worse in the USA because you're a big and rich country with so many successful athletes, so it's possible to spend the whole games only watching events American competitors are likely to do well in. If you're a small country, you might only have one athlete making it to a final of any event all day, if even that, so you have to fill in the rest watching the rest of the world, making you seem less parochial and small-minded.
ABE: I think everyone should choose a small country to cheer for in the Olympics, even if you're from somewhere huge. It's always nice to support a team that's only gonna get a few medals - they all seem that much more special.
For the record, my adopted country so far has one silver, the winning of which was full of drama. He only just made it to the final of the Men's Kayak slalom - ranked eighth out of ten. This meant that he went third, and then had to sit and watch seven others almost beat his time one by one (well, six others 'almost' - one did beat it).
Edited by caffeine, : No reason given.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 49 of 181 (669736)
08-02-2012 4:04 AM


On the perils of success
Another thought I had watching the Olympics yesterday. I felt a lot of pity for Li Xiaxiao, the gold medallist in women's singles table tennis. The final ended up being between her and another Chinese contestant, Ding Ning, whose name I confess I can't help but find hilarious.
On account of both contestants being Chinese, most of the crowd has no particular sympathies at the start of the match. However, once it became clear that Li was the better player, support went almost unanimously to Ding, whether because of a desire to support the underdog or just to make the match last longer so the crowd can get their money's worth.
Imagine that - thousands of people cheering uproariously every time you concede a point, and maybe twenty cheering when you score one. That's got to make you feel victimised.

  
caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 61 of 181 (669803)
08-03-2012 4:22 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by bluegenes
08-02-2012 4:09 PM


Sitting Down and Beach Volleyball
Finally, a gold in rifle shooting. Hurrah! It seemed that the point had been proven that the modern British athlete could manage to win a medal while remaining in an upright position for the duration of the event. Then doubt crept in. It occurred to me that they must take several shots in the final, and they quite likely spend far more their time sitting down between shots than actually shooting. So in some ways this seems the ideal sport for the relaxed modern British sitter.
What's happened? We've known for a while that we're pretty much a nation of armchair sportsmen, but has the armchair mentality now invaded the field? Are the British, inventors of so many sports, now leading the world into a new exciting era in which pretty much everything will be achieved whilst sitting on our arses? At this rate, you might see me medal in a future Olympics (gold for speed reading novels whilst lounging on a chaise longue).
Allow me to assuage your fears. I watched some of the shooting final, and they all stayed erect whilst waiting their turn to shoot. They actually all stand in a line, with the previous shooter walking to the back. It reminded me of school PE lessons for some reason.
On a completely unrelated note - am I misunderstanding the beach volleyball tables, or do you actually get a point for losing? That reminds me of primary school even more - three points for a win, two for a draw, one for 'taking part'.

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 Message 57 by bluegenes, posted 08-02-2012 4:09 PM bluegenes has replied

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


(2)
Message 64 of 181 (669806)
08-03-2012 6:25 AM
Reply to: Message 52 by bluegenes
08-02-2012 8:05 AM


Intrigued by bluegenes idea of a per capita medal table, and not having anything perticularly important to do in work, I thought I'd try and work out whose leading so far if you count by population. Frako will be pleased to hear that Slovenia are currently top of the per capita table, with one gold for every 2 million people (ie. the entire population) Here's the top ten, listing population per gold medal. Being English, I'm delighted to point out that Australia are only in 17th, Great Britain 11th, and the USA 14th.
1. Slovenia - 2.05 million
2. Lithuania - 3.19 million
3. New Zealand - 4.43 million
4. Georgia - 4.47 million
5. Hungary - 5 million
6. Kazakhstan - 5.53 million
7. North Korea - 6.01 million
8. South Korea - 7.14 million
9. Netherlands - 8.42 million
10. France - 10.89 million

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 66 of 181 (669812)
08-03-2012 8:20 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by frako
08-03-2012 7:46 AM


You didn't last at the top of the per capita table for long though. New Zealand just got two golds at rowing, which would put them above Slovenia.
More importantly, though, the Czech rower took silver in the men's single sculls. That's two! Still nothing in the shooting, though, so I don't think this year will match Beijing.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


(2)
Message 69 of 181 (669920)
08-06-2012 4:03 AM


Gold!
The Czech Republic got it's first gold, in rowing, and medals in shooting and tennis as well. I've never even heard of the women's doubles team that got the silver, but there you go.

  
caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 75 of 181 (670025)
08-08-2012 4:54 AM


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?

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 78 of 181 (670033)
08-08-2012 6:45 AM
Reply to: Message 77 by Tangle
08-08-2012 6:16 AM


Re: Finsihing last in the final
You should have seen the Singaporean guy who got silver in the men's singles badminton. He looked like his mum had just died.
However, I take exception to this:
the UK is having its most successful year since descending from the trees
You seem to be forgetting the days when we ruled the world, and most countries were unable to or uninterested in competing. At the first London Olympics, in 1908, Team GB got 56 golds.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 81 of 181 (670049)
08-08-2012 9:28 AM
Reply to: Message 79 by Tangle
08-08-2012 8:29 AM


Re: Finsihing last in the final
Ah the glory days of empire.
According to a historian on the radio just now, the 1904 Olympics only had 22 countries (cf 200+ for 2012) and the UK fielded so many contestants that it was impossible to lose some events. One guy ran a race on his own.....and surprisingly, won gold. (And silver and bronze too?)
1904 was St. Louis when Americans won almost everything because most events only had American competitors. 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.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 82 of 181 (670050)
08-08-2012 9:34 AM
Reply to: Message 80 by Modulous
08-08-2012 8:58 AM


Re: Finsihing last in the final
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.
I got confused - it was final B I was watching, so that actually puts him in 16th place. 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.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 85 of 181 (670070)
08-08-2012 11:45 AM
Reply to: Message 83 by Modulous
08-08-2012 10:24 AM


Re: Finshing last in the final
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.
Many people get to come and compete at the Olympics without being the best, but they won't be 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). 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.
I've only ever heard people that live north of Birmingham use the word 'mardy'. Where did you pick that up from?
I am from north of Birmingham.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 122 of 181 (670523)
08-16-2012 3:41 AM
Reply to: Message 121 by Tangle
08-16-2012 3:18 AM


Yorkshire is a county of about 6m people (the uk is divided up into sections, there are 83 counties in England.) As a result of their success, they are now asking for independence.
There aren't 83 counties in England, if Yorkshire is considered a county. This is the count after the subdivision of traditional counties, of which there are only about 30 or 40. You only get 83 is Yorkshire is divided into South, East, North and West Ridings.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 124 of 181 (670526)
08-16-2012 5:36 AM
Reply to: Message 123 by Tangle
08-16-2012 3:52 AM


Counties of England are areas used for the purposes of administrative, geographical and political demarcation. For administrative purposes, England outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly is divided into 83 counties.
Er, yes, but Yorkshire makes up four of the 83 counties, not one of them.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1137 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 127 of 181 (670549)
08-16-2012 9:13 AM
Reply to: Message 126 by Straggler
08-16-2012 8:44 AM


Re: Is the U.S.A. a top sporting culture?
If the entire population of America had taken part and the US team had consisted of 300 million people I still don’t see how this would have made any difference to the eventual winners of individual events.
Of course it would have made a difference. The obvious one is that they would have won more bronze and silver. The US got the gold in Women's Eight rowing, for example, an event in which each country is only allowed one entrant. If the second best team of eight in the world is also American (I have no idea if it is), then they might well have won gold and silver had there been no limit on entry.
Even in events where the US didn't win gold, suggesting their entrant or entrants weren't the best, they're still likely to win more if they have more competitors, for the simple reason that the best team or individual doesn't always win every event. There are all sorts of lucky (and unlucky) coincidences that can contribute to a win or loss in any sport. If 70% of the competing hockey teams were American, their chance of winning medals would be vastly increased just because of the hugely increased number of chances for an American team to fluke a lucky win.

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