So at the Olympics so far

This was pretty:

So was this:

And also, I was happy to see Andy Murray carrying the British flag, but there’s a bit of gloom about it too, because you have to wonder what flag he’s going to be walking in under in Japan in four years time(won’t be the Scottish one; I don’t think they could get an NOC together in time, but it might be the Olympic flag).
Meanwhile, Koreans are scarily good at archery, but we already knew that one, and the bicycle race went a bit crazy. So just your typical Olympics really. So far.

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The IOC goes with the greater of the two evils

The day Oslo pulled its bid was one of those times all Olympics fans with a conscience had to look inside themselves and ask: should we really support this thing?  This thing that takes taxpayer money that could do the taxpayers more good elsewhere, brings draconian rules upon the citizens of the city hosting it(I think there were a couple of horror stories in London), and lately costs so much the only countries willing to host it are the oppressive dictatorships that don’t care if their people don’t like it.  When it’s in a better country, one where the people are willing and able to come out and say what the Hell, might as well enjoy the party we’re paying for, such as happened in both Vancouver and London, things are better, but then they land in a country like modern-day Russia, and if we watch, we do so with our guilt weighing us down.

We knew, on that day, that in 2022 we’d be in the latter situation, now that the choices were down to China and Kazakhstan.  But then we had new IOC president Thomas Bach getting on it, starting to talk the talk about getting the costs down, trying to make it so the cities benefit more and suffer less, and he does genuinely seem to want to do some of it, unsurprisingly, because if things continue the way they’re going eventually the Games are going to run out of cities willing to host them, and he is no doubt aware that lately they’ve developed image issues that can ultimately do them serious damage.  There is, perhaps, the lingering hope that if we can just get through 2022, things will actually improve for the hosts to come.  Although it’s harder when the 2016 Olympics are now in the news for the wrong reasons too, and when their story had already been pretty ugly.

But Almaty would’ve been less bad than Beijing, especially in terms of human rights issues, although that’s very much relatively speaking.  And when one reads about the fact that another Olympics in Beijing literally means people will die because of the way they will go about holding them there, well.  And yet 44 members of the IOC voted for it, and only 40 voted against.  It may be a narrow margin, but that’s not going to make much difference to those who will suffer and die as a result.

Will someone tell those rich, snobbish IOC members during their damn aristocratic coffee breaks that maybe they should look within themselves too?  One wonders if it would be any use, of course, but still.  Even if Mr. Bach really wants to save this mess, will enough people go with what he tries so that he can?

In this world where it seems everything on the news and most reality TV and really the world around us in general is ugly and petty and depressing and often warning of dire times ahead for the majority of the world’s people, the Olympics ought to be a relief.  There is little as joyful as watching the men and women who have dedicated their lives to what they do fulfilling their life’s purpose, winning great victories and spinning great stories that we can remember when we need to remember the good things about the world.  But when they have this level of nastiness behind them, we come to today, another day when we have to ask: should we support this?

(It does not help matters that given how most figure skating competitions in China have gone, it’s a safe bet that at the Olympics there, too, the ice will be of slipshod quality, and the results will be a skating competition most will want to forget.)

This Week in Figure Skating, August 6-12, 2012

Done a little early(I recorded most of it in the early afternoon, though I had to wait for the junior events to conclude in Quebec and getting information about the men’s competition in Taipei was a huge pain) so I could have the Olympics closing ceremony on now. Or at least as much of it as NBC deigns to show. (Grrrr.) August 6-12, 2012

2nd Week of the Olympics

Saw less this week, between being too tired at night to stay up as long, and NBC not even showing anything before I go to work by the end of the week.  Left me quite put out to see the rhythmic gymnastics qualifying happening on my Twitter and being unable to watch, while knowing NBC didn’t even have anything else they were showing in its place.  Finally got it in 15-20 minute increments in between other things this afternoon, and I wish there had been more of it.  Loved the two Russian women, though, their ribbon programs especially.  And the Korean girl’s ball program.  And that she idolized Yu-Na!

It’s been a week, and I’m still not entirely sure the fact that Andy Murray is Olympic champion has sunk in.  Maybe it will by the time the US Open rolls around.  Every now and then I think about it and feel vaguely happy, but that’s all.  I’ve been feeling quite proud of the country my parents left long before I was born but we all still keep a very keen interest in.  As well as the women of my own country; I care less how many medals the Americans win in general but it’s definitely very nice to see the women do so well.

I’ve been more aware of Maria Kirilenko winning bronze, though, if only because of her boyfriend’s reaction, leaving me in the very awkward position of suddenly finding him adorable.

Right now I don’t entirely know what to make of poor Carolina Kostner’s doping boyfriend juxtaposed with her own withdrawal from the Grand Prix.  Not that I believe he’s lying when he insists she had no involvement or knowledge, but I think this is going to cause her more turmoil than her agent wants to publicly admit to, and that the withdrawal may very well be because she’s going to have too much to deal with off the ice, especially if it does come to legal charges.  As for whether he was doping longer than he admits,  in all likelihood we’ll have a better idea of that later(though if he was, her not knowing becomes less likely, though still plausible enough; I’ve read there are cyclists who dope for years and even their wives have no idea).  Rather amused by race walking in general.

In addition to my gymnastics post on Wednesday: what’s wrong with Gabrielle Douglas’ hair? It’s perfectly nice hair. 

Wished they showed more archery. I suppose I should be grateful to The Hunger Games for getting this much of it on TV, but I was interested in it as a kid and would love to see all of it shown, the way they’re showing swimming prelims instead. Amused it’s being held on Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Yesterday was the reason it’s worth it cheer for and suffer through Roger Federer and Andy Murray both, why I’ve persisted even while being reduced to desolation when they’re both playing badly, bristling as the media sneers at first one and then the other, crying in front of the TV through Mandy’s last two slam finals, wondering if he’ll ever win a slam, and then wanting to die when one goes too far with Juan Martin del Potro & the other has to play Novak Djokovic, and I can’t even follow properly and have to keep a normal face on because I’m at work. Because eventually, they’ll both win their Olympic semifinals and you know one of them’s going gold and even the other will walk away with the silver. I was walking on air for a few hours(at least until IceNetwork ruined everyone’s day. Grrrr.). Kind of sad to hear Maria Kirilenko’s blowing her best chance to medal(because the doubles is impeded by both American pairs, really Liezel, can’t you win when I actually want you to?), but ultimately, I can ask for no more from tennis this year.

Hadn’t Really Watched Artistic Gymnastics in Years

I remember watching the Romanians do their opening routines in 1996, but I didn’t watch anything after that, I didn’t watch the Olympics at all in 2000 & 2004, and 2008 I was inevitably either asleep or at the Glimmerglass Opera when NBC aired the artistic gymnastics; the only time I saw those athletes were in the Skating and Gymnastics Spectacular.  I like watching rhythmic gymnasticson YouTube, but even this year I didn’t really watch much of the men’s competition, except the Irish guy doing his floor exercise, and the pommel horse, which really is a magnificent sight when done right.

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This Week in Figure Skating, July 23-29, 2012

Don’t even ask me how I found time for this one, between watching the Olympics and going to two Fringe shows this weekend.  Even less certain how I’ll find time for next week’s.  Maybe that one will be shorter.  This one was only long because of multiple big events this week(and I really wish I’d had more info on the Lake Placid free dances): July 23-29, 2012  Posting the morning after due to WordPress deciding it was a wonderful idea to log me out mid-post last night, which left me too tired to deal with it then.