August 13, 2012

Farewell London Olympics, We Barely Knew Ye; or Start Gearing Up for Sochi

[insert snarky comment here]
A quick recap of interestingness that came out of the Game of the XXX Olympiad.  They really should think about the implications of using Roman numerals when recurring events reach their thirtieth edition, but seeing as how this is a Greek tradition revived by a Frenchman with Victorian notions of sporting integrity, maybe "XXX" is appropriate after all.

We will miss you, London 2012, but we will miss hearing presenters on the BBC say, "Oh my goodness me," the most.  While Sochi is next on the Olympic docket, we say bring on Rio de Janeiro, where we are certain to see one or two gratuitous camera pans of bikini-clad beach goers, but until then on to the bullet list:

  • Women ruled the Games - appropriate given that 2012 is the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Title IX (those pesky Roman numerals pop up in the strangest places) gender equity in education law.  Two generations later and we can see its positive effects on women and sport.

  • The further saga of Oscar Pistorius, who went from oy vey! - when his South African 4 x 400 meter relay team failed to complete their heat - to oh yea! - when it was revealed that the Sprinkbok runners would get to race in the final.  The second runner, who was set to hand over to Oscar running third, was impeded by a rival who had strayed into his lane.  So, they got a sporting "do over", and ran respectably in the final, with Oscar running anchor.  Still, an amazing one of the most inspirational stories of these, or any other Games.
This guy is Belgian?  Not pictured is the staffer
being suffocated by Darth Rogge's mind
  • Remember way back in 1992 when MJ had to cover up a rival sponsor's logo on his official podium track suit.  That was nothing compared to this:  The Olympic Brand Police got a bit out of control.  Sure we can understand the IOC not wanting to undermine their lucrative sponsorship arrangements by being lax on inadvertent product placement or guerilla marketing tricks, but this takes the idea to an absurd extreme that even the NCAA would blush at.  We can picture Jacques Rogge pounding on his desk, screaming, "No free rides!" at hapless janitorial staff who had just been ordered to place gaffer's tape on every toilet and urinal in the athletes' village.

  • Lastly, congratulation to Team GB and the PRC for their impressive medal hauls.  In regard to the Chinese team, I suspect our perennial seat at the top of the Summer Games' medals table (which is such passive-aggressive geopolitical bullshit) will soon be a thing of the past.  There has been some unfair coverage of China's swimmers this time around.  They deserve the same benefit of the doubt that, say, American, British and Canadian sprinters, as well as every cyclist deserve. (Yes, Virginia, there is an entire article on Wikipedia about cycling doping scandals.)
[In the interests of niceness, and avoidance of piling on, we chose to exempt NBC from yet more criticism in this post.  Their coverage was terrible on air and on the web.  So, if your dander is up, read this post on HuffPo by the always excellent Jeff Jarvis.  You might even see a comment from someone you recognize on that post. -ed.]

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