Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The London Games, 2012

Doug:  Lest you thought you'd go a day without your Bronze Age Babies fix, we offer you an open discussion on the Olympics.  Karen and I have discussed some Olympic-themed posts, and that may yet come your way.  Today, as I sit here having watched the U.S. men's volleyball team defeat the Germans and the U.S. women's soccer team defeat the North Koreans I thought I'd just throw out a general call for responses:  what are you watching, what are your favorite events, are there any particular athletes you have your eyes on, etc?

Doug:  Living near Chicago, I can fully appreciate what London, the U.K., and Londoners in general have gone through in preparation for the Games.  As Chicago made its bid for the 2016 games that were eventually awarded to Rio de Janeiro, I saw the costs involved to the city, as well as the scope of the potential venues.  So to know that the soccer is being played in Glasgow doesn't surprise me, as the Chicago Games would have stretched well into Wisconsin, our northern neighbor.

Doug:  A couple of impressions:  Although the American men's gymnastics team flopped yesterday, I continue to be impressed at the strength and athleticism of men's gymnasts in general.  Are there finer conditioned athletes?  If so, they may be in the whitewater kayaking -- now that takes some strength as well.  On the other hand, I'd debate anyone as to whether or not the archers and shooters are "athletes".  A finely-honed skill do they possess?  Without doubt.  But I don't think they are athletes per se.

Doug:  So what sayest thou?


ChrisPV said...

All I know is I hope and pray Denver loses the hypothetical bid to host that I keep hearing come up. It'd be a bloody nightmare.

That said, the gymnastics has been fun, and so has the swimming. Kinda bummed I keep missing out on the martial arts, though.

Steve Does Comics said...

It's all a bit depressing on this side of the Atlantic. Every time the media tips a British competitor for gold, he/she/they promptly blow it.

Still, at least we've won a medal in the men's gymnastics, which is akin to Aquaman winning a fire-eating contest - and we've won a silver in the rich-people-on-horsies contest.

Even though those of us from the north like to complain about London at every opportunity, I can't deny the city's looking beautiful and I loved the opening ceremony. If you don't mind me plugging it, I have a review of that very ceremony up on my site: http://stevedoescomics.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/steve-does-olympics.html

Chris, I agree with you about a potential Denver bid. From what we've seen of the whole process over here, hosting the thing's probably more trouble than it's worth.

Dougie said...

The opening ceremony was a huge, mad spectacle that melted (almost) the most cynical of hearts.
I was glued to most of it but somehow I missed the VWORP-ing of the Tardis. Would've have preferred more of the Doctor to the Arctic Monkeys, who seem a bit passée to me: I'd need to ask the kids at school if I'm right.

I just started grinning like a fool when Branagh, dragged up as Brunel, quoted from The Tempest.

Steve Does Comics said...

Dougie, to be honest, I wonder if current schoolkids have even heard of the Arctic Monkeys but I thought they were a good choice to perform. They fitted in nicely with the irreverent, subversive feel of it all.

England's women have just beaten Brazil in the football/soccer! It's some kind of miracle.

dbutler16 said...

Gymnastics is probably my favorite Summer Olympics event to watch. Maybe that's why I like characters such as Captain America and Black Panther! Anyway, I agree with Doug on Gymnastics. I also enjoy track & field, especially the sprinting events, basketball, and tennis. I don't get into Olympic tennis as much as the grand slams, though, and NBA stars in the Olympics has lost its luster for me. I'll watch soccer and table tennis, too, and team handball is actually pretty cool, though I don't know all of the rules.

I have to admit, I'm not into the Olympics as much as I used to be. It used to be, I'd watch an Olympic event I could find - Pentathlon, cycling, diving, water polo ,whatever. I have to admit, I haven't watched too much this year. Maybe I'm getting old.

Speaking of the Olympics, how about the greatest Olympic Games ever - 1984 Los Angeles! I fondly remember those Olympics. For a variety of reasons. Sure, it was basically the first Olympics I ever saw, and the first one with really good TV coverage. Also, the Soviet boycott meant that we dominated, which was great. However, the reason I most fondly remember that Olympics is because of the scratch off card game McDonalds had, where with each purchase, you got a card with an Olympic event. If the US won gold in that event, you got a free Big Mac, silver was free fries, and bronze a free soft drink. McDonalds hadn't anticipated the Soviet Boycott (wonderfully parodied in the Simpsons with Krusty Burger), and let's just say I really cleaned up that summer! I rode my bike to the local Mickey D's on a very regular basis that summer. I think every American Bronze Age Baby must have fond memories of the 1984 Olympics. It makes me hungry just thinking about it.

dbutler16 said...

I hadn't commented on the opening ceremonies, since it's not an actual event, but I thoroughly enjoy that as well. Moreso than most of the actual events these days. Plus, no steroid scandals.

Steve Does Comics said...

Oops! I mean Britain's women. Sorry, to all Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish people.

Doug said...

RE: the Opening Ceremonies

I love the parade of nations -- always look forward to seeing the team outfits, as well as the flag-bearer and the significance of that person to their nation's team.

The final lighting of the cauldron was quite impressive, but I understand has caused quite a flap among folks attending the Games. Heard it will be moved to the track & field stadium, yet will remain out of sight to all except those with tickets to the track meet.

McCartney was good; I questioned the choice of "Hey Jude" when he began playing, but immediately recognized the singalong value of it. Did I hear that the Who will be part of the closing ceremonies?

I just watched the France/Argentina men's basketball game, and have to agree with dbutler that the proliferation of NBA players has diminished what used to be one of my favorite events. There has been quite a bit of talk in this nation comparing this 2012 team to the original Dream Team of '92. That's a conversation that is just silly. There will never again be a team assembled that would have 11 future Hall-of-Famers. Why would people even waste their breath?


dbutler16 said...

Doug, Kobe shooting off his mouth would waste his time with that comparison, but those of us with some sense wouldn't bother.

Garett said...

I love watching the Olympics, especially the track events.

Basketball and tennis are two sports I love to play and watch, but the NBA finals seem more important than Olympic gold--same with Wimbledon, etc. I'd rather see the athletes who don't normally get to shine getting in the spotlight.

Hilights for me so far were the women's cycling race through rainy London with a 3-way sprint to the finish, and judo, which I know nothing about!

From past Olympics, one thrill was watching Donovan Bailey win gold for Canada in the men's 100m sprint in '96.

Anonymous said...

First off - as a person who has gotten used to the annual NBC broadcasts, it's wonderful to get sports reports from persons other than the ubiquitous Bob Costas!

It's interesting to see such a wide variety of sports from gymnastics to basketball to table tennis to shooting to equestrian competitions. The British High Commissioner to Trinidad & Tobago described it as 46 world championships taking place simultaneously.

As for NBA stars in Olympic basketball, that's a double edged argument. The same can be said of top ranked tennis stars like Roger Federer participating in Olympic tennis. Sure, you want young stars to emerge in a competitive environment but the elite world class players create public buzz and draw the spectators, which translates to bigger TV ratings.

Maybe it's the cynic in me, but I can't help wondering if some of the gold medal winners we see up on the podium are the result of not only hard work but also anabolic steroids. Remember Ben Johnson? Sure he was caught, but Marion Jones never tested positive for anything. She only admitted to doping AFTER she won her medals. I firmly believe some gold medalists (Flojo is the most famous example)used steroids but never admitted to it.

As for whether archers can be called athletes, I think they do qualify for that title. It might not be as physically draining as running a marathon or competing in the decathlon, but you really need to be good to nail that little bullseye! Still, it's great to see such a large collection of the world's best athletes competing on the biggest stage in the world.

- Mike 'hopes surfing the web becomes an Olympic sport' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Garett said...

Donovan Bailey had a tough time as the Canadian sprinter after Ben Johnson. Every interview he was asked about Johnson and steroids, but he always conducted himself well and it was great to see him come out on top.

I think if you're going to have basketball and tennis in the Olympics, may as well have the best in the world participate. There was the same debate for years with hockey, and it was exciting to finally see Canada's best go to the winter games. But for me there's something about track and the other ancient sports that makes them special. We rarely get to see them between Olympics, and also there's something primal about who can run the fastest, jump the highest? I love that people were doing this a couple thousand years ago--I'd like to time travel back and see one of the ancient games.

Edo Bosnar said...

Ah, yes, the 1992 Dream Team: Petrovic (RIP), Kukoc, Radja, Vrankovic... Oh, wait, you're talking about the US team. Sorry.
Anyway, in general, I think the Olympic events I like to watch the most is track and field (or athletics as it's called here in Europe). I also tend to like some more obscure - to Americans anyway - team events, like handball, water polo and volleyball (both men's and women's; just as an aside: the women's final in Athens 2004 between China and Russia - Best. Volleyball game. Ever.)
However, that said, I have to admit that I've kind of been losing interest in the Olympics as the years go by, and thus far I haven't really watched any events from the London games, not even the opening ceremony...

Chris said...

I was at the basketball yesterday and have tickets for Athletics next Wednesday and Vollyball semi-finals a couple of days after.

Just to make the sports fans out there jealous.

The Olympic Park is amazing and as the stadium events start today that will add an extra 140,000 people. Whew!

Nice to see some sports comments here. I never consider myself a proper geek because I love playing and watching sport. So many comic readers seem to have little interest. (A bit like personal hygene for some - but that's a different story!)

Anyway, I always thought I'd have a far larger collection if I didn't spend so much on sport. But I don't care because it helps me stay connected to the outside world (if you know what I mean?).

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