Saturday, August 9, 2008

Day One

Well I stayed up last night for as long as I could be bothered for the Opening Ceremony.

I'm not a huge fan of such things - to me they're aimed more for Disney on Ice type market. I thought it started well - the drums were good; but thereafter it went down hill - most likely due to the fact of having to hear Sonia Kruger say things like, "Well I think the judges of Dancing with the Stars would give them a 10". Yes, thanks for the cross promotion Sonia. Glad you came to lend your expertise.

And what does it say about the adult contemporary music industry that Sarah Brightman was the female singer they decided to choose to sing the Olympic theme song? Has no one come along since 1992? Charlotte Church's people must be copping hell this morning.

Now I'm not one to claim to be a doyen of the fashion world, but what was going on with the Australian uniform? Generally the uniform makes them look like they are the biggest ever collection of airline stewards, but tracksuits? And crappy blue ones? I think we can quickly consign that to the "we probably shouldn't have got stonking drunk before we made that decision" category.

Let's hope it isn't a bad omen - they should let Mambo do the designs like they did in Sydney, rather than just nip down to the local Target and order 500 of those discounted tracksuit they had sitting out the back.

Have to say though, the lighting of the flame was very cool. And the Chinese certainly know how to set off a tonne of fireworks.

Up today the Opals start their basketball campaign. At the moment they've got Belarussia covered, but they've been pretty sloppy.

In one hour the men's road race starts. Cadel Evans here we go!! (wait on haven't I already done this blog??) Actually my tip (based on some inside info from Phil Liggett) is great South Aussie Stuart O'Grady.
6:25pm. Mental note to self: Never again listen to Phil Liggett. Stuart O'Grady is off the back of the peleton. The Spanish are going hammer and tongs with two laps to go. Has been an enthralling race. Still anyone's.

Aussies have won opening rounds of the beach volleyball, and we're 1st and 2nd at the moment in the eventing after half of the dressage. Now dressage is one of those events that you only ever see once every four years. Apparently it is the supreme skill of horse riding. And I can kind of see that it is; but it's as boring as batshit, and really looks as stupid as.. well as stupid as someone poncing around on a horse in coat and tails, and yet there I was letting out a little whoop when the scores for the Aussie came up and showed her in front. Apparently she nailed the cross over step - but the horse's name of Headly Brittania strikes as rather a bit too stuck-up-horsey for mine.

Whatever happened to decent horse names for eventing, you know like Kibah Tic Toc?

Michael Turtur on the road race thinks Cadel Evans is looking good. I refuse to get excited.
7pm: Ok, I'm getting excited. Not for Evans, but Michael Rogers. It looks like Evans has played the decoy role and put in the big surge to kill off the peleton, and then has let Rogers take the lead role - great team riding. It's now down to 5 guys with 15km to go - 3 will get a medal.

7:03pm. Geez how quick was that? As soon as I finish writing the last sentence, Andy Schleck puts in a surge and see ya later Rogers. Bugger.

7:23pm. Wow, great race - Rogers got back in touch, but didn't have the sprint and came 6th. Schleck buggered around at the front a bit and missed out on a medal. Looks good for Rogers for the time trial later on Wednesday. 6hrs 23min in 90% humidity - and yet people think the 100m sprinters are the best athletes...
8:38pm. Swimming heats set to start (thank you NBC...). Just noticed the pool looks the wrong way - normally we see them swimming left then right across our TV, here it'll be right then left (no doubt we can thank NBC again for that - wouldn't happen if Ray Warren was doing the commentary!)
Tomorrow's finals -
  • Men's 400m freestyle - Hackett's coach is talking him up (I've got $5 on him at $3.30).
  • Men's 400m IM - will Phelps fall at the first hurdle? I don't think so, but word is Lochte is catching up to him quickly.
  • Women's 400m IM - Go Rice to beat Hoff (or at least I hope so $2 @ $2.50).
  • Women's 4x100m free relay. Go Australia. Lock it in now ($8 @ $1.67).
Just on Phelp's 8 gold attempt. He is pretty much guarranteed to leave this Olympics with more career gold medals than anyone else (9 is the current - there's 4 with that many). Does it make him the greatest Olympian? For me nope. Swimming is all well and good, but all these different strokes makes the possibilites for doubling up pretty good. So he wins the 200m free, the 200m buttefly and the 200m IM - whereas a runner can just win the 200m. They don't have the 200m skip, or the 200m backwards run.

Also 3 of his gold will be in relays. Which means he gets gold for being American. (Not to devalue, but no one considers relays gold equivalent to individual when you are weighing up who is the greatest of all time).

Carl Lewis won four long jump Gold (to put that into context if Phelps wins say the 100m butterfly, all he will have to do is win it again in 2012 and then again in 2016 to match it). He also is the only male to win two 100m Golds. That takes some beating. Also, of his 9 golds, only 2 are for relays. Of Paavo Nurmi's 9 Gold, 3 were for team events (back in his day they had team cross-country and a team 300m race). Five of Mark Spitz's 9 Golds were in relays. And Larissa Latynina won 3 of her 9 gymnastics Golds for the team comp (plus she's a gymnast so she's doesn't compare!).

Lewis is still the best for me; Nurmi second; third Zatopek or Fanny Blankers-Koen. Phelps can be the best swimmer, but I'll see how he goes in London before putting him up with the best Olympian.
9:27pm: Duncan Armstrong has just said that whether or not Grant Hackett will swim well in the 400m freestyle is the $64 million question. Wow, it seems the hyperbole inflation genie is out of the bottle.

No comments: