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Showing posts from August, 2016

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 16

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We're going to start with the mini blurbs this time...

Today's roundup:men's marathonmen's mountain bikingwomen's rhythmic gymnasticswomen's boxingmen's basketballmen's wrestlingmen's volleyballThere was a time, long long ago, when I was convinced that the only two things that took place at the Olympics on the last day were the men's basketball gold medal game and the Closing Ceremony. The reason was because NBC really only aired those two things on the last day. Now I know that there are still plenty of events happening in the morning of the last day, and I got to sample a little bit of all of them!After being so careful last week with not getting spoiled with the result of the women's marathon, I was going to watch something else when the men's marathon result flashed on the screen! Shoot!However, I still decided to watch the marathon because I love watching the marathon. I did notice a lot more security on the course because of the in…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 15

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There are a lot of athletes getting interviewed now that their events are wrapped up and done. Near the beginning of the Olympic Games many athletes are closed up, focusing on their event. But now there's a lot of shots of the athletes parading around, relaxing and/or showing off their medals.

If an athlete is getting interviewed, there is one question that is definitely getting asked to almost everyone, even those athletes who insist they are retiring after these Rio Games:

"So are you coming back for Tokyo?"

The next Olympic Games are taking place in Japan from July 24 through August 9, 2020. For many young athletes, going to the next Olympic Games is a no-brainer. However, for athletes nearing the end of their professional careers, keeping up the training for another four years can be hard to process, especially since most of them have experienced a grueling time of it the past four years.

And then there are athletes like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, who keep insis…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 14

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Relays are hard.

The faster they are, the harder relays are.

The closer together the athletes are, the harder relays are.

The moment you attempt to place a stick in another person's hand among a group of people also trying to place a stick in another person's hand while all of you happen to be traveling at a high rate of speed...

...is hard!

Tonight was Relay Night on the track. There were semifinals in the 4x400m heats for both the men's and women's teams, and there were the finals in the 4x100m relay for both the men's and women's teams.

Relay has become a crutch for many teams hoping to get a medal on the track. Sometimes the problems start at the blocks, like it did for the Dominican Republic yesterday in the 4x100m heats. Sometimes it happens in the exchanges.

Okay, it almost always happens in the exchanges. About 95% of the time it's the exchanges.

Yesterday the US 4x100m women's team had an exchange problem with the Brazilian team next to it. Sh…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 13

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I know that a few days ago I was complaining that the media was reporting low crowds at many of the venues. I said that it was normal for the first few days, especially for preliminary rounds, and that it would pick up later on. Well, I have to say that I am stumped by the lack of crowds at the track and field venue. I don't know why they decided to put track and field in a stadium that is far removed from the rest of the Olympic events, in a questionable area, and still charge such a large amount of money for tickets.

Tuesday's crowd for the evening events, which featured three finals, was abysmal. Yesterday, after Usain Bolt ran, the crowds departed and didn't even stay for the last race, the women's 100m hurdles. And even fewer people stuck around for the 3000m steeplechase medal ceremony. Today, the women's 4x100m relay ran their time trial right at 7pm and barely anyone was there, even though the men's decathlon had been going on for a while before that!

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 12

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Today I decided to go and visit my parents for the night. They live outside of Ann Arbor, in the outskirts of the "metro Detroit" area. I lived there for my childhood, and always was very comfortable with the mix of Canadian and US stuff. Canadian coins were no big deal; almost every store around accepted them. Tim Horton's has a chain in my hometown. And people love hockey around here almost as much as Canadians. (Note: I did say "almost.")

Another great import from Canada is the Canadian Broadcasting Network, or CBC. It isn't very often that we would sit around and watch the CBC, but when we did, there were two things on: Hockey Night in Canada or the Olympics.

If NBC has its own Olympic coverage, why in the world would we tune in to coverage by a Canadian station, which is covering Canadian athletes?

Well, I got to watch the CBC coverage tonight, and I'll list some reasons:

In comparison to NBC's location in the International Broadcast Center (IB…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 11

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I have mentioned before that I feel like NBC is behind the times in its television broadcasting. While their use of the OBS (Olympic Broadcasting Services) is wonderful and provides great live streaming, they are not doing the greatest job of keeping things secret before actually airing something.

Their problem? Social media.

Now that everyone can get instant access to scores and highlights from other news services and even the athletes themselves, people don't want to sit and watched pre-taped things anymore.

However, social media has also been a great boon for these Olympics, and I'll share with you a few of my favorites.

Twitter

Two years ago I would have given some backhanded compliment to Twitter. But now I am seeing its appeal. While staying short and sweet, it allows people to communicate thousands of miles away from each other. It also is very easy to follow athletes, journalists, and official marketing for the Olympics.

One of my favorite Olympic Twitter accounts are …

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 10

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If I were to say, "Sing a few bars of the Olympic song," everyone might have a different song to sing. They might think that it's just one song, and they're singing different parts. In actuality, there are several Olympic themes, and the ones you're thinking of are probably most commonly used in the United States.

Let's get historical, shall we?

The first piece heard is "Bugler's Dream" by Leo Arnaud. However, the part you're thinking of actually is not the first song heard before an Olympics broadcast! The first part is actually right at the start of broadcast, when (this year) the collage of Olympic athletes is shown and the NBC logo is shown.

The second piece is the fanfare from "Bugler's Dream." It starts with the timpani and brings in the brass in a very bombastic fashion. The song is from the album Charge! written in 1958, and ABC actually used it in its Olympics broadcasting only ten years later, in the 1968 Winter Olym…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 9

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Today was an interesting day. Outside fun stuff meant I watched fewer events, and because I wanted to not hear about important results via Twitter, I kept myself off social media all day while I watched online replays of events like gymnastics.

But it wasn't just outside fun that affected my Olympic viewing. I wanted to watch the women's marathon on DVR before I found out the final results.

Gymnastics is important? Yes. Swimming? Absolutely. Track and field? A must.

Marathon??

Why in the world would I get so excited about the marathon??

My enjoyment of the marathon races in the Olympics did not come from my past year of running, which I need to preface before anything else. I have enjoyed the watching of the marathon since 2004, when I was able to watch a recording of the men's marathon in Athens while I was unpacking my dorm room in college. Italian Stefano Baldini won the gold, and eventual bronze medal winner Vanderlei de Lima of Brazil was attacked by a fan.

Marathon w…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 8

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Dear Mr. Phelps,

Hi there.

We've never met, but I am a big fan.

I just watched you swim your last Olympic race tonight. It was the men's 4x100m medley. You swam the butterfly after taking over for Ryan Murphy and Cody Miller. Nathan Adrian finished the race for you. You got a gold!

It seems like whenever I watch you, I see you get a gold medal. I'm not complaining or anything; it just has me conditioned to assume you always win golds. Yesterday when you won silver, I was almost relieved! He is human!

It has been a joy to watch you race these past 16 years. Well, I only remember you for the past 12, but it was a joyride all the way. In Athens there were rumors you were good enough to break Mark Spitz' record of gold medals in one Olympic Games. You didn't, but by the end of the swimming week people were already asking you about Beijing.

Beijing was incredible. They made the semi and final races in the morning in Beijing so everyone in North America could watch live…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 7

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It is a bummer when swimming ends. After a week straight of pool excitement, days like today seem empty because there's not as much going on. Throw in a lack of finals in artistic gymnastics and diving, and you might interpret tonight as pretty boring, right?

Never you fear; track and field is here!

Yes, it is true that today was pretty quiet even in track and field, but that doesn't mean it was short on finals. In the morning the women ran the 10,000 meters and what transpired was an insane final where the winner, Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, lapped several athletes at least twice en route to a world record run. That race was crazy, because the field very quickly spread out around the track and the gaps between runners was great.

In the evening, women's shot put took center stage, and Michelle Carter of the US team came out with her final put and dominated, getting an American record. New Zealand's Valerie Adams - the reigning 2-time Olympic champion - had to beat her on…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 6

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A couple of weeks ago, before the Olympics began, I was watching a track and field event on ESPN. It was a team event in the TrackTown Summer Series; all the athletes that day were sorted into four teams, representing four US cities: Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, and Portland. The higher an athlete placed, the more points their team got.

I enjoyed watching this because it was pretty lighthearted and there wasn't much at stake. But my favorite part of this came at the end. The final event was the 4x400m relay...but it was mixed 4x400m. The top two 400m men and women on each team made up the relay squad. The fastest men went first, followed by the second-fastest woman, then the second-fastest man, and the fastest woman took the anchor.

I loved it! It reminded me how awesome those mixed events are. We used to do that in grade school - they were called mixed shuttle relays because we just ran back and forth instead of around a track. Floor hockey was also mixed, and those we…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 5

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There was a pretty splendid gymnastics competition today, and I hope you didn't miss it.

Yes, it didn't feature anyone from the United States. Yes, it probably wasn't on television very much. But what transpired was a very hearty competition between incredibly talented athletes. They did everything right, and in the end it was almost a toss-up as to who would win.

I got the chance to watch the entire competition online, and they made sure to show all six events for Japan's Kohei Uchimura and the Ukraine's Oleg Verniaiev, who were both in the same group as two of the top six qualifiers from Saturday. And they put on quite a show!

At first, everyone was wondering how amazing "King Kohei" would be throughout the competition, and if anyone could get close to his scores. By the middle, everyone was marveling at Verniaiev and wondering if Uchimura would actually get gold!

In the end, it was both athlete's performance on the high bar, their final event, tha…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 4

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I had a recommendation from my brother to watch rugby, so I made it a point today to catch some. And I suddenly realized something as I watched:

I might prefer rugby over football!

Now this is very abrupt, considering I have about three hours of rugby viewing over thousands of hours of football viewing, but let's just put professional football up against rugby. If you only look at it that way, then it's a little easier to understand.

Before the comparisons begin, yes, both of these events cause life-changing health issues. When people collide with each other it's bound to damage the body in multiple ways. People are aware of this, and hopefully the athletes are aware of this and are playing in ways that would prevent a lot of issues for them in the future.

Football requires a lot of equipment, including helmets and pads. Rugby requires pretty much nothing - maybe a helmet.

Football is a series of 2-8 second plays that start and stop so that the refs can properly place the…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 3

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This morning I had to meet with a family and do some work at school. So I got up early and headed over. Once my meeting was over, I scanned the online streaming for choices to play on my SMART Board while I worked.

I'm not too interested in round robin team matches, so those were out. So I decided on cross country equestrian. It's probably not the number one choice of most people, but it piqued my interest for sure.

Turns out it was pretty great! Unlike dressage, which I had watched before and gotten bored really easily, cross country is a speeding/jumping event. The winding course is 2 3/4 to 4 miles long and filled with obstacles like hills, logs, or ponds. In Rio, there are 33 obstacles total, and my favorite is the Bamboo Keyhole, which is a wall of vines (bamboo, I'm guessing) with a hole cut in the middle.

The first competitor I watched did the course so flawlessly that I wasn't too concerned about competitors failing. But as I watched more and more horses, I re…