Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 1

The Olympic Blurb is off and running! Thanks for joining me on the journey.

Usually when I blog about the Olympics, I do a main article about something that strikes my fancy, and then complete the Blurb with random mini blurbs. 

There was one thing that struck me today as I watched Olympic events relentlessly from when I woke up until late tonight. 

Because these Olympics are taking place in the Western Hemisphere, and - even better - just one hour ahead of Eastern time, the schedule for the Olympic events has been remarkably normal. Events began at 7am and will conclude by midnight tonight. And that's the Eastern time schedule! 

In Eastern Hemisphere Olympics, it is common for us Americans (North and South Americans) to deal with late night and early morning premier events, which are painfully tape delayed and aired on NBC in primetime. 

It is spectacular to enjoy streaming of the Olympic Games at normal times of the day. I don't have to wake up at 2am to watch a medal event (even though I gladly would). When I watch primetime coverage of events, I usually think, "I wonder who won this?" Now I realize, "This is happening as I watch it - no one knows who won yet!"

Because of this, there are so many events that are airing during the daytime that it's almost overwhelming to try and follow them! While my television is showing swimming, for example, I have a dearth of events to choose from on the streaming sites. There was no less than five different events from which to choose from between 10am and 10pm! It was on one of these random selections that I chose to watch equestrian dressage, one of the few Olympic events where men and women compete against each other. (By the way, there should be more, but I'll save that for another Blurb.)

That comes in handy in primetime, because instead of watching NBC's special interest stories or tape delayed coverage of gymnastics that I already watched online, I can go onto the streaming and watch something else that's airing live, like tennis, beach volleyball, soccer, or handball. 

In short, when Sport is not on my television, I can go somewhere else and watch more Sport. And it's awesome. I wish every Olympics was like this.

On to the mini blurbs!
  • Day 1 always ends up being the day where I watch the biggest variety of events, and today was no different. I've had the Olympics on some screen pretty much the entire day, except for the hour I was walking down to the grocery store to buy a newspaper. I can even put it on as I work in my classroom! Today's count was 18 different sports, including:
    • women's 10m air rifle
    • beach volleyball
    • men's water polo
    • men's cycling road race
    • judo
    • equestrian dressage
    • tennis
    • swimming
    • men's gymnastics
    • women's handball
    • table tennis
    • archery
    • women's indoor volleyball
    • men's basketball
    • women's soccer
    • men's rowing
    • women's weightlifting, and 
    • women's fencing.
  • I watched the elimination round in 10m air rifle, and it was pretty easy to follow. You get the low score: you're eliminated. The rings signify how many points you get - the closer you are to the center, the more tenths of a point you receive. China's Yi Si Ling was leading, but during the 12th round shot an 8.6 that caused her to drop to third and never recover. Ginny Thrasher was unflappable, and it was cool to watch her.
  • Speaking of Thrasher, that was also the first medal ceremony of the Games. If Thrasher was wearing the USA's medal jacket, I don't like it - the sleeves are weird. But at least it's not grey. The winners in air rifle got their medals but didn't get flowers - instead, they got a little statue of the Rio logo. Not sure yet if that's going to happen in every medal ceremony.
  • The road race in cycling was fascinating because they had to race part of the event on cobblestones. This meant waterbottles were flying out of the holders, and the analyst said that those bottles acted like little grenades on unsuspecting cyclists. But cobblestones aren't new; he also mentioned that cyclists have biked on cobblestones many times before. It's still a terrible surface.
  • Fun fact: during the Olympics, the horses will eat four tons of carrots and half a ton of apples. 
  • Also, the Rio event centers pipe in music from all over the world to inspire the fans and athletes alike. I heard John Williams' "The Imperial March" at both fencing and indoor volleyball, which makes sense. But when an Italian was competing in equestrian dressage, they played the instrumental version of Ray Parker Jr's "Ghostbusters." It was an odd choice for an event so formal.
  • Archery seems to be easier to score - instead of adding tenths of a point the closer you get to the bullseye, it just scores whole points. Center circle is ten points, second is nine, and so on. It was too bad that South Korea just couldn't miss that ten point circle in the gold medal final against Team USA.
  • I hate second-guessing world record swimming accomplishments. That feeling was especially prevalent when Hungary's Katinka Hosszu broke the 400IM world record.
  • Team USA gymnastics qualified for the team final. They always have done well the first night, so I'm reserving judgment until I see them perform on Monday. I really want them to medal, but that's pretty much hoping that all the other teams will hop, fall, and crash their way down the standings. But I sure love their sportsmanship and encouragement of each other! Can that get them a gold medal? 
  • My little brother tweeted me after Ginny Thrasher won the first gold of the Games and said, "Sometimes I feel like I'm cheating during the Olympics because I'm from the US." Well, then we got nothing but silvers for the rest of the day! So you don't have to feel guilty anymore. The rest of the world has caught up to us, and that only makes the competition more fun to watch.

Enjoy your Sunday, and I'll see you tomorrow!

My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes, or follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/blurbmusings. Check out my blog for other articles!

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