Monday, August 22, 2016

Olympics Thoughts, Final Weekend

Another collection of thoughts from watching the Olympics on the final weekend.
  • I very much enjoyed watching the women's triathlon on Saturday. I was a bit disappointed that NBC showed very little of the men's race earlier in the week, but we got the whole women's race. I assume that was because American Gwen Jorgensen was one of the favorites. She came through with the gold medal win, which was especially nice after she had bike troubles back in 2012. And she was an accountant until just a few years ago - an inspiration to cubicle-dwellers everywhere!
  • The bronze medal match for women's volleyball was a good one, at least through the first three sets. The US ended up winning the fourth to defeat the Netherlands, but I didn't get to see it since the local NBC station broke in for the better part of an hour with weather reports. There was a thunderstorm and tornado warning in neighboring counties, but that was already scrolling along the bottom of the screen. Severe weather is bad, I get it, but there's plenty of ways to disseminate that information that doesn't require preempting live TV.
  • Brazil versus Germany for the men's gold medal in soccer - couldn't have written that up any better for drama value. After their 7-1 World Cup loss a couple of years ago to the Germans, the entire Brazilian populace was hoping for a rematch. Fortune smiled on the home side in the first half, as the Germans had several good chances go off the goal frame, while Neymar scored for Brazil on a shot that just glanced off the crossbar and in. Germany tied it up in the second half, and neither side could score again through regulation and extra time. So it ended in penalty kicks, never the most satisfying of endings, but I don't think anyone in Brazil cared when Neymar put in the fifth and clinching shot. The celebration in the Maracana was just as loud and emotional as if they'd won by 10.
  • No weather interruptions in the gold medal match for women's volleyball, fortunately, and it was a good one. China started out terribly against Serbia, losing the first set badly, but then got it together to win the next three sets. Much like the tournament overall for China - started badly, ended great. History for both sides: the silver is Serbia's first ever medal in this event, and China coach Lang Ping is the first ever to both win a volleyball gold as a player and lead a team to gold as a coach.
  • I'd never heard of Israeli marathoner Ageze Guadie before his name came up in Sunday's men's marathon. He's part of a group of Ethiopian Jews who were taken from poverty and famine into Israel. Guadie just barely qualified for Rio at the last opportunity, and certainly he didn't have much chance at a medal. But he was able to go to Rio, not only an opportunity for him, but a chance to draw attention to his people's situation. Great story.
  • Tokyo's bit in the closing ceremonies was right up my alley. Shinzo Abe coming up out of a Mario pipe, Hello Kitty and Pacman cameos, anime references...fun stuff. The 2020 opening ceremony should be something to see.

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