Saturday, August 20, 2016

Olympics Thoughts, Late Week Two

Another collection of thoughts from watching the Olympics on Thursday and Friday, on the second week of competition.
  • On Thursday, about an hour was dedicated to a documentary film on Martha and Bela Karolyi which was really well done. It followed their personal and professional journey across 50+ years, starting in Romania then moving to the United States. I knew the high points - all those Olympic gymnastics champions that they coached - but much of the rest of their journey was new to me. Great story of love, perseverance, and amazing success across decades.
  • I still think that media coverage of the US swimmers' late night altercation has blown the whole thing out of proportion, but the facts certainly seem to indicate that it's their own fault. It's disappointing that Olympic athletes weren't able to stay under control and be good representatives, particularly those from the US, and worse that they appear to have lied about it. They certainly deserve to be punished, and I'm glad an overdue apology was finally made. Hopefully now it'll be out of the news cycle.
  • Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton are almost too good to be true. Gorgeous young couple who are both medal-winners in the decathlon? Marketers' wet dream. I'm pretty sure NBC showed a bit more coverage of the decathlon because of them, which is fine by me. Every Olympic athlete is amazing, but those in the decathlon are the most impressive of all in my book.
  • Here's something you didn't hear about in the Olympics coverage: gay/lesbian athletes. I know they were participating - I can think of four off the top of my head, and I'm sure there are many more. A few of the "meet the athlete" segments mentioned same-sex fiances or spouses, with no more or less emphasis than with hetero couples. Whether you agree with the lifestyle or not, I think it's great that the personal life of competitors is no longer newsworthy. (This aspect of it, at least.) 
  • Congratulations to the US women's water polo team, who won the gold medal game against Italy on Friday, and it wasn't even close. The most dominating performance of any of the team sports that I watched, although US women's basketball is up there as well. Lots of very young players, including the youngest water polo gold medalist ever (Aria Fischer), so it'll probably be a very similar story in 2020.
  • The big story of Friday night was, of course, Usain Bolt and his Jamaica teammates winning yet another gold medal in the 4x100 relay. It tells you something about just how big a star Bolt is that the NBC coverage was focused heavily on him, rather than the 3rd-place US team. They did get back to the US eventually, unfortunately for a bad reason, as they were disqualified for an illegal baton pass. 

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