Friday, August 10, 2012

Fortnightly Fitness Fridays - What I've enjoyed these 2012 Olympic Games

This year is the first in many that I have been able to watch the Olympic games guilt free.

2012 Olympic Logo outside Stratford station
Source - Nigel Chadwick (creative commons)

During the 2000 games, I was in my final year of highschool. In Australia, the academic year runs to the calendar year, with exams around November. Thus, exam study took precedence over Olympic game watching.

In 2004, I was in my Honours year at university. Thesis writing took precedence over Olympic game watching.

In 2008, I was 6 months off finishing my PhD. My evenings were spent looking at Word, SPSS or Endnote (or moving between them in a demented dance), rather than watching TV.

So 2012, you see, has been quite welcome. Our PVR has been recording Olympic events virtually non-stop, and I can watch as much as I like. Or at least, as much as I like around work, other obligations, washing, cooking, and cleaning. So you know, a bit. A lot of it has been watched on fast forward.

London Olympics 2012
Source - Nigel Chadwick (creative commons)

One of the things I've found hard, though, is the Australia media coverage of the events. This was worst in week one. According to the media, we were going to win lots of medals in the swimming. As it turns out, we didn't win as many medals as usual in the swimming, and those we did win tended not to be gold.

As far as I'm concerned, anyone who makes it to the Olympics has worked incredibly hard and has already proved their worth. If you place a medal, any medal, that should be a bonus. But I appreciate not everyone thinks that way, athletes included.

Australia has moved up the medal tally quite a bit the last few days, but it's still unlikely that we will reach our placing in 2008 (which was sixth). I can't say I mind. Here are some of my highlights of the games, gold and non-gold, and Australian and non-Australian.

  • The 10,000m women's race. The winner, Tirunesh Dibaba from Ethopia, finished in 30 minutes and 20.75 seconds. That's an average pace of 19.86 km / hr. Amazing.
  • Belinda Snell making a shot from about halfway down the basketball court, on the final buzzer, to take Australia to draw France in the women's basketball qualifying round. The fact that Australia lost in the overtime game mattered not at all. That shot was amazing.
  • Lauren Mitchell, a Western Australian gymnast, finishing fifth on the women's gymnastics floor finals. She was delightfully composed and happy with her fifth place finish (no resentment or bitter spirits from her). She seemed to recognise that she did her best and that was what mattered.
  • Sally Pearson winning gold in the 100m women's hurdles. She is such an inspiring athlete. I also loved that the second place winner, American Dawn Harper, seemed genuinely happy for Sally and with her own placing.
  • The men's qualifying round for the pole vaulting. Steve Hooker, the Australian vaulter, is fun to watch at any time - he seems so casual and laid back, but then speeds into action when he competes. For the qualifying round, a team of vaulters, from different countries, won over the officials to allow 14 athletes through instead of 12, many of them after just one jump. I loved that.
  • The 'Team GB' crew. Britain has pulled out all the stops for these Olympics, and has performed admirably both in the sporting events and in coordinating the games. On a few occasions, I've been tempted to switch allegiance and pull out my UK passport!


Runners in the women's 10,000m final
Source - Daniel Ochoa De Olza


I know the games aren't finished yet, but it's been a great two weeks thus far.

On a final side note, have you seen this page from the BBC? You put in your height and weight and it tells you which athletes your proportions are most like. Seriously fun!

What have you enjoyed, if you're watching the Olympics?

29 comments:

  1. I saw the opening ceremony, and some swimming, but then nothing! The NYC hotel was so new that the TVs weren't up and running yet. I am sorry to have missed the gymnastics (sob - childhood Hannah's dreams!) but ah well, New York and Chicago win. :P

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    1. NY and Chicago definitely win :) Plus, watching the gymnastics can trigger a certain amount of sadness when you realise that those childhood dreams of being a gymnast are not going to come true (although, given you're a few years younger than me, perhaps they yet will for you!).

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  2. I've seen bits and pieces, I was lucky enough to walk in the room just as we won the kayaking last night. I've loved the horse events that I've managed to see, makes me miss horse riding, although I was always terrible at it.

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    1. Did you do it regularly? I've only been a handful of times, so it still holds a certain mystical appeal!

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  3. I've been watching on and off - and yes agree the media cover here in Aus is terrible. Watched the 100m sprint - Usain Bolt is seriously something else.

    Sally Pearson!!! :D And live-tweet watched the Women's marathon. Phwoar.

    The diving and the gymnastics have been good too although Evs wondered how someone who looked like 'they were dancing with a ball' was sport. LOL.

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    1. Usain Bolt is incredible. Ditto Sally Pearson :) I have to agree with Evs though - I am a huge fan of the artistic gymnastics but find the rhythmic version just a little odd!

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  4. I really think that Dawn Harper was a wonderful example of sportsmanship when she was out touched by Sally Pearson. I also enjoyed the women's triathlon.

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    1. Me too (on Dawn Harper) - such an admirable way to take the results.

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  5. lovely post!
    xo
    Anastasia
    http://natbeesfashion.blogspot.co.uk/

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  6. Thanks for your comment :)
    lucky you, your phd is over...
    xo

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  7. I've had way more fun watching the olympics this year than any other year! Not sure why I'm so into it all of a sudden, but it's been great!

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    1. I'm glad you've been enjoying it too! It's a pretty wonderful event.

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  8. I've loved the Olympics too. There have been so many great moments from athletes from all over the world. So many inspiring stories. And yours is a good story too - I so admire you for doing a pHD - what an incredible accomplishment xx

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    1. There is a lot of inspiration at this point in the sporting calendar. I'm almost feeling motivated to start something new in an athletic sense (but whether that motivation will last beyond the Olympics is uncertain!). And thank you!

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  9. I also remember each olympics by what was happening in my life - the one I watched the most was the LA olympics where I was so sick I just lay and watched telly. this year I have only looked very briefly and never seen much of interest on the tv - other than the opening ceremony - but I love the diving and the gymnastics

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    1. Being sick doesn't sound like a great way to spend the LA olympics. I'm glad this year has been more non-eventful than negative events!

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  10. I am so glad you're getting to watch this Olympics so closely! There have been so many amazing races, games, etc.! Watching sports makes me so emotional! haha

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  11. Nice one!!! I love olympic games!!! especially badminton!!! xxx

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    1. I don't think I saw any of the badminton this year! Hopefully you caught it though :)

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  12. I haven't seen as much of the Olympics as I would have liked.
    I agree with you though, that is such an accomplishment to even go! There was an Olympian who placed silver the following Olympics and was upset. I mean, it's the SILVER!! But I am sure they are all really competitive.

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    1. I suppose to get to that level you have to be pretty competitive. But I'm with you - silver is amazing, not worth disappointment!

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  13. Every time I have turned on my tv to watch them, I always end up tearing up on some sort of story or performance. <<<I love this! I love investing in someone and then seeing their hard work through to the end. :) How cool is it to be an athelete???

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    1. I love it too :) Such a cool thing!

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  14. I really enjoyed the swimming and diving events! I think they are such great representatives of strong, healthy, athletic bodies. And it's a sport that's not murder on your joints, so I don't feel sorry for the athletes like I do in some sports that are more injury prone.

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    1. I have also loved seeing the healthy looking athletes - some of the less healthy looking ones are hard to see sometimes.

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  15. AHHH!! soo many awesome Oly things to love!! have to say the women's marathon tho was the one i was looking forward to like mad...team goucherette here! :) but then behind that were the 10's and the 5...the 1500's were crazy too!! wow, so hard to choose! :)

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    1. I did love the 1500's! And the marathon! Ok, all of it :)

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