Day Six

Some random observations from the first six days of the Olympics:

  • High Definition is just spectacular.  I’m definitely going to be watching less television after these two weeks, because going back to standard definition now is just painful.
  • Freeview has also exceeded my (admittedly somewhat low) expectations. Getting it setup was as simple as a visit to Dick Smiths.  I plugged it in and it more or less set itself up. Nice!
  • The additional “TVNZ Sports Extra” channel is a great.  It was excellent, for example, to be able to watch uninterrupted coverage of the equestrian cross-country event earlier in the week and the cycling road time trials yesterday, both of which only featured on TV One later and even then heavily edited.  Although, I wonder why it’s not broadcast in HD too?  Is there a technical limitation behind this?
  • Related to that: if TVNZ have the rights to all of this content, why don’t we have 10 channels of uninterrupted coverage on Freeview showing all of the different sports?  I’m not really into the gymnastics (or handball, weightlifting, judo, fencing, etc), but I’m sure there are people out there who are so let people choose what they want (see: The Long Tail).
  • What’s with all of our medal chances getting sick?  Have they checked that there are no South Africans on the catering staff in the athletes village?  And, would it have been so bad for Mahe Drysdale to tell us he was sick beforehand, rather than leaving us all to suffer through the last 500m of his race assuming he was just knackered?
  • If Peter Montgomery says “red light, warning, warning” during a rowing commentary again and we lose, will he be allowed back in the country?
  • Getting fourth sucks, doesn’t it!  But, gosh there are a lot of losers at the Olympics: Moss Burmester, for example, was fourth out of a field of forty-four qualifiers.  For him even the 6th fastest time ever was not good enough for a medal.  It’s tough eh!
  • The star of the games so far for me: the slalom kayaker from Togo … just like Eric The Eel, but actually good at his event! (go on and click the Eric link above if you didn’t already … it’s a brilliant Roy and HG commentary of his race in 2000)
  • Does it matter that the giants footprints in the opening ceremony were faked?  Likewise, does it matter that the aforementioned kayaker from Togo actually lives in France and, in fact, hasn’t been back to Togo since he was a baby?
  • Ouch (also, on video, if you can stomach it)
  • Have you noticed how TV3 now has a whole separate row in their daily medal table for Michael Phelps?  They’ve also quietly dropped the NZ medal count which used to be in it’s place.  So far, he’s ahead of all other countries except for Germany, South Korea and China.  And, in fact, is equal with all of the other members of the US team combined!
  • Speaking of Phelps, how come he never gets a tummy bug?  The worst that seems to happen to him is that his goggles fall off, and even then it only means that he doesn’t get to break the world record en route to winning another gold medal.  
  • Has anybody remembered that the All Blacks are playing this weekend?
  • Isn’t it sad that the first thing that crosses the mind of the CEO of New Zealand Equestrian Federation when he watches Andrew Nicholson fall off his horse a couple of days back is not: “bugger, there goes the medal chances” but instead: “bugger, that’s going to stuff our funding!” 
  • Finally, here is a good question for a pub quiz: which country is represented by the three-letter code: IRI?  According to Wikipedia it’s Iran.  I can understand why they might not have wanted IRA, but surely IRN would have been a more sensible choice  Also, further down that page is an explanation for why Malaysia is MAS not MAL.

That will do for now … the sofa beckons.

CORRECTION: It turns out that Michael Phelps did in fact break the world record, even without goggles.  And Moss Burmester is the 6th fastest individual over 200m butterfly, not the 6th fastest time ever (which I imagine actually all belong to said Mr Phelps?)

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