Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




The Olympics

Okay it is 11pm, we have a city-wide blackout, but I am setting my mobile phone alarm so I can get up a 3.20am to watch the opening ceremony.

Okay the ceremony isn't really sporty, but it is the start of the best event in 4 years!!

I am going to get a bit patriotic here for a minute. I think Australia is the greatest sporting nation. It is in our blood. I mean that. We have the best (per capita) sporting representation. I love our sporty culture. I remember the 2000 games and I loved watching them, but my US friends seemed really disinterested.

It struck me as strange. This is the Olympic Games!!!

So I would love to know, does the average American care?

Aussie Chick
Friday, August 13, 2004

I don't know what the average American thinks, but this average Canadian will be ignoring the opening ceremonies, and spending the time throwing darts at his Ben Johnson dartboard ;-)

Edward
Friday, August 13, 2004

Americans are highly sports oriented, but usually it's reserved to either a local rivalry (Ohio State vs. Michigan in college "American football"), or to the athletes IN the olympics who are the most visible in marketing campaigns here in the US, i.e. the guy/girl with the big Nike contract is who everyone watches.  I'm not saying there aren't general sports fans, I'm just trying to help paint a picture of what the typical midwestern US sports fan is like to our overseas friends.

devinmoore.com
Friday, August 13, 2004

"I think Australia is the greatest sporting nation. It is in our blood. I mean that. We have the best (per capita) sporting representation."

I know you don't mean it literally when you say "in our blood", but it should be noted that people often take pride in things like the Olympics out of a sense of cultural genetic superiority -- We win a lot of medals, therefore we are the superior human beings.

In reality the countries that win are the countries that expend a lot of effort towards winning, directly or indirectly. My country, Canada, for example, spends very little on athletic support, and given that school is out during the outdoor months, the foundation just simply aren't there to have any sort of major contribution to the summer olympics - extremely few youth ever have any significant exposure to the sports of the summer games (and when we do win it's usually via someone who lived somewhere else for most of their lives). Obviously we don't do so great as a result.

In comparison hockey is a national sport, and so many kids are significantly exposed to it that we have a very large talent pool, and thus a very large contribution to the world's hockey elite. Would we dominate hockey if the US had as much interest in the game? No, we'd be marginalized by them.

Dennis Forbes
Friday, August 13, 2004

Talking for this average American- I could care less about the Olympics...
Mike

MikeG
Friday, August 13, 2004


The American participants are full of dope, so I guess it's kind of uninteresting.

Q
Friday, August 13, 2004

"The American participants are full of dope, so I guess it's kind of uninteresting."

The American participants? More like virtually all of the participants.

Dennis Forbes
Friday, August 13, 2004

"I think Australia is the greatest sporting nation."

I think not. Not even mediocre

German Democratic Republic
Friday, August 13, 2004

Aussie Chick, that's a bit embarrassing. We actually waste a lot of money on the Olympics, including by importing people from other countries to represent us in several sports.

It's a great gravy train, Aussie Chick.

Aussie bloke
Friday, August 13, 2004

I'm an American, not particularly a sports fan and don't much care about the Olympics.  I used to watch on occasion but the dissappointing thing about the NBC coverage was that they showed disproportionate coverage of events that Americans were likely to medal in.  I understand this but it can be frustrating if you are not a gymnastics fan.

An Olympics or two ago I wanted to see that monster super-heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestler on the Russian team.  I read all kinds of article about how scary he was and I just assumed his matches would turn up on NBC.  Nope.  They showed some clips.

Also, not relevant to sport in general, but I will not be watching the Olympics because it really disturbs me that the Greeks are killing large numbers of stray dogs so the city looks okay.  As a dog-lover this really pisses me off.

Okay, I might sneak a peek at the women's wrestling...

name withheld out of cowardice
Friday, August 13, 2004

It seems a goodly proportion of the population that skims through here aren't that interested in sports.

I admit to being fascinated and I'm looking forward to watching the Olympics at a time when I'm normally awake, though I'm going to be on holiday for most of it.

I was just saying earlier today that there was a huge difference in how the Olympics is presented in the US compared to here in the UK.  I was in the US throughout the whole Barcelona Games and unless there was an american in the final and they were likely to win you'd never know the event was taking place.

That's not to say there isn't outright jingoism for those events where we have a chance (though there's precious few of them this time around), but given the various feeds around you'll certainly be able to pick from all of the available events in some form.

In saying this I'm not saying that your average american is necessarily parochial and only interested in their own world view (and this relates to so much more than just sport).  What I am saying is that the US media doesn't believe that the American public is interested in the world and certainly not interested in anything else other than a US-centric view.

Its that continuing underestimation of the American public by its own media that does so much to predjudice the rest of the world.

Simon Lucy
Friday, August 13, 2004

> the countries that win are the countries that expend a lot of effort towards winning

Ethiopian distance runners.

> I might sneak a peek at the women's wrestling...

I have enough of that on video. Uh... Pretend I didn't say that.


Friday, August 13, 2004


I'm another American who could hardly care.

But it's not a sports thing; I just don't find the summer sports all that intriguing. Gimme downshill skiing, bobsledding and other sports where the wipeouts are spectacular!

But a bunch of running, jumping and hurdling? Booooring.

The Olympics are on?
Friday, August 13, 2004

"Ethiopian distance runners."

How does Ethiopia do in the overall medal count?

Dennis Forbes
Friday, August 13, 2004

I heard the other day on NPR that NATO is spending about a billion dollars to deploy its naval fleet (7 surface ships and 1 sub, if I remember correctly) to Greece for the Olympics to provide security. Your tax dollars at work.

Rob VH
Friday, August 13, 2004

As a resident of the Greater Toronto Area, which was in the running for an upcoming Olympics (but ultimately lost out), let me say that almost everyone who actually lives here desperately wanted us to _not_ win the Olympics. Every single Olympics has the same story played out - huge cost overruns, mega projects on the taxpayers dime, followed by an Olympics that strangely didn't yield the revenue it expected, leaving the hosts with a massive deficit that'll hang around for decades (talk to Montreal).

It's such a well worn story that it's amazing how people still portray the myth of the great advantages of hosting the Olympics.

Dennis Forbes
Friday, August 13, 2004

"I think Australia is the greatest sporting nation."

Yeah, how's their football (soccer) team?

This is either a troll or massively naive.

And isn't it pretty far off-topic?

Joe
http://www.joegrossberg.com

Joe Grossberg
Friday, August 13, 2004

For many brazillians, (including my brother), the Olympics games are already over for us:  We didn't qualify in football (enough laughing, Argentina :-) ).

I, personally, love the Olympics.  I'll try to see as many events as I can.

Ricardo Antunes da Costa
Friday, August 13, 2004

I for one plan on watching at least some of the time.

It is one of the few times that I'll get a chance to see fencing on the boob tube.  I love watching the diving competitions.  The swimming is great but, I'm biased since I used to swim and one of my friends made the US team.  The whitewater kayaking is neat to see too.

double_dark
Friday, August 13, 2004

Joe, have a look at the percentages of Australians actively involved in sports (i.e. not just watching), and compare that to other nations. I don't have the numbers handy, but it is impressive.

I think that was the intent of the original poster.

Edward
Friday, August 13, 2004

I'm all for them.  My wife dotes on the damn things, which gives me a great opportunity to play my video games in peace.

Snotnose
Friday, August 13, 2004

"I heard the other day on NPR that NATO is spending about a billion dollars to deploy its naval fleet (7 surface ships and 1 sub, if I remember correctly) to Greece for the Olympics to provide security. Your tax dollars at work."

This sounds suspiciously like the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic, which is generally underway anyway, so I don't see how being underway in the Mediterranean costs more than being underway in the Atlantic.

I have two thoughts about this:
1) Someone, somewhere asked for an accounting of this coverage, and got the operating expenses of the fleet during the Olympics, which became "the Olympics is costing us money"
2) NATO is billing the IOC. :-)

Philo

Philo
Friday, August 13, 2004

The media doesn't 'underestimate' the american public. The majority of the american public really does have miniscule attention span and narrow mindeded shallowness.

The media is just a reflection of it, but they sure make a good scapegoat. They are just catering however they need to to bring in the most revenue... just like any business.

Chance Govar
Friday, August 13, 2004


Olympics is just another sporting event.  I would watch it no more than football or baseball (I never watch those).

I never really understand where the fun is in watching people do things anyway... Is it a way to define our puny selves? Are we trying to relate to these athletes in some way to make ourselves feel good? Or are we trying to satisfy our lack of doing sports by watching others do it?  I'd rather go out and run, then watch someone else run on TV.

Besides, dividing up the planet into countries and teams and then having them race against each other is just another form of segregation. Of course, in the end, everyone has to be friends even though the losers envy the winners. 

Still it is better than "Dog Eat Dog" I suppose.  :)

grunt
Friday, August 13, 2004

A billion dollars to deploy 7 lboats and a sub.

Is Arthur Andersen doing the accounting on this one?

Andrew
Friday, August 13, 2004

Actually if you keep it down to just the female volleyball (team or beach) and netball, you can give it the attention it deserves ;-)

My wife likes the gymnastics (bless her).

trollop
Friday, August 13, 2004

You have to understand how NBC manages the Olympic broadcasts. They aim for the 12 year old girlie audience. I'm a hardcore T&F fan having been a shot putter and runner and it irks me to no end. In Oz or even right over the border in Canada you get to see things like actual sports.

What we see is: FLUFF, ADS, FLUFF, ADS, FLUFF, ADS, FLUFF, ADS, sport, ADS, Up close & personal, ADS FLUFF, ADS...

You can sit though an hour of TV and see less than 5 minutes of any one event. Then when they do go to the events, they hopscotch from one venue to another introducing more insubstantial fluff without hardly showing any action. What action we do see is ONLY USA athletes. No other competitor is worthy of more than 30 seconds of screen time.

old_timer
Friday, August 13, 2004

"The majority of the american public really does have miniscule attention span and narrow mindeded shallowness. "

Watching someone run around the track or throw a ball, on the other hand, is the height of deepness? Come on.

I appreciate that the sports people really, really want us to care to watch this stuff (might as well try to make a career out of it), but there is nothing inherently special or deep about it (even if you furrow your brow and talk about the history or the importance of it). Saying that Americans are shallow because as a group they don't care about the Olympics is pretty unfair.

It's also interesting that the Olympics symbolize some of the worst traits of humanity: Extreme nationalism, racism, and projected success (a group will accept wallow in the mud as long as they can bask in the projected success of one of their own. The Communist bloc knew this well, just as China does, and ensured that they did well in the Olympics to allow the low level peasant living in squalor to think "Damn, we rule! YEAH!").

Dennis Forbes
Friday, August 13, 2004

According to the Royal Navy's website there's a NATO Standing Naval Force Mediterranean now.  To quote:

"Nations normally contributing to the Force are Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States. Other NATO nations have also occasionally contributed. The composition of the Force varies."

a cynic writes...
Friday, August 13, 2004

"I think Australia is the greatest sporting nation."

Excluding the 2003 Rugby World Cup. he he he

Furious George
Friday, August 13, 2004

You're right Aussie Chick. Last olympics I did this table. Per capita Australia is basically the first. Interesting is the USA. They jump from first to 41 !

http://sergiomassara.vilabol.uol.com.br/Olympics2000MedalsPercapita.htm

Sergio
Friday, August 13, 2004

Nah, that's definitely not what I meant. But it certainly isn't like there is some sort of bigtime media conspiracy to showcase only american athletes or something.

The american media's coverage is the way it is because it maximizes their profits. That has to somehow correlate to tolerance, if not enjoyment, of their broadcast format by the masses at large.

Chance Govar
Friday, August 13, 2004

"Last olympics I did this table"

I see the Indians were dead last. Nation of geeks too busy coding? :-) *ducks*

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, August 13, 2004

Medals per capita doesn't work for the Olympics, because there's a fixed ceiling to the number of competitors you can field, so the highest scores will be to the countries just large enough to field teams throughout the Olympics.

Philo

Philo
Friday, August 13, 2004

This per-capita table is an excellent start to normalisation and could be improved by also accounting for spending on Olympic teams.


"On a per capita basis, Australia spent more than seven times as much on its Sydney Olympic team as did Canada, to win four times as many medals."

http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/180_02_190104/mit10271_fm.html


Note: I am Australian

Andrew
Friday, August 13, 2004

> I see the Indians were dead last. Nation of geeks too busy > coding? :-) *ducks*

Speaking as an Indian American ...
India has to be the most patheticlly unathletic nation on the face of the earth.  The only sports they are marginally competitive in are cultural remnants from the time of British rule (e.g. cricket, field hockey).  No native athletic pride or traditions whatsoever.  It's just not in the culture from what I can tell. 

My parents could barely grasp the concept of sport and absolutely detested the idea of my participating in any kind of athletic activity. 

Immature programmer
Friday, August 13, 2004

Old Timer is right. (and sounds like my dad)

If NBC showed more than 5 minutes of sport per hour - and showed some of the more obscure events where American's aren't going to win I'd watch. Don't get me wrong, I like seeing American's win, I'd just like to see something other than T&F sprints, womens gymastics, and Basketball.

The other problem with NBC is that they tape delay everything. You can't watch it live becasue they don't show it live. They save it up for "prime time" coverage at 8pm local. I might get up early to watch before work if they showed something interesting live.

Miles Archer
Friday, August 13, 2004

<<My country, Canada, for example, spends very little on athletic support>>

LOL! So a lot of lo-hangers out north?

Anonymous Coward
Friday, August 13, 2004

The key to enjoying the Olymics is to not watch NBC's coverage. CBUT has much better coverage.


Indian athletes - I don't think I've met an Indian guy who could even do one pushup. Living on one bowl of rice every two days doesn't make for a strong body.


Austrailia - Wasn't Austrailia just a penal colony? Shouldn't crime be 'in the blood' more than atheletics?

Dutch Boyd
Friday, August 13, 2004

We've had some Sihks on our softball team. Big guys. Can hit the ball a long way. Need direction as to which way to run the bases and instruction on what a foul ball is.

Also, one of the best athletes that I've known is a Pakistani guy. Not a big guy by any means, but a great tennis player and a fierce competitor.

Miles Archer
Friday, August 13, 2004

Devin is right - middle and small town america is very interested in their local college and high school teams but not interested at all in the sports scene unles they are from some other  city in which case they'll go to lots of trouble to stay up with their home team, perhaps even travelling 800 miles to go to games a few times a years.

Among kids in the inner city, the sports stars with the marketing buzz and the glitz are of interest because it represents a possible dream or plan out of the ghetto for them.

Olympics are not of much interest here the last few times because of the drugging scandals and such.

A lot of people will like the human interest stories about the guy with one leg from some small country who managed to qualitfy and just wants to carry the flag of his homeland and finish the race.

If we hear that the US is going to compete in some area it's bad at like when we played soccer against mexico, then we'll watch.

I don't have cable or TV except a small set with a dvd player, so I won't be watching at all. But when I did have TV, I liked to see what was going on at 3AM and such, when they'd have curling, or some other strange sport I'd never heard of. That was interesting.

My favorite olympic event right now is the hoops and ribbons competition, but I doubt I'll be able to figure out when it's on this year.

Scott
Friday, August 13, 2004

>> "Last olympics I did this table"
I see the Indians were dead last. Nation of geeks too busy coding? :-) *ducks*

>> Speaking as an Indian American ...
India has to be the most patheticlly unathletic nation on the face of the earth.  The only sports they are marginally competitive in are cultural remnants from the time of British rule (e.g. cricket, field hockey).  No native athletic pride or traditions whatsoever.  It's just not in the culture from what I can tell.


It is sickening. It is an institutional failure. Not an individual one. There are 20 of my friends/associates/acquaintance who would give their right arm - the runners - and their right leg - the volley ball players - to have _some_ assistance and encouragement from the powers that be to pursue their chosen sport professionally. All that the Sports Authority of India cares is about Cricket, Football and maybe Tennis. Basketball, Voleyball, T&F, all are third class citizens.  We've (as non-participant enthusiasts) cried and cried and cried for more funding, more exposure, more training. Nah! Cricket gets the whole hog. Not that I do not like cricket. But others should also get their fair share.

>> Indian athletes - I don't think I've met an Indian guy who could even do one pushup. Living on one bowl of rice every two days doesn't make for a strong body.

The gym. 4 'O' clock. 50 pushups. On the knucles. Left hand.

KayJay
Friday, August 13, 2004

Philo, I think is better to rank that way. A nation with more athletes have more internal competitions, and so, more chance to screen only the great ones.

Sergio
Friday, August 13, 2004

Yes - Australia did have penal colonies. It was decided to develop them after the American colonies refused to take any more prisoners on account of having just declared independence.  (Have a look at  "Nell Flanders" by Daniel Defoe.)

However, since we stopped sending prisoners to Oz in 1868, I think it's probably time to move on.

a cynic writes...
Friday, August 13, 2004

As a black woman, I find this entire thread highly offensive.

muppet
Friday, August 13, 2004

"Speaking as an Indian American ...
India has to be the most patheticlly unathletic nation on the face of the earth. " --Immature Programmer

That's a shame because Indians are fairly attractive when they add a little muscle.  Muscle on a tall Indian or Iraqi or Iranian is a gorgeous thing.

I think sports in general has a deeply sexual nature which may explain why the US focuses on little girl gymnastics, swimming, ice skating, etc. Sports where the gorgeous muscular human body is all covered up do not make commercial success.

.
Friday, August 13, 2004

"Speaking as an Indian American ...
India has to be the most patheticlly unathletic nation on the face of the earth."

India actually has a chance at a track & field medal this Olympics.  There is a female long jumper who was 3rd at the World Championships last year, and the Indian women's 4x400 relay team is up there in the rankings.

NoName
Friday, August 13, 2004

"Medals per capita doesn't work for the Olympics, because there's a fixed ceiling to the number of competitors you can field, so the highest scores will be to the countries just large enough to field teams throughout the Olympics."

Even if a big country could send a huge number of competitors to an event, it would only make a marginal difference to the medal count of that country.  Remember there are only 3 medals to be won.  You can send 40 athletes but you can't win more than 3 medals in the event.

For individual events each country sends up to 3 of their best 3 athletes.  Chances are the 4th best from a country (and the 5th, 6th, etc.) would not have won a medal anyway, even if it is because they ultimately get beaten out of the medals by their own countryman/woman.

NoName
Friday, August 13, 2004

"(a group will accept wallow in the mud as long as they can bask in the projected success of one of their own. The Communist bloc knew this well, just as China does, and ensured that they did well in the Olympics to allow the low level peasant living in squalor to think "Damn, we rule! YEAH!")"

That's the point!

This way nations can get their nationalistic, jingoistic kicks out of silly things like throwing stuff or running around a big oval, instead of doing things like invading a neighboring country.

Much easier to co-opt and diffuse human nature than to indulge fantasies of trying to change it.

(Just watched Miracle last night, about the 1980 USA hockey victory over USSR.  Of all the ways the Cold War was waged, the Olympics was probably the most successful at diffusing tension and least damaging.)

Jim Rankin
Friday, August 13, 2004

More current example:

My Indian coworkers were pretty psyched to follow the Pakistan/India cricket matches (brought to mind by reading the cricket references above).  Another example of diffusing tension and promoting understanding through an inconsequential, silly little competition.

Jim Rankin
Friday, August 13, 2004

"the Olympics was probably the most successful at diffusing tension and least damaging"

I'd say the top three were:

1. Space program.
2. Olympics.
3. Communications between physicists.

Scott
Friday, August 13, 2004

"Much easier to co-opt and diffuse human nature than to indulge fantasies of trying to change it."

You call it diffusing - I call it fanning the flames - I believe the Nazis put a big effort into having a powerful showing at the Olympics, largely to prove to their people that they were the superior race. The Soviet Union did this, as does China currently - a win at any cost. We all know that Saddam's son, who ran their Olympic team, tortured and kills in the hopes of proving their validity on the Olympic stage.

Dennis Forbes
Friday, August 13, 2004

BTW, I'd say the top three diffusers or world tension over the past 50 years have been:

1) Nuclear weapons (and, on a smaller scale, the desire by the nuclear weapons holders to prevent small conflicts that could escalate)

2) Global trade

3) Immigration

Dennis Forbes
Friday, August 13, 2004

The Nazi Olympics are pretty amusing if you've ever seen documentary footage.  The Japanese were dominant in the high jump and though the American team famously humiliated the Aryan supermen with their black athletes, several Jewish athletes weren't allowed to particpate in some events so as not to offend Hitler (not to offend Hitler?  Damn people were polite back then!)

All that aside someone way back in the thread said the Olympics symbolize racism.  How is that?  I've thought about it for several minutes and have no idea what you mean.

I also sense in several people in this thread that the world at large has this stereotype of Americans as kind of dull-witted, anti-intellectual, incompetent irrational bullies.  As an American I suspect this stereotype applies to a bunch of people all over the world but to those of you who think it is especially true of us USAers how do you square that with our averagely superior performance in...well just about everything that matters?

name withheld out of cowardice
Friday, August 13, 2004

>> ...how do you square that with our averagely superior performance in...well just about everything that matters?

We indulge you. <g>

KayJay
Friday, August 13, 2004

Just to have it said. I really don't care much about sports but then I'm not a normal american, most americans do care. I only care that our athletes win a lot and they run around the track or whatever in our flag. The nonsense I've heard about not offending others is such a load of crap. The winner should be glad proud and strut like a peacock.

me
Friday, August 13, 2004

"2) Global trade"

Agreed on this one, and it's for a similar reason as the Olympics.

Americans complained about having to compete with Japan economically in the 80s, but it was a heck of a lot better than fighting them with planes and tanks and guns in WWII.  Now people complain about losing jobs to China and India, but again it's much better than ending up going to war with them (India not so much, but with China wanting to be a world power, now they have a way to do it without having to, say, invade Taiwan.)

The current exception to this, of course, are the militant Islamists.  Seems they're the holdouts who would still rather make war than money.

Jim Rankin
Friday, August 13, 2004

"As an American I suspect this stereotype applies to a bunch of people all over the world but to those of you who think it is especially true of us USAers how do you square that with our averagely superior performance in...well just about everything that matters?"

Proposal for new American slogan:

"Smart.  Gets things done."

I believe we revere achievement in America more than any other society in the world.

Jim Rankin
Friday, August 13, 2004

The Olympics is held very high in esteem because, IMO, it is perhaps the only non-governmental platform where an individual represents a billion people (or a million). The pride that a gold medalist experiences when he/she takes a victory lap on the track waving the flag is envious.

He/she experiences a personal  victory, no doubt. Like Pete Sampras at Wimbledon. But it is a gold for Pete Sampras. Not gold for Pete Sampras on behalf of the U. S. of A. (unless it is the Davis Cup).

Also, it is a comptetion where one competes with many other similar individuals from other nations _at the same time_. The feeling of "I have bested _them ALL_" is far more profound that "I beat him/her". Note that the Olympics has the most T&F events among similar competitions. Individuals of many nationalities competing at the same time.

KayJay
Friday, August 13, 2004

We're smart and get things done. We get on international forums and need to say this for your benefit. Because Fox News says you're simpleminded people who all think we're bad. And I want you to know we're good. All of us. Because someone invented the transistor here. And said he did it for Team America, and said all Americans invented it.

We have a strong border and we don't remember any foreign army occupying us. Not ruining our culture we've slowly built up for centuries. So we get things done. And we're smart. And you need to know this.

We catapulted into power when Europe went to war, in return for being police. But more importantly, we work 3 more hours a week than Europeans, and that is why we are wealthy. You need to learn that from us. Work 3 more hours and you will be wealthy too.

We have problems, yes. Americans jail many Americans, and the world now knows how we treat our prisoners. But when you point out individual problems and want to talk about it, we think you're saying we're horrible. So stop that.

Don't look at these videos:
http://www.archive.org/movies/details-db.php?collection=prelinger&collectionid=00178
http://www.democracynow.org/

small dick man
Friday, August 13, 2004

I'm another Aussie that while proud of our countries sporting achievements, and being a big sporting fan myself, am totally and utterly sick of this countries overwhelming focus on sport to the detriment of all else. 

I am sick of seeing stupid sob stories about well-to-do middle class athletes with injuries.

I am sick of watching semi-retarded swimmers being treated as demi-gods.

I am sick of obscure boring sporting events being given precedence over real news.

I will not be watching any part of the olympics.

I love sport, but give me a break
Friday, August 13, 2004

In the ancient Greek Olympics, wars would be suspended while the games occurred.  No such luck in today's world, unfortunately.

T. Norman
Friday, August 13, 2004

I was in Sydney during the Olympics.

The media were all over themselves about what a great deal it is for Australia, but who benefits really?

The politicians, sports officials, media and senior business figures got lovely little holidays and functions that the rest of the city was excluded from, even though we paid for them. The rest of the city - us - were told to avoid driving so as to leave the roads clear for the hob-nobs.

And four years afterwards we've got big white elephant stadiums.

We should get rid of the arse-lickers on the IOC and the AOC and get back to what real sport is about.

Mark has the right language for the job
Friday, August 13, 2004

+++I believe we revere achievement in America more than any other society in the world.+++

Too bad we achieve things like alienating the international community, helping Osama bin Laden by radicalizing moderate Muslims by bombing their grandmotehrs, creating new classifications of POW out of our ass so that we can do what we please against the Geneva convention...

a nation of achievers, that's us.

muppet
Friday, August 13, 2004

I haven't been this excited about an Olympic Games since the last Olympics.

.
Friday, August 13, 2004

Don't forget the Mind Sports Olympics, starting in about a week or so.

They've got the things you'd expect like chess, backgammon, Go and also other games like Acquire, Diplomacy, etc. (even "speed reading")

http://www.msoworld.com/2004/schedule.html

Dutch Boyd
Friday, August 13, 2004

I'm very excited about the next Olympics in China. Apparently so are all the sponsors. They can't give away lux box seats in Athens while most are planning HUGE investments in 2008.

Athens is the past. China is the future.

globalista
Friday, August 13, 2004

"Even if a big country could send a huge number of competitors to an event, it would only make a marginal difference to the medal count of that country.  Remember there are only 3 medals to be won.  You can send 40 athletes but you can't win more than 3 medals in the event."

Not per event, total.

For example, if Jamaica sends four men to the bobsled competition and they win one gold, that's 1/population of Jamaica. Shouldn't the fact that one team won one medal factor into it?

I suspect only the largest nations cover every single event. That was my point.

Philo

Philo
Friday, August 13, 2004

"I'm very excited about the next Olympics in China. Apparently so are all the sponsors. They can't give away lux box seats in Athens while most are planning HUGE investments in 2008."

Bwahaha. This stuff is classic.

Yes, China will turn its debt machine towards the Olympics, with the goal of projecting a certain "master race" image to the world. 11 days later or whatever, it'll be completely forgotten in the shroud of time, though China can relish their white elephants. The idea that the world is lining up for the 2008 Olympics is so laughable that it's beyond laughter.

Dennis Forbes
Saturday, August 14, 2004

Actually China has a habit of extracting its worth. I suspect the IOC is about to get a lesson in reverse rorts.


Saturday, August 14, 2004

Actually, in team events the gold is multiplied by the number of members of the team all the members get their own.

Whether medal tally tables record it that way I've no idea but then I don't take any notice of that its an irrelevance.

Simon Lucy
Saturday, August 14, 2004

Wow, is this really that hard to comprehend?

It has NOTHING to do with how many athletes a country has in any *individual* event. It's about how many athletes a country has fielded across *all* the events.

The "number of medals divided by population" only works to compare nations that have fielded the same number of events. The appropriate measure is one of efficiency -

(Number of events won/Number of events fielded) per capita

Philo

Philo
Saturday, August 14, 2004

Yes, it is very hard to comprehend.  I still don't get it.

Let's imagine two nations, A and B with exactly equal populations.

Nation A fields athletes in 5 events and comes up with two medals in one event and a third medal in another event.

Nation B fields athletes in only 1 event and gets a medal in that event.

So how do you rate the relative performance of these two nations?


------------------------------------
Let's take a second example.

Imagine a mythical nation with 1/3 of the world's population.  Assume they also have 1/3 of the world's total athletic talent and *should* win 1/3 of the available medals.

Since most events limit nations to 1 or 2 entrants per event (more if you have world champions in that event) that means even this super nation can field enough athletes to win their deserved 1/3 of the medals.

Is this incorrect?  What are the actual limits on team sizes?  What effect does it have if you already have record holders/world champions in the event?  Do you get to enter more people?

Andrew
Saturday, August 14, 2004

There is no limit on overall team sizes per se, or number of sports and events that a nation can enter.

Most individual events (perhaps all) allow 3 entries per event per country.  Small team sports such as 2-on-2 volleyball or 4-person bobsled usually allow 2 teams to be entered per country.

My point was that the 3-person limit per event is not an artificial constraint that significantly reduces the medal count of larger countries, because sending their 4th best person usually would not result in an additional medal. If they go 1-2-3 in an event, obviously a 4th person could not add to the medal count; if they go something like 2-4-5 in an event, chances are their 4th best person would not have placed in the medals.

No country on earth has athletes entered in every sport, every event.  Not even close.  So any country thinks entering more people is going to bring more medals, there is lots of room to send more athletes.

And BTW the Olympics does not allow more competitors for a country if there is a reigning world or olympic champion.  Some other competitions such as the track & field world championships do.

NoName
Saturday, August 14, 2004

I'm with old_timer (way back up this thread).  I lost interest in the Olympics years ago when overblown-fanfare, ads, human-interest stories overtook the actual events in the amount of coverage time.

The turning point was when, only 5 minutes into a hockey game, they cut away to Frank and Kathy Gifford in the village. Fuuuuucccckkkkk me!

For the record, I feel the same way about the Superbowl, the NBA, and boxing.  They were all better and more interesting to watch when it was just about sport.

Yet another anon
Saturday, August 14, 2004

That is where the 'alternative' channels are good. I am not sure what you guys have, but we have SBS, normally they play lots of weird cultural movies, but they have 24/7 Olympic coverage and it is non of this flicking around stuff. They televised the mens road race (all 5.5hours of it), without flicking around.

Their is something relaxing about sitting around with your family talking and watching these events. My dad and I want to take a fortnight of one year so we can watch the Olympics non-stop. I watch it while I study, and tape it while I sleep.

Aussie chick
Sunday, August 15, 2004

SBS (also known as Soccer, Bloody Soccer) is at

http://www.sbs.com.au/sbs_front/index.html

Its Olympics coverage is brilliant for those lucky enough to get a good signal. Its subtitled material from anywhere else but Hollywood is also. [Particularly like Iron Chef.]

trollop
Sunday, August 15, 2004

Ah! SBS. The channel that introduced me to French cinema with classics (sic) like " Le Grande Bouffe".  Those were the days.

KayJay
Monday, August 16, 2004

Sure, China will finance it all with debt. But that doesn't change the fact that many sponsors who passsed on Greece or are seeing little interest are lining up for China. Right or wrong, they see it as the future.

"The idea that the world is lining up for the 2008 Olympics is so laughable that it's beyond laughter."

Yes. But far less laughable than what lined up for Athens.  Even if China has to pay people with phony money, there will be far fewer empty seats.

It will be easier for the public and business to perceive the 2008 Olympics as more successful than Athens. Even if it's all an evil plot.

globalista
Monday, August 16, 2004

I've given the Olympics another chance.  The coverage in the US on NBC and its affiliates has actually been really good.  I'm even getting sucked into events that I've never heard of or cared about (like synchronized diving of all things).

I do wish that the ticket sales had been better.  Greece is such a beautiful and fitting location for the games, it's sad that they've only sold 2.9 million tickets.  Australia sold 9.5 million tickets in 2000.

I wonder if it's apathy or fear of terrorism that's keeping fans at bay.

Yet another anon
Monday, August 16, 2004

I just heard some news reporters on the radio asking the same question.

The synchronised diving was good though wasn't it.

This is such a great week. So relaxing. I think from now on I shall plan a four-yearly holiday around this time. Rent an apartment on the coast, go for long walks, relax on the balcony, watch the games. My idea of relaxing, I feel relaxed just thinking about it...

Aussie chick
Monday, August 16, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home