- How beautiful are the horses?
- I love the fact that there’s an event for everyone: 15 year olds in the swimming, and a 56-year-old Kiwi in the equestrian, Asians have table tennis, Mongolians get judo or wrestling, Kazakhstan gets weight lifting, Ethiopia and Kenya the long distance running, new Zealand the rowing, GB the cycling, US the swimming, Jamaica the sprints, etc.
- I always find myself feeling sorry for athletes in colourful uniforms. I know everyone can’t be cool like the Kiwis in black, so I wonder how the athletes feel in the embarrassing colours that some have to wear? Lithuania’s puce green or the Netherlands wearing orange, for example.
- Why don’t the rowers get a podium to stand on? Is it because they’re so tall?
- I love the emotion of the Olympics. I’m a sucker for an emotional victory, and for a medal ceremony. But it’s okay, I have a good stock of tissue boxes just in case. And I love seeing grown men cry. The English rower who came third in the single sculls last night was crying like a baby as he got his medal. The gnarly old Kiwi who won also got a little choked up. And the young Kiwi swimmer who came fourth, smashing her personal best for the second time by several seconds these games, crying simply because she got close to a medal, close to her idols, realising that she deserved to be there.
- The Kiwi rowers who won the double sculls looked like hobbits at the medal ceremony , surrounded by the giants they had beaten. How great it was to win three gold medals in 24 hours, taking us to the top of the medal-by-population table.
- Speaking of the various medal tables, I found it fascinating to find medals-by-GDP tables, which put Mongolia out front by a country mile. It is sobering to reflect on these, when so many of the sports are filled with white European (or European origin) athletes from wealthy countries, or they are at least as we watch the earlier events such as equestrian, swimming and rowing.
- I can’t understand why the rowers have so many heats, repechages, and fake also-ran finals? I mean, the other night I saw them running an F Final. That’s not a final. That’s just another race for the people who got last in their heats! No other sport does that.
- The women’s beach volleyball uniform. How, in 2012, can any modern sport justify that? How can they justify a sport that legislates a maximum size for the women’s bikinis? And then to add insult to injury, they let the men wear baggy shorts and T-shirts. I seriously object to this on feminist grounds. Yes, I’m also showing my age, because I’m always puzzled at the increasingly skimpy women’s athletics shorts and tops that have, since I used to compete in the 70s, turned into bikinis or bra and knickers. It makes me remember a popular ad on TV here. If you can’t see the water, then you’re wearing underwear. My husband has just volunteered the information that the original Olympians competed naked, so what’s my problem?!
- I haven’t been to bed before midnight all week. Last night was much later.Will I get much sleep over the next week?
- I love the London 2012 iPad app
- How old I am, as I remember past Olympics. My earliest Olympic memories are of 1972 in Munich, both victories – my mother coming into our bedroom to wake us up to go to school and announcing the NZ rowing eight had won a gold medal – and the terrorist attacks. (Actually, editing all the typos on this that crept in as I wrote it from my iPad in front of the TV, I now realise I do have some 1968 Mexico memories.)
- My favourite Olympic memories come from 1976 when John Walker won the 1500 metres gold and another Kiwi came third, when Mark Todd won for the second Olympics in a row on his horse Charisma in 1988, and more recently in 2004 when our athletes came 1st and 2nd in the triathlon. I remember so many of New Zealand’s medals. Coming from a small country, each medallist is feted, each win (or place) is celebrated, and we feel the wins personally. I wonder how it feels to come from America or China or Great Britain where you’re one of tens or hundreds of millions (or even the odd billion), and where the medals come thick and fast. Do the victories feel so personal, is each medal winner (or even competitor) celebrated in the way we can do here in our small island nation?
- And as I watch the Olympic competitors, the joy and the heartache, this year I am especially thinking of those who didn’t make the team. In particular, Natalie my cousin’s daughter, a first class shooter who was told she was selected to the one spot NZ shooting was allocated. But then another shooter challenged his omission, and only days before she was to leave, Natalie was replaced in the team. She received a lot of publicity, and was commended for her dignity when it must have been heart-breaking. And only days before the Olympics she won the world clay shooting championship, as if to prove to the selectors she should have been there. I wonder how she is feeling sitting at home watching the Olympics on TV from her couch on the wrong side of the world.
- And finally, working out at the gym in the mornings is now quite fun, as we are all glued to the final Olympic events of the day in London. And somehow, as we watch these fit and toned athletes, our own work-outs take on an extra intensity.
Initial thoughts on the Olympics
August 4, 2012 by Mali