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Olympic observations – 2

women's rowing, eights» Gabby Douglas won gold medals in both women’s gymnastics team competition and the individual all-around. DOUGLAS is an anagram for USA GOLD.

» The gymnastics are over. Happily that means no more commentary and conversation from U.S. gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi. I don’t care what kind of records he and his wife have chalked up with our gymnasts. I don’t like his “bela-cosity.”

» I’ve really enjoyed the rowing competition. Or crew. Or sculls. Or whatever they call the various events. The unison of each team, the symmetry, the way the shells glide through the water. The shots from directly overhead are particularly spectacular. Artistry.

» A few mornings ago I got up, grabbed a cup of coffee, and turned on the Olympics. I was greeted with the equestrian cross country event. Just beautiful. It looked so pastoral, with bright sun streaming through emerald green trees and splashing onto lush grass. Decorative fencing, pots, and other rural accoutrements accented the course. And of course there were the gorgeous horses that I’ve loved since I was knee high. Imagine my surprise when the camera cut to shots showing the city skyline in the background. It wasn’t out in the country at all; it was in a city park.

» Have you seen any of the trampoline events? Did you ever play on a trampoline when you were a kid? The two are totally unrelated. If I’d bounced that high even once, I’d have never touched another trampoline. As it was, I got into plenty of trouble for bouncing on my parents’ bed. Isn’t that what big beds are for?

» The track and field events have started. I’ve heard it said that watching people run around a track is boring, like watching grass grow. I guess it depends on your point of view. If you’ve ever been a runner, or even a jogger, you know all about the pacing, the burning lungs and legs, the finishing kick. If you’ve ever felt them, you’ve felt what those runners feel and you can identify. You can really appreciate and understand what they are doing.

» Mentioned in passing during a women’s running event: One of the runners (I didn’t get the name) doesn’t wear nail polish because she doesn’t want the additional weight.

» About those women badminton players who were kicked out of the games for deliberately throwing their matches: I blame any kind of playoff system that rewards losing. There should be no incentive or reward for doing less than one’s best in an effort to win. That said, determining that someone is deliberately trying to lose can be a very subjective judgment. I’d hate to think anyone would ever be penalized for it if they were, in fact, doing their very best and just having a bad day.

» For some reason the swimming has not been as engaging this time around. Maybe the networks are covering it too much? Still, Colorado’s own Missy Franklin has won several medals. I feel guilty not being more excited about it.

» Tuned in to some women’s soccer this morning. The U.S. was playing and I just assumed they were in the blue uniforms (actually black; it was New Zealand). Wrong. They were in the ugly, ugly, ugly horizontal red-and-white stripes. I hate that kind of striping on soccer jerseys, or anything else, and it’s not uncommon. You can tell I’m an American. No respect for old-time traditional soccer jersey designs. But what can you expect from someone who calls the sport “soccer” instead of “football”?

» My sister, not a great sports fan, was horrified to see what the women’s beach volleyball players wear — or don’t wear. On the one hand, women wear bikinis on the beach; on the other, the Olympics are not “the beach.” Certainly all that bare skin is not necessary to enhance performance. (And, yes, I suspect my sister was watching beach volleyball only because her husband wanted to watch.)

» I have my doubts about all that brightly colored Kinesio, physio, or athletic tape the athletes are sporting. Sure, wrap  a weak or injured joint, but random patches of tape … I don’t see that they could serve any real purpose other than keeping that spot a little warmer, although I suppose I shouldn’t discount the psychological effect on an athlete who believes it will help.

» And about that Olympic cauldron: It’s beautiful. A work of art. One of the prettiest I can recall. What a shame it’s located on the floor of the stadium where no one outside can see it. I’d have put it up on the stadium’s rim somewhere, or maybe on top of that funky tower outside, where it would be visible to from all around Olympic Park.

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Olympic observations

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"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." ~ Mark Twain

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