|"These views cost us £600 each!"|
Five days down and thirty odd sports later, the Olympic Games is finally flowing, and in full swing. The Chinese - as usual, are accused by the Americans of narcotic advantages and unsporting conduct. America – as usual, storm medal podiums across the board. And Great Britain – as usual, have taken almost half the Games to claim their first Gold; but it seems the success may become an infectious wave of perpetual motion amongst the Brits - at least, we hope so.
I have always felt the beauty of the games lies in the diverse mixture of all 36 events. In any other walk of life, I am unlikely to sit down with a cup of tea and a handful of Jaffa Cakes to watch Weightlifting. The same can be said of Judo, the Eurosport favourite, Handball, and definitely not Water Polo; which reminds me of chocolate doughnuts - two wonderful ideas, which just don't work well together. Anyhow, here a few more random thoughts, on the unique events at the 30th Olympiad…
Equestrian: Horse riding has survived generations - mainly as a throwback to the days of the chariot; and so us Brits can indulge in a little Royal watching. The event polarises me a little; on one side, the animals are well-trained beauties to behold, and I love Horses. On the other, they don’t receive medals for their achievements; I would prefer it if the Gee Gee’s got to stand on the victory podiums, neighing the national anthem whilst chewing some cud.
Rowing: An Olympic standard bearer, and one of the toughest sports in the competition. In theory, watching rigid straight boats glide in and out of one another, should be boring as waiting for the Olympic Ticket timer - but it is compelling stuff. The Germans are world leaders at the moment; somewhat curious, when their nation lacks any sign of a coastline. For the home fans, it is always good for medal returns, and is not letting us down. And lets face it, who doesn't love Steven Redgrave.
Beach Volleyball: The makeshift stadium at Horse Guards Parade has gone down a storm in this first week. The assumption being primarily due to pervy thrills attained by males watching the women’s matches. But the unique logistics of the outdoor arena, competitive nature, and American style razzmatazz, has created a sport which has been a surprising success. I love the French horn used every few games; by far my favourite sound of the Olympics so far. My least favourite, the Blue Peter guy who presents the morning show on the BBC; I keep expecting him to whip out a home made Tracy Island at any moment.
Hockey: Former Football analyst Barry Davies provides commentary for this event, which is all I need in convincing to view it. The games are brutal, tight, and the more you watch, the more engaged you feel. I still do not understand why only one side of the stick is useable; at least in controlling the ball terms - I am sure you can whack your opponent with either side. If anybody can explain why, feel free to let me know.
Judo: I don’t usually get my kicks watching grown men and women in pyjamas, hug one another for five minutes, but Judo is not for the faint hearted. Points are scored with holds attained through varying grappling positions, and it is nothing like any you see in Jackie Chan movies; with the exception of Chinese people always being victorious. A British woman attained a silver today in Judo - and I must admit, I wouldn't want to tell any of these ladies to get back in the kitchen.
Badminton: Eight competitors were accused of intentionally trying badly, in order to secure an easier draw, once the knock-out stages arrive - they were subsequently kicked out. Perhaps this was also the strategy of Team GB; to throw the other 204 nations off the scent - like an injured Lion. But probably not. I must admit, I find this sport dull – but it does afford me many jokes about smashing a cock and balls around, so it is not all in vain.
Archery: Shooting, but with arrows, and is being held at Lord’s Cricket Ground. I would make the matches more entertaining, by sticking cardboard faces of minor celebrities, Cliff Richard, and each relative opponent, on the scoring boards. Also stick a few balloons along the archers trajectory; when one is fired through, an explosion of confetti falls to the ground.
My search for tickets continues. I am trying to avoid becoming sceptical or cynical, but it really is disappointing. I want the Olympics to be about nothing but the competition of athletes - not the corporate greed, political oppression of the masses, and hoards of empty seats - which still annoy me. I guess what you see is what is real. At least the Brits are shooting bullseyes now.
Until the next time…