Saturday, August 11, 2012
London 2012 Olympic Games Review Part One
The London 2012 Olympic Games is over and I need to catch up on sleep and my social life. Here are my thoughts on them from a New Zealand sports fan's perspective.
1) I found this games far more addictive than previous Olympic Games. It is probably because of the loads of extra channels available on Sky Sport which made viewing New Zealanders in action difficult at times because of the various options. Channel surfing should become an Olympic sport. We were no longer being spoon-fed whatever the television companies wanted to show us and could watch a plethora of different sports. There was a downside, as we had to put up with sometimes terrible commentary and coverage focussed on athletes from other countries which sometimes became ridiculous when you wanted to know how the kiwi in that event was going. Rowing and cycling were bad for this. I stayed up until 2am to watch the men's cycling time trial featuring Jack Bauer, but we hardly saw him. Sometimes the rowers in lane six were missed off.
The Olympics being held in summer in the Northern Hemisphere means that they are in the middle of winter in New Zealand making them a great excuse to stay home. We were out at the pub one night watching the rugby and then everyone went home to watch the Olympic Games. It is a great day when it is widely acceptable to go home and watch the Olympic Games, even from people who aren't sports nuts like me. The wide range of accessible sports available on television and online meant there was always something of interest to everyone.
The influence of social media and live streaming online has also made the action widely accessible. People are always commenting on Facebook or tweeting on Twitter about the Olympic Games. There were even athletes kicked out of the Olympics for their inappropriate tweets.
Here are all of the New Zealand medalists at the London 2012 Olympic Games with the exception of the equestrian team.
2) In general, New Zealand did well at the London 2012 Olympics. We finished with five golds, three silver and five bronze exceeding most predictions with 13 medals and making me some dosh at the TAB. This was the most medals that New Zealand has achieved equal with the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Five golds is our most golds since Los Angeles in 1984 where we got eight gold medals. We finished in xx position on the medal table. We got five gold medals and a common occurence is that we got them all on the water. All of our medals except the Valerie Adams silver were achieved while sitting down. Our best sport was rowing, but we got some medals in track cycling and sailing which were predicted, but great to get. I loved some of our performances which exceeded expectations like the gold for Lisa Carrington, the equestrian bronze, cyclist Simon Van Velthooven and the come from behind win by Southland's Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan. You felt great for Mahe Drysdale after what happened in Beijing.
3) I think New Zealand Olympic Committee needs a shake up. There were obviously some administrative mistakes which lead to some athletes not even being entered into their events until the last minute. Chef de Mission Dave Currie is leaving his post, and this is probably for the best. There were also several mistakes made in various other sports like the Korean fencer, the British rowers with the dodgy seat were a bit lucky in my opinion, the German hammer thrower with the throw which wasn't measured by the electronic devices and what about the format of badminton which saw teams throwing matches to avoid the top seeds in the next round? I thought the Olympic Games are the ultimate in professionalism, yet there were so many stuff ups. Whatever happened to the guy who threw a bottle at Usain Bolt before the start of the 100 metres and was beaten up by a Dutch women's judo bronze medal winner? Are we just more aware of them because of the increase in media exposure and social media outrage?
The bottle thrown from the grandstand before the start of the men's 100 metres.
4) Some sports are easier to win medals in than others and this makes you wonder why? Athletics, cycling and swimming are far more global sports than others. Why is it that there are the same number of medals available in the men's cycling road race with nearly 150 riders compared with other sports where there are only 15 athletes entered? That is why Jack Bauer's 10th in the men's cycling road race for me is actually just as good as some of the medal winning performances. How many people do equestrian, canoeing or the 10km women's swim compared with the number of runners, cyclists and swimmers? That is why Nick Willis getting ninth in the 1500 metres is still not a bad effort when you consider that countries can have more than one entrant, not like rowing or kayaking.
5) Expectations are also important. The New Zealand public was so convinced that Valerie Adams and Nick Willis were going to win their events through the media anything less was considered a disappointment. Adams' silver was considered a failure yet the equestrian bronze wasn't? That is stupid, given how global track and field is. We also forget that in sport it often boils down to performing on the day. These guys tried their best to win, but sometimes things just don't click and that is life!
6) There are always debates about which sports should be included in the Olympic Games. I was initially against the likes of tennis and football being in the Olympic Games, but I don't actually mind them anymore. Same with synchronised swimming and handball. I do think that football is an odd one because the Olympic Games needs football because it is so popular worldwide and draws massives crowds at the games. It just seems weird that it is under 23 with three overage players in the mens, so it doesn't overshadow the FIFA World Cup. I think that some sports like cycling, rowing and swimming need to cut back on the number of categories within their sport. Whoever wins the football for example gets one gold medal for men and if they are lucky, a medal in the women's event. If you dominate swimming you can get a Michael Phelps or Mark Spitz win a bucketload of golds on their own, let alone relays, different stroke types and distances. I am a bit sceptical of golf at the Olympic Games, but I think there is a place for rugby sevens because of the tournament nature of it. The number of sports are capped at 28, so it is of little surprise in some ways that we are doing better these days, because there are more sports than there were pre 2000. What sports do you think should be included or excluded going forward? What about including the tug-of-war, dodgeball or ballroom dancing?
Stay tuned for London 2012 Olympic Games Review Part Two, what did you think of London 2012 Olympics?