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I couldn't resist linking to Claudia La Rocco's latest blog entry ("Culturalist").

The pomp and circumstance, the insistence that this is Important because it’s the Olympics, the horrifically sentimental soundtrack, the "We Are the World" nonsense while furiously keeping track of who has the most medals, the absurd summations and analysis of different countries - I just don't get it. It's gross, and it does a terrible disservice to athletics and to culture.

I was flipping through channels to take a breather when I caught the latest episode of the enjoyably ridiculous show "Project Runway" --”(it's the perfect antidote for the Games: the participants take themselves terribly seriously, while the show itself makes great sport of them).

My Indian co-workers must be thrilled though, that Abhinav Bindra won gold in the 10m Air Rifle.

So why is baseball an Olympic sport but not cricket?

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The Olympics are a little like the United Nations, which they sometimes resemble – not perfect, but better than nothing. I would suggest they have value in that they direct recognition (and money) for their achievements to athletes of distinction, some of whom would not receive a great deal of either otherwise. There’s not always rhyme or reason as to which sports are included, but what else is new. Regarding cricket, I suspect that the time required for play may be a factor, but I don’t know. At least they haven’t made ballroom dancing an event, which they were talking about at one time.

As a spectacle the Olympics can be pretty awesome, and I for one always enjoy watching the parade of nations with the athletes proudly carrying their nations’ flags and waving giddily at the camera. I don’t see any necessary contradiction in appreciating this and also rooting for your country’s athletes.

For viewers the Olympics often provide a powerful view of what the late Jim McKay used to call “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” on the largest stage in the world of sports, with the drama of seeing athletes succeed or fail under the most intense possible pressure.

Personally, I got a kick out of watching the American swimmers whooping with glee (and surprise) when they won the relay last night. The look on the faces of the Frenchmen was a study.

I was flipping through channels to take a breather when I caught the latest episode of the enjoyably ridiculous show "Project Runway" --”(it's the perfect antidote for the Games: the participants take themselves terribly seriously, while the show itself makes great sport of them).

I like Project Runway sometimes, but to me some of the reality shows' propensity for jeering at their participants is their least attractive feature.

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The new craze in cricket is 20/20. It a fast-paced game, with 20 overs (120 bowls) for each side, and it's quite exciting. The teams with depth and stamina aren't as advantaged, and since cricket is a streak game, that can go both ways.

Cricket is clearly established as a sport; ballroom dancing is not, and I think it would be more difficult to be accepted as a judged sport. However, I assume cricket has been rejected so far as being too limited geographically, although it is nearly a religion on three continents, and too identified with the British empire.

I wonder if UK will put it forward as a host demo sport in 2012.

I like Project Runway sometimes, but to me some of the reality shows' propensity for jeering at their participants is their least attractive feature.

My favorite parts are when the participants snark back :lol:

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I got a little emotional when i saw the Cuban delegation. I must confess that even after having left Cuba a few years ago, my heart still goes for my fellow competitors... :wub:

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The 4x100 m relay last night has to go down as one of the greatest races in Olympic history. :wub:

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I personally am a sap for the story of Jason Lezak, a thirty-something in his third Olympics, having missed gold in the last two 4x100 relays, pulling off a heroic swim.

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I got a little emotional when i saw the Cuban delegation. I must confess that even after having left Cuba a few years ago, my heart still goes for my fellow competitors... :wub:

Oh, that's all right, Cristian. Sir Walter Scott wrote in "The Lay of the Last Minstrel":

Breathes there a man with soul so dead

Who never to himself hath said,

"This is my own, my native land."?

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I got a little emotional when i saw the Cuban delegation. I must confess that even after having left Cuba a few years ago, my heart still goes for my fellow competitors... :tiphat:

Oh, that's all right, Cristian. Sir Walter Scott wrote in "The Lay of the Last Minstrel":

Breathes there a man with soul so dead

Who never to himself hath said,

"This is my own, my native land."?

That's lovely :wub: I'd never heard this one, and I am so tired of people who don't understand something so basic.

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So why is baseball an Olympic sport but not cricket?

I believe it was mentioned somewhere in one of the telecasts that baseball and softball are falling off the Olympic roster after this games.

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I got a little emotional when i saw the Cuban delegation. I must confess that even after having left Cuba a few years ago, my heart still goes for my fellow competitors... :tiphat:

Oh, that's all right, Cristian. Sir Walter Scott wrote in "The Lay of the Last Minstrel":

Breathes there a man with soul so dead

Who never to himself hath said,

"This is my own, my native land."?

That's lovely :wub: I'd never heard this one, and I am so tired of people who don't understand something so basic.

Patrick, That's lovely indeed. Thanks Mel...The hardest part is when I watch a US v. Cuba competition...It's really hard...

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I'm interested in seeing the best athletes in the world compete... their nationality is of less interest, .(.along the lines of did they come from a small town, big city, their age, their family, etc... fun background color but really not the prime reason for watching...) perhaps I'm odd, but I'd think interest in sports would mainly be interest in seeing them well played... getting hung up on medal counts seems like compulsive gambler's take on it... or perhaps evidence of national insecurity. Any competition where the winner is far ahead of the competitor(s) seems boring to me.

There was a lot of talk about the declining audience during the last winter Olympics... I'd like to suggest that interest in the Olympics has been declining pretty much matching the development "Chacking" programming policy mistakes... when the broadcasters began showing only sports Americans were likely to medal in rather than sports where the most interesting competitions were taking place.. Several "tweens" I've spoken with lately have no idea how many different sports are included in the Ollympics... they know Swimming, Track & Field, Gymnastics... and maybe weight lifting... but are astounded to hear of equestrian events, Judo, bicycling, sailing, etc.. (I've actually heard more than one say "why didn't anyone tell me?"). what's wrong with this picture?

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I felt so bad fot the little chinese gymnasts who won the gold medal in gymnastics.

They came on the podium while holding their hands. It was a very moving gesture, but I wonder if it's better of not knowing what there is behind it. And I have found the picture where the chinese coaches are posing with the girls medals quite shocking. I hope they won't keep these medals for themself.

That being said, I was a bit disturbed by Marta Karoly's comments. Even if some chinese girls are really younger than 16, they should be made proud of their accomplishments. These girls are far too young to pay for adults' faults.

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Not knowing that much about gymnastics, I was was amazed when one of the announcers mentioned the girls had to be 16 years old to qualify. Am I the only one who thinks some of those Chinese girls were 13 or 14?

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Not knowing that much about gymnastics, I was was amazed when one of the announcers mentioned the girls had to be 16 years old to qualify. Am I the only one who thinks some of those Chinese girls were 13 or 14?

My sister and I both looked like the shorter ones when we were around 9 years of age. The little one, with the purple eye shadow, reminded me so much of my sister when she was in 3rd grade; except her eyes were rounder.

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The Chinese can look young and little for their age, at least to Western eyes. But I do agree that some of the girls looked very young indeed.

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The Chinese can look young and little for their age, at least to Western eyes. But I do agree that some of the girls looked very young indeed.

There's an AP story out of Bejing today on the Gymnast He Kexin who was part of the Chinese team that took the gold medal.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hi4rzBx...iBvQXAD92I2NGO0

Earlier today there was still on the web a report from the Chinese agency Xinhua from last November that gave

He's age at the time to be 13. Amazingly she turned "16" this January 1. Quite a trick, eh? (what happened to 14 and 15?)

The page with the Xinhua report was still on view this morning but has disappeared during the day.

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Congrats to Nastia Liukin. She's a beautiful gymnast, and her floor routine was just lovely. I wish She could tie for 1st place with Shawn Johnson, too. Shawn's has so many biggest tricks, one can only be impressed. And she has an excellent spirit!

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:off topic: to Shawn Johnson for her extremely positive attitude and bright spirit.

I really wish her a gold on the beam, she deserves it ! Congrats to her !

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When I travel internationally I am overwhelmed with a desire to come home to the familiarity of the USA, and with each trip I love the USA (warts and all) more than ever.

During the Olympics I'm overcome with nationalism.

Ain't it grand?

Giannina

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I find myself most deeply moved by the athletes from countries which have no Winter Olympic participation -- the countries beset by poverty and disease, bereft of sophisticated training facilities. If you have shoes, you can run. And as was proven in one recent Olympics (1996 or so -- is that recent?) even shoes may not be necessary -- just drive -- when the Marathoner entered the stadium barefoot.

BTW, on a sharply contrasting note, was anyone else struck by how closely the uniforms of the US Team on the night of the team competition resembled Coke cans? Same shiny shade of red with a ribbony diagonal of white (suggested on the leotards, less obvious than on the Coke cans)? The only photo I found of that design was here, on Liukin on the unevens. Is the resemblance a coincidence, or a subtle reminder of one of the event's primary sponsors? :off topic:

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My fellows are leading the latinamerican position, and ranking the country number 14 in the total count. Not bad at all, considering all the post-Athens defections. This is the first time in 40 years that Cuba doesn't qualify a boxer in all 11 Olympic weight classes. In the past two years, the Cuban team lost five gold medalists from the 2004 Athens Olympics and a 2005 world champion. Four defected and are boxing professionally, one was punished for attempting to flee and another retired.

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I find the Olympics way too commercial, too many silly "competitions" which are not sports... too many children competing as "adults".

The playing field is far from level with the rich countries having enormous advantage over the small ones and no handicapping.

I think they should scrap them whole thing.

Having said that, there is a place for competition in "sports" internationally... just not this extravaganza for corporations.

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