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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.

Well, they're not going to scrap anything corporate, Sander0, although they don't interest me either, at least I haven't had time to turn them on a single time. However, while it is good entertainment for many people and they should enjoy it, I don't think it hurts to look at this particular Olympics and be informed about its singularity within Chinese power:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/weekinre...amp;oref=slogin

Nicholas Kristoff was also very good today on his experience in 'applying for a protester's license:'

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/opinion/...amp;oref=slogin

There are other matters of interest in this particular Olympic Games, and those implications are fairly serious for all forms of entertainment, forms of which the Arts and ballet definitely are. While it is true that they are 'arts', it's also true that they, too, are entertainment, and that they, too, are businesses. But there really is no pretending that the arts are not embedded with corporate influence and money; and there's plenty of reason to think that much of this is beneficial to all these endeavours. Life itself is part-corporate, to greater and lesser degrees.

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I am so happy for Shawn too. She looked so disappointed after the All Around, fighting back tears. I always love the Summer Olympics for that reason. There's something so unscripted about it, despite the media's best efforts. For instance, after watching the incredible men's 4x100 swimming relay, I saw the ecstatic celebration of the Americans and the camera panned over to the French swimmer, crying uncontrollably and barely able to get out of the pool. NBC couldn't buy that kind of drama if it tried.

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I note for the record that the balance beam event will not be shown on NBC till tonight and there may be people not monitoring the Internet streaming who may prefer to enjoy the events without knowledge beforehand of the outcome. Please bear this in mind while commenting. Thanks!

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I've edited the title to include "(SPOILERS)" to account for Ballet Talk as an international board with posters who have many broadcast sources, and to warn those who don't want to be spoiled to avoid this thread :off topic:

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Any interest in the opening ceremonies' physical costs?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080819/ap_on_...s__sacrifices_1

Some students of the Shaolin Tagou Traditional Chinese Martial Arts School in Henan province who began training for the event last May were injured in falls on the LED screen that forms the floor on which they performed and was made slippery by rain, said Liu Haike, one of the school's lead instructors.

"At one point, the children had to run in four different directions. ... When one fell, others quickly followed," Liu said, adding the injuries were minor.

While in Beijing, the constant exposure to the dizzyingly hot summer resulted in heatstroke for some students, particularly during one rain-drenched rehearsal that stretched on for two days and two nights.

The students were kept on their feet for most of the 51-hour rehearsal with little food and rest and no shelter from the night's downpour, as the show's directors attempted to coordinate the 2,008-member performance with multimedia effects, students and their head coach told the AP

and

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/15/sports/o....html?ref=dance

Liu Yan, considered one of the country’s top classical Chinese dancers, was preparing the performance of a lifetime: the only solo dance in a four-hour spectacular that was expected to be seen by a global audience of more than one billion people.

But on July 27, during an evening rehearsal at Beijing’s National Stadium, the so-called Bird’s Nest, she leaped toward a platform that malfunctioned and plunged about 10 feet into a shaft, landing on her back, according to family members.

She was rushed to a local military hospital and underwent six hours of surgery but suffers from nerve and spinal damage.

Her head was not badly injured, and she can move her arms. But she has no feeling below her chest, she said in a hospital bed interview. She cannot move her lower body, including her legs.

I think the director sounds a little out of control. 51 hours? I understand why it couldn't be done with several shorter rehearsals instead of such a long one...and I understand the pressure that was put on these particular Olympic Games (hey, lighten up, China!)... but, it makes me understand just why we need unions.

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We need not confuse the notion that commerce invads everything that we do, the arts, science and so forth. My "beef" is with how corporation behave, in general, though there are some notable exceptions, like Patagonia. Corporations exist to extract profits from "workers" to the owners and "shareholders". This leads them to act in ways which benefit the few (financially) while in many cases harming the many.

The fact that corporations use marketing and sponsorships of "noble" endeavors does not excuse their odious behavior. One example is Philip Morris morphed into Atria which produced cigarettes while "supporting" the arts. That money is dripping with blood.

Corporations have taken our jobs offshore to exploit workers in slave like conditions, have polluted our planet with impunity and passed the costs to the people and the list goes on and on.

When we find a way to make corporations behave in a socially responsible manner then their support is welcome. Until such time, most of the events they support and use for marketing themselves and their products, should be avoided.

Just saying.

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I felt absolutely horrible for Lolo Jones yesterday. Now she's someone who despite her good looks got to the Olympics the hard way. She was born very poor, and was a cashier at Home Depot. She was doing so well and then to see her crying after the race reminded me of Gail Devers. Poor girl.

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I felt absolutely horrible for Lolo Jones yesterday. Now she's someone who despite her good looks got to the Olympics the hard way. She was born very poor, and was a cashier at Home Depot. She was doing so well and then to see her crying after the race reminded me of Gail Devers. Poor girl.

I agree. What a disappointment. Did you see her after her interview under the bleachers alone. Breaking down. The agony of defeat.

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It was very emotional to watch German weightlifter Matthias Steiner jumping with joy after winning gold and fulfilling a promise to his dead wife to make the Beijing Olympics. One could tell that Steiner was choking back the tears as he held up a photo his wife, Susann, killed in a car crash in July last year, two years after they were married. At the time of the accident she was trying to save money in order to join her husband in Beijing during the competitions.

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I agree. What a disappointment. Did you see her after her interview under the bleachers alone. Breaking down. The agony of defeat.

I did, it was horrible to see. She had the race in the bag too.

I also agree that Bolt is terrifyingly fast, and I pray that he isn't doping, because if he isn't, he really is superman.

I am pulling for the last U.S. boxer to win the gold. He delivers beer in the morning and works nights at Red Lobster.

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You know, that's the Olympics. Some of these athletes stake everything on one race or event every four years, and then there's some terrible blooper and it doesn't work out. The swimmers have the best deal - everyone usually qualifies for more than one event (and there are so very, very many of them).

I watched part of the women’s 200m walk last night. The eventual winner, Olga Kaniskina, took a huge lead early on and kept it so there wasn’t much in the way of suspense, but it was interesting to watch because everyone looked so weird. You know how dorky people look when they’re power walking? Well, they look even odder at Olympic level going really fast. Also, there are these folks with yellow paddles used for warning walkers when they’re not keeping to the rules (one foot on the ground at all times, etc.) and they pushed into the crowd of competitors following haplessly in Kaniskina’s wake with these things whenever they saw someone trying to sneak into an an actual jog. (It was kind of like watching the Hambletonian.)

I also note that the women’s outfits, here and in other sports, are getting skimpier and skimpier. I hate to get all Taliban and everything, but when the Nike logo has to be slapped on your buns because there’s nowhere else to put it, you’ve gone too far, ladies. Usain Bolt, like many of the men, was wearing a shirt and baggy shorts, not bikini underpants – didn’t seem to slow him down any. Put some clothes on in London, please, it’s going to be a lot chillier.

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I also agree that Bolt is terrifyingly fast, and I pray that he isn't doping, because if he isn't, he really is superman.

Actually, from what I've read, there'd be far many reasons to be worried about Shelly-Ann Fraser (who won gold in the 100 m for women) than about him: his results improved regularly in the last few years, with about 0.16 seconds per year, while her results improved suddenly in the last two years (she gained 0.98 seconds in two years), and from what I've read the last two people with such a fast progression were Florence Griffith-Joyner and Marion Jones...

dirac, I agree with you about the female cliothes (or actually lack of clothes...)

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Actually, from what I've read, there'd be far many reasons to be worried about Shelly-Ann Fraser (who won gold in the 100 m for women) than about him: his results improved regularly in the last few years, with about 0.16 seconds per year, while her results improved suddenly in the last two years (she gained 0.98 seconds in two years), and from what I've read the last two people with such a fast progression were Florence Griffith-Joyner and Marion Jones...

I agree that with Bolt his times have been increasing steadily and he also seems to be a different kind of runner (slim, tall, reminds me a bit of Michael Johnson) and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that some people are just superhuman. I think he'd be great at the 400m.

I think the most memorable moment this Olympics might have been a smallish one: after the women's pole vault final, the silver medalist, a U.S. athlete, went over to her coach who gave her the most horrifying dressing down/chewing out that I've ever seen publicly at a huge competition. It was a very uncomfortable moment but reminded me of the sacrifices athletes have to make in sports that don't get much prime-time coverage.

I also ended up really liking the women's gymnastics competition, which unlike the men's spill-fest, ended up being a tight competiton between Liukin and Johnson. No room for error from either lady, which is how gymnastics should be.

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I think that Jennifer Stuczynski's coach is a jackass; it was enough of a tirade for NBC to have had it on their Olympics website for replay.

Stuczynski took up pole vaulting only four years ago and has had great success since. It's not unheard of for an athlete to want to surpass the best in the world, Yelena Isinbayeva, who broke her own world record to win the Olympic gold, 5.05 meters to Stuczynski's 4.80, well below her Olympic trials height of 4.92. However, Stuczynski was trash-talking before the event, as if she had a chance to beat Isinbayeva, the greatest women's champion in the event and in her prime, if YI was healthy.

I have to wonder how much her arrogance was inflamed by her coach, who in that video seemed to be dumping his athlete like trash on the side of the road.

I agree about the woman's gear. If it's good enough for the swimmers, it should be good enough for other sports.

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I think that Jennifer Stuczynski's coach is a jackass; it was enough of a tirade for NBC to have had it on their Olympics website for replay.

Yes and for awhile it was one of their top videos, which means enough people remembered it. The worst part of it was how the coach immediately went back to texting on his blackberry after his tirade, as if to say, "Next."

Despite my quibbles with NBC coverage (way too much primetime devoted to beach volleyball, while other very interesting sports have gotten the shaft) I am glad that they cut the fluff pieces in favor of more live coverage, even if it did mean staying up VERY late. The fluff pieces can be found at their website. I think I learned more about Michael Phelps watching the way his face tensed before the 100 butterfly race, as if he knew this was the race he could very well lose, than all the fluff pieces about his mom and his coach put together.

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Actually, from what I've read, there'd be far many reasons to be worried about Shelly-Ann Fraser (who won gold in the 100 m for women) than about him: his results improved regularly in the last few years, with about 0.16 seconds per year, while her results improved suddenly in the last two years (she gained 0.98 seconds in two years), and from what I've read the last two people with such a fast progression were Florence Griffith-Joyner and Marion Jones...

Not a good sign for Fraser.

Bolt does seem to have given every evidence of great promise and steady improvement. He just turned 22, which means there’s reason to expect he will get even better, a scary thought. Anyway, I’m happy for the Jamaicans after the U.S. meltdown in the relays.

I noticed too that many of the women have clearly visible tan lines around the chest, midriff, and thighs. They don’t wear those outfits for practice, plainly.

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