So many observations, so little enthusiasm. I haven't ignored the Olympics these past nine days, far from it, but I haven't felt the urge to write anything that could be construed as original. Or, more to the point, I just couldn't be bothered.
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It's my favourite team sport at the Olympics and it's being tossed out for 2012. The baseball (or as they call it in the Netherlands, honkbal) competition began on Wednesday. Australia failed to qualify for the tournament, as therefore there is next to zero chance of any coverage on Channel Seven. Even SBS gives us some vague promises of no more than an hour's coverage on each of Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd, semis and finals days respectively.
Eleven gold medals in his Olympic career. Five in these Games to date. Someone stop him. Please.
More Golden Steph for Australia.
And a special mention to Alain Bernard, who regained his world record in the 100 freestyle for five minutes today. He won the first semi-final in 47.20 seconds. Eamon Sullivan won the second in 47.05.
Firstly, congratulations to Benjamin Boukpeti, bronze medallist in the men's K1 slalom and Togo's first-ever Olympic medallist. A quick mention of The Phelp of Phelps' third gold medal of Beijing 2008, and his ninth ever, and Leisel Jones' win in the 100 breaststroke, thereby enabling Australia to stay level with the aforementioned Senor Phelps in this year's gold count. Now to more important matters hanging over from last Friday.
Zhang Yimou fudged the opening ceremony. He used special effects. Are you shocked?
The world's second most populous nation, India came into the 2008 Olympics with a total of eight gold medals ever. All eight of them in men's hockey. The last of them in 1980. India had never, ever, produced an individual gold medallist.
Stand up, Abhinav Bindra. On Monday he won the 10 metre air rifle shooting event to become India's first individual gold medallist.
First things first: a raspberry to all those media outlets who went for "Golden Rice" as their headline in honour of Australia's first gold medallist of Beijing 2008, and in particular to those who went for "Golden Steph", and then changed their minds - hello BrisbaneTimes.com.au. Just check the URL of this page to see what their heading for that story was prior to "Gold for Wow! factor girl". Wimps.
The Games have begun (well they began on Wednesday with the women's football, but hey). It was fun watching the men's road race on Saturday afternoon, with sections of the Great Wall as a backdrop, and in some cases, as the track. It would have been nicer, of course, if the security people had allowed any spectators to be present at the finish line.
"The General Assembly... Urges Member States to observe, within the framework of the Charter of the United Nations, the Olympic Truce, individually and collectively, during the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing, the vision of which is based on the slogan "One world, one dream", and the following Paralympic Games;"
- United Nations General Assembly, 16.10.07 (source PDF)
So underwhelmed am I about the Games of the XXIX Olympiad that I am commencing my daily blog twenty-four hours after the opening ceremony. And whether I can be bothered to do it daily is a moot point as well.
The jingoism of the Aussie media (not to mention the commercial sponsors) is achieving new heights. The implied tone is one of "Aussie Versus The Drug Cheats", Drug Cheats and Rest Of The World being interchangeable synonyms.
Advocacy group GetUp! had booked advertising space on Channel Seven before and after the opening ceremony on Friday night to show a thirty-second appeal to Kevin Rudd to speak out for the human rights of Tibetans whilst in China this week.
The ad didn't go to air. Channel Seven said that they didn't receive a booking for the ad, no, wait, they later said they had a booking but it was for a GetUp! Fuelwatch ad, no, wait, they couldn't show it because the opening ceremony ran overtime, no, wait...