Monday, August 11, 2008

Enjoying the Olympics

Since last night we have been enjoying watching the Olympics. Frost was quite impressed by the gymnastics but seems very sensitive to the competitive nature of the sports. He watches with half an eye while playing pillow-tents with Wren and running back and forth to his room for new things to hide in a game he has made up [hiding honey toast, applesauce and cookies for Wren under tents made of sofa pillows] but when there is any alarm in the commentary - a gymnast falls, a swimmer does less well than expected - he stands alert and watches, asking me what is going on.

We watched the women's 4X100m freestyle final and at the end when Australia won Bronze he kept reassuring me that "its OK, they did well?" because the US won Silver and the Dutch took Gold.

This is one of the difficulties for me in watching the Games. I am not particularly rooting for the US. When Frost asks "how did WE do?" I am not sure who we are. Instead, I tend to root for Australia and South Africa in swimming, any bizarre outsider who is in the final [can a landlocked nation produce a finalist - Olympic swimmer? I will be backing them!] and then the US if there is no-one in these other categories.

However, the US Olympic coverage (and Canadian for that matter) is hopelessly myopic. The Chinese have won 6 gold medals so far and I have not even seen the sports in which they were competing. Actually, I haven't seen a Chinese athlete perform yet - this is incredibly irritating. We are watching early trials for beach volleyball and some sports Joshua and I cannot even name (like soccer with your hands???) instead of finals with non-US athletes participating. Apparently, the whole concept of excellence is only relevant if its national excellence.

The silliness of this was quite acute this morning when I was watching the Canadian gymnasts perform. The commentator said something like this "The atmosphere in the stadium is electric right now because the Chinese team are competing. They have posted some of the highest scores of the Games so far, oh, yes, over 16.1 - so our Canadian athletes are having to concentrate" All this time we are watching the Canadian performer sit on a plastic chair waiting for a score. Then we see her SIT some more. Then she whispers to her coach. Then they show the empty aparatus and the judges sitting at their computers. Perhaps the Judges were scoring the ghostly CHINESE team.

Argh. I am so frustrated. 700 channels and my father in South Africa gets better coverage than we do. Can you get Skype TV?

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