Sunday, August 7, 2016

Olympic musings

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How good was the Rio Olympic flame, the cauldron with the spinning baubles? Magic, and not bad for a country that has done it on the cheap.




The fact that the cauldron is small is part of the Rio Olympic theme of the fight against climate change and global warming, hence a cauldron that didn’t generate a large volume of fire and that has low emissions.

The sculpture was designed by Anthony Howe and hangs behind the cauldron. It is wind-powered and in constant motion. According to Howe, it represents the sun, with the spirals representing life, this being a comment on solar energy.
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The first Olympic record broken at the Rio games happened before the opening ceremony. The condom distribution tally at Rio is 450,000 (350,000 male condoms, 100,000 female condoms and 175,000 packets of lubricant), meaning that each of the 10,500 athletes will be given 42 “camisinhas”, which is Brazilian slang for “little shirts”. This equates to 2-3 lays per day for each athlete for the 16 days of the Games, which means that not all the scoring will be done on the fields of play. The number is also higher for these Olympics in that this is the first time that female condoms will have been given out.

The distribution of free condoms to Olympic competitors began at Seoul in 1988. 

Numbers have been:
1988 Seoul: 8,500
1992 Barcelona: 90,000
1996 Atlanta: 15,000
2000 Sydney: 70,000 (numbers ran out midway through the Games, organisers had to rapidly find another 20,000)
2004 Athens: 130,000
2008 Beijing: 100.000
2012 London: 150,000 

The wrappers on the Beijing condoms bore the message to “faster, higher, stronger.”
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“The Olympic flag has a white background, with five interlaced rings in the centre: blue, yellow, black, green and red. This design is symbolic; it represents the five continents of the world, united by Olympism, while the six colours are those that appear on all the national flags of the world at the present time.”

- Pierre de Coubertin (1863-2937)
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A lot was said in the speeches at the Rio opening about sport promoting peace, hostilities being put aside, that sport shows the nations the way etc etc


Scholars today believe that Coubertin got it wrong in supporting a romanticized view of the ancient Greek Olympic Games and asserting that:
  • Participation is more important than winning – not only did the Greeks award and honour the win, the Apostle Paul, writing in the first century to Christians in the city of Corinth where the Isthmian Games were held, says in his writing "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize", (1 Corinthians 9:24).
  • The ancient Games promoted peace – the peace of those Games only allowed athletes to travel safely to Olympia, they did not prevent the outbreak of wars nor end ongoing ones. Furthermore, the link between politics and sport in the modern Games has resulted in numerous conflicts and the historical use of Games success as a tool of diplomacy.
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Those who were watching the opening ceremony of the Rio Games may have wondered about the award to great former Olympian Kip Keino.

The award is known as the Olympic Laurel Award and this was its first year. It has been created by the International Olympic Committee and will be given every four years during the Olympic opening ceremony to outstanding sportsmen and women for achievements in education, culture, development and peace through sport.

Keino was chosen by an independent judging panel from the five continents as being “one who, through his achievements and projects, helps to build a better world and advance the cause of individuals.”


Keino (1940 - ), chairman of the Kenyan Olympic Committee (KOC), is a retired Kenyan track and field athlete and two-time Olympic gold medalist. He was among the first in a long line of successful middle and long distance runners to come from Kenya and was the force that inspired many later Kenyan runners. 

As for his Olympic Laurel Award, after retiring from competition in 1973, Keino opened a children’s home, which is today home to almost 100 Kenyan orphans. In 1999, he opened the Kip Keino School in a marginalised community that lacked schools, offering more than 300 children aged between 6 to13 a chance to get an education. Three years later, he opened the Kip Keino High Performance Training Centre, to train the most promising athletes in Kenya. 
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Worst outfits . . .

The USA would be in the top 5 for worst Olympic outfits:


Also, note the similarity with the Russian flag;

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Germany: slacks under skirts and with coats? Did someone tell them it was extra cold in Rio?

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Australia’s contribution to sartorial splendor but ties with shorts??


The stripes also cause photographs to become distorted, as you sometimes see happen on TV:


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Russia . . . Nyet.  These look like the T shirts that are painted to look like dinner suits:


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Poland: Tie dye long skirts and silver sandals . . . the jury's still out on this lot . . .

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The choice of Brazilian marathon runner Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima to light the Olympic flame was a fitting tribute to the Olympic creed of sportsmanship and an honouring of the man himself. In 2004 he was leading in the Athens Olympic marathon and the likely winner of the gold medal when he was attacked by a serial pest disrupter. De Lima lost 2 places and ended up with bronze. 



See it at:

From Wikipedia:
On 29 August 2004, at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, de Lima was attempting to become the first Brazilian to win an Olympic gold medal in the marathon. Soon after the 35 km (22 mi) mark, holding a lead of approximately 25–30 seconds, de Lima was halted and grappled by a spectator named Cornelius Horan, a defrocked Irish priest. Horan had previously disrupted the 2003 Formula One British Grand Prix by running onto the Silverstone track. Greek spectator Polyvios Kossivas helped free de Lima from Horan's grasp and back into his running.
De Lima lost about 15–20 seconds in the incident, but could well have lost much more due to the disruption, and he was passed by Stefano Baldini (Italy) and Mebrahtom Keflezighi (United States) later at the 38 km (24 mi) mark. He finished third with a time of 2:12.11, winning the bronze medal. The Brazilian Athletics Confederation launched an appeal on behalf of de Lima with president Roberto Gesta de Melo claiming that "someone took him out of the race and we are asking for a gold medal for our athlete... solutions like that have been done in the past for other events." The appeal was rejected.
At the closing of the event, the International Olympic Committee awarded de Lima the Pierre de Coubertin medal for the spirit of sportsmanship, which included a victory dance by de Lima in the last seconds of the race.


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