Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympics Musings Day 4

Plenty of excitement in today's events, especially in swimming with the Americans killing more records and raking in the medals. Team USA also starts off their Olympic Softball competition with a mercy-rule rout of Venezuela, 11-0 in a 5 inning no-hitter. Interestingly, this game being live in the early afternoon China time, the stands are all but empty. Even in the US where softball probably doesn't get so much credit, there's a loyal following of fans, but I guess they didn't make the trip to Beijing and the locals don't even want to go.

A few additional observations on Day 4 of competition:

* Michael Phelps claims his 3rd gold medal of the games in the 200m Freestyle.

* Why is it called "Freestyle" if everyone's swimming the same way? What kind of example of freedom are we setting for the world? Sounds pretty conformist to me.

* Phelps Phans close your eyes, because here comes my Michael Phelps Phailure of the Day... he has won 9 gold medals now (6 in Athens and 3 so far in Beijing), which means he's been on the medal podium 9 times, and proudly watched the Stars and Stripes rise 9 times as the Star Spangled Banner played 9 times... HE MUST KNOW THE WORDS BY NOW. Don't just stand there like a doofus, AT LEAST move your lips to the words when the national anthem is played. We get brilliant high-definition closeups of Phelps' face throughout the entire anthem, America deserves more than his glazed over look with his mouth half open. Ridiculous. At least in the 200m Free Peter Vanderkaay, who won the bronze for the US, moved his lips to the music. Thanks, Peter, maybe you could teach Michael the words for next time.

* Speaking of national anthems, very nice orchestrations the Beijing committee organized this year. I remember clearly many of the more recent Olympics using performances of the Star Spangled Banner that sounded like they were taken off of a vinyl record back in the 50s. This year's are well performed and have some very nice harmonies that are fun to listen to. Approved.

It's now 11:25pm Pacific, or 2:25pm Beijing, with Day 4's events continuing through our night.

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