With the Olympics wrapping up faster than Usain Bolt 100m race, I thought now would be an opportune time to reflect on what we have seen so far in London.
Last night, Australia doubled their gold medal count with Sally Pearson and Anna Meares both putting on amazing performances to win their respective finals. Pearson was ALMOST pipped at the post thanks to a fast-finishing Dawn Harper, but held on after an anxious minute wait to learn her fate.
Meanwhile, Meares claimed her first gold of the meet after defeating her arch-nemesis, (the Vader to her Skywalker, the Australia to her England or the Nadal to her Federer), Victoria Pendleton. Side note: I’m not quite sure if I nailed the good guy/bad guy thing I was going for, but I’m going to run with it anyway. It was a hugely impressive performance from the Aussie after victory was all but assured after Pendleton was penalised for crossing into Meares’ lane in the first race. Meares then sped away from “Queen Victoria” in the last lap of the second race to demote her status to Princess Victoria.
On now to something that really “grinds my gears.” Yeah, I stole that straight from Family Guy, what of it? Firstly, let no one deny Bolt is an absolute champion and legend of the athletics track. But seriously, does he really have to be SO arrogant? I mean, sure, he is a superstar, the crowd love him and he is great for the sport but why oh why does he have to make such a big deal out of everything. And to make it worse, he slows down five metres before the finish line! It’s only 100m champ, slowing down is not going to help preserve your body for the final, or help reduce the chance of injury, it just makes you look like a smug, overconfident jerk. To make matters worse, it wasn’t just Bolt who slowed before the finish line, a number of the other heats were won by guys slowing down to a jog just before the finish line in the 200m heats.
But I guess they base their whole career about being arrogant and being the best, and if Bolt can get three members of the Swedish Handball team into his room, then props are definitely due to him and he can do whatever the hell he likes.
Now these Olympics have shown me a number of things. One, the majority of Australian journalists, reporters and the general public are idiots. Sure, we have collected a few more silver than usual. Sure, some athletes didn’t live up to our lofty expectations. Sure, it’s looking like this will be one of our worst Olympics in terms of gold in a number of years. But, that doesn’t mean our athletes who have performed at a top level and come second (out of the whole world, might I add) should be ragged on for not achieving gold. Long jumper Michael Watts launched a scathing attack on the media, blaming them for the misconception that winning a silver medal was a failure, and I think that was well justified.
With the recent flourish of gold, including a couple in the sailing, it appears a positive spin may be taken on things from now on, but then again it is so much easier to write a negative article than a positive one so we shall see.
Point number two: coverage on channel 9. Now before you all start saying “never again”, “worst coverage ever” and “I could do a better job covering it with my hand held camera and dog replacing Karl” hear me out.
There have definitely been things channel 9 could have done to make the coverage better, but overall I don’t think they have done a terrible job. Sure, the ads for Big Brother are enough to drive even the sanest person mad, but I think people need to realise it’s physically impossible to show every single event ever. The number of people I have read complaining about showing smaller sports such as table tennis or events that Aussies aren’t competing in has been mind blowing. They (channel 9) obviously had to make a choice, and being Australian they chose to focus around events that Aussies are actually competing in, and have a chance to win something in, because after all, that’s what we as an audience want to see.
And coincidently, the event in which we had the best chance of winning some medals was the swimming, which is why we had quite a lot of it on our screens for the first week. It’s one of those damned if you do, damned if you don’t for channel 9 – they show swimming, they get slammed for not showing other events. They show other events where we finish 18th and are never in the hunt for a medal, they get slammed for not showing the swimming where an Aussie just claimed a silver medal. I realise there are holes in what they do, and could make some improvements, but I honestly believe people are going to complain regardless so it’s time to cut them some slack and give them the benefit of the doubt.
One problem I did have was the lack of coverage of the Boomers match when my new favourite athlete of all-time Patty Mills hit a buzzer-beater to thwart Russia. I was watching the game, then they cut away to something else, no idea what, that’s how entertaining it was, and then my good friend Twitter informed me that Mills had sunk an unbelievable 3 on the siren to seal the game. 5 minutes later, we cut back for the last minute of the game and it was like watching a movie where an idiot friend had already told you the ending. It made an amazing moment just that little bit less special.
I also have a new favourite person to feel sorry for – Stephen Feck. I’m sure you have all seen the video by now, if not just search Feck dive on YouTube and it will appear, but I genuinely feel horrible for the guy. His life must have been hard enough with a last name of Feck, unlimited amount of jokes for that one, and when he completely the worst Olympic dive ever, his name has been etched into the history books for all the wrong reasons. I just wish people would leave him the Feck alone. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)
From my Uni studies, I spent some time looking at the anti-siphoning laws which, from my understanding, is why channel 9 have to show the same event on GEM and 9. The way it works is there is a list of sporting events which get priority for free-to-air companies to receive broadcasting rights before pay TV does. This list includes World Cup matches, NRL and AFL finals, Australian Open, plus a number of other high-profile events including the Olympics. The thing is, networks can’t bid for the rights for said events and shaft them off to their digital channel e.g. GEM. Now I do think networks can apply for the right to do this in special circumstances but obviously channel 9 have either been knocked back or haven’t decided to do so.
I tried to find some more info regarding this but old trusty Google let me down, so this is all coming from my head and what I learnt during Uni, so don’t hold it against me if it is all changed now/I am completely on the wrong track!
That’s about it for me today, cracked the 1000 mark so if you made it this far, I owe you a beer. I know how it is in this day and age, you read for the first two paragraphs, skim through the next one and move onto the next opened tab on your computer. With that in mind, I still need a job of some description, so if you’re reading this, why WOULDN’T you want to employ this guy?