My brain’s plan was to wake up at 8:30 am and watch the Olympics all day, but my body decided that sleeping is the far superior option. So it’s 10:15 am, and I will watch the Olympics all day from then.
The BBC offers 24/7 coverage on four channels, and has added another 24 channels either online or on digital channels (depending on your cable provider, mine are online) that show exclusively one sport. Think if there were 30 ESPN’s that didn’t show commercials. It is great.
This afternoon, the cycling road race passes a nearby street, so I’ll get to see seconds of an exciting race and many people outside of first.
But now, I will start doing the activity that brought me to London: watching TV.
British television broadcasters need time to wake up, too. The longbowmen (a much better name, in my opinion) shoot their arrows at a target. It’s no surprise at all and shouldn’t be difficult to air.
At one point, the commentators stopped talking, and the feed cut to a slow-motion video of the longbowmen fist-pumping with their coaches while Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” played. There have been many historic, empowering Olympics moments, and this may have beaten all of them.
The Canadians suck at rowing. They finished dead last at were not even close.
It would be weird to be a rower. Everything is dependent on the team. If you start rowing faster on your own, you make the boat go slower. Is that a Zero-sum game?
As the rowers race, a team of security guards bike alongside the boats on the road to make a human shield against any audience members jumping into the artificial pond. It’s weird when The Olympics take the same security measures as your local police.
One commentator interviews two British women rowers who raced when I was sleeping. They look exactly like highly athletic American athletes: mostly attractive, and six feet tall. But they sound British. Their accent isn’t surprising, but it is strange that they could blend in at a field hockey game back at the states.
Michael Phelps looks so casual while currently swimming at a faster pace than anyone else in the world has ever done.
Actually, he apparently barely made the heat. He’s ranked eight right now out of eight. He sucks. Stoner.
Maybe the Canadians aren’t that good in the water because a Canadian placed dead last of all the heats.
The huge bicycle paths crowd the small British streets. They were built for horse-and-carriages or even for just walking, and they haven’t been expanded since.
It must be difficult when you only have about five feet of road on either side, but then 6 other cyclists are riding alongside you at Olympic speeds.
I started eating breakfast now, so I took an hour off. You really don’t want commentary on what I ate for breakfast. A half-thing of Digestives (wafers plus dark chocolate, a British staple) and a Cool Hand Luke-esque number of eggs. Let’s not discuss my eating habits again.
When it is not the Olympics, it would be weird if I was watching Koreans jumping off a pummel horse. But now, it’s expected.
I think of all the Olympic sports, Gymnastics is the one I would most likely watch if it was happening on the street.
They also changed the scoring system, so it’s no longer out of 10. Someone got a 15.600, which I think is good. It sounds bad.
In the floor event, Olympians are allowed to “roll out,” which is landing on your back and rolling into a stand. It looks like fun. If I was a gymnast, I would only roll out. But apparently you are only allowed two roll outs per routine. I would do two roll outs and retire. If my 0.001 difficulty rating and 10.000 execution gets me a medal I’ll take it.
BBC has only been showing the same heats all morning, so I switched to their free online player to watch my favorite Olympic sport, Handball. Handball is a mix of soccer (with your hands), basketball, and a sport invented by a physical education teacher. Teams of five with one goalie pass around a small soccer ball and try to throw it in a goal. You can pass the ball, dribble, or run. Dribbling surprisingly happens only occasionally. Everyone always passes it. But, if you run with it, you must pass or shoot within three steps. There is also a large area around the goalie you aren’t allowed near. Think of the blue area in hockey, but twenty times bigger. Also, everyone does trick shots and leaps over the boundary as they shoot. It’s awesome.
The most fun thing is just chucking it while scoring. The goalies are so close that shooting really just resembles throwing a ball at someone as hard as you can.
And there are penalty shots! Because you are so close, your only real way of scoring is doing a trick shot. In the Spain vs. South Korea women’s game I’m watching, the South Korean shooter pump faked, did a slow wind up, slowly picked up her left leg and balanced it parallel to the ground, and then chucked the ball into the net. She got one point.
Mostly, the goalie cannot do anything to keep the ball from scoring. Most of the saves are either luck or the shooter threw the ball directly at the goalie who had to do nothing but let the ball hit her. Those goalies must be the welt-iest people, but not impressive welts.
Now that I think about it, a better way to describe this sport is basketball with nets and less dribbling.
Americans have never medaled in handball. We don’t have a team in competition and I doubt we even have a team. It’s not a difficult sport and it’s very highlight-oriented. So it’s very American. Maybe some Handball Little Leagues will begin now that everyone can see the Olympics. Everyone loves soccer now that its more accessible in the States. No, handball just needs a recognizable face. Give one of these Spanish girls a Gatorade deal.
It’s hard to explain dominance in this sport. The Free Koreans are leading 29-23, a relatively big lead, but both teams appear to play the exact same way and every player essentially does the same thing. There don’t seem to be any positions. It doesn’t help that there are no announcers on this online feed to explain what is important and who I should know. It’s Olympic Karaoke.
Any international sporting event can ignite a rivalry that displays undertones of past political conflicts. Remember how El Salvador and Honduras fought “The Soccer War?” Polish and Russian soccer fans spewed before this year’s Euro Cup. It also happens whenever Great Britain plays anyone. Essentially, I don’t think this Spain versus South Korea has any bearing on a world conflict. They are two free republics. They’re both doing fine. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t even have embassies in each other’s countries. Not out of contempt, but pointlessness.
The South Koreans won 29-25 I think, so I’m switching over to women’s preliminary dunkless basketball. It’s a close game between Canada and Russia. The Kids in the Hall are beating Yakov Smirnoff 50-48 with 2:42 to go.
It’s weird how in the Olympics, the sports you would most likely watch at home are the least interesting. I can watch this at home anytime in the winter, I just want to watch some table tennis!
Russia just went ahead 52-51. Isn’t reading this as it’s happening 5 hours ago interesting?
I know that in Europe the basketball rules are slightly different from the American game. Nonetheless, traveling definitely still exists. This Russian should know to dribble if you have possession of the ball.
Women’s basketball is just as slow to finish as the NBA.
Russia just pulled ahead by 5 with 6.6 seconds to go. Communism wins again. Canada loses again.
Now I will shower and watch cycling outside. I’ll also go into Hyde Park and watch some events live on a big screen like it is Times Square on New Years Eve. However, gatherings and shows don’t excite British people in the same way that Americans celebrate them. I’ll watch the Olympics in a grumbling crowd.