Field Theory by Hadyn Green


And they're off!

What are we watching now?

It was the men's qualifying round for the gymnastics. The Chinese team were out there as were Team GB. However, we were being shown the mixed group. I know everyone needs coverage, but the Chinese are the best in the world and the British were having a fantastic time. So what was going on?

We were told later by the BBC commentary team (I'll get to that in a minute) that there was a "technical glitch". A similar "glitch" happened during the women's qualifying when we were shown a Belgian competitor standing around waiting for her score. As the competition progressed the coverage got better.

I say "got better" to mean no more camera glitches. No more long shots of athletes who were not doing anything. Other parts of the coverage were less than good.

Prime, as I noted last time, advertised that they would have the best free-to-air Olympic coverage. 23.5 hours per day of Olympics. Oh and like 2.5 hours of rugby and league on Sunday morning. Olympic viewers were pissed and, like many angry people, told Twitter and Facebook how angry they were (yes, I was one of them).

These are, after all, "the social games".

I was using iSky, Sky TV's online service, to watch Prime on my laptop. It was a little sketchy but not bad at all, until the rugby came on. So I turned on Tunnelbear and watched the BBC instead. On the BBC site there are a number of live streams as well as on-demand replays of many events.

I figured Sky would have the same. I mean, they have nine dedicated channels, so nine streaming channels would make sense. But when my girlfriend's parents logged in with their Sky sports account they found they could only see Sky Sport 1, 2 and 3. Channels that were showing non-Olympic sport (Sky Sport 1 showed some of the games, like the hockey, but not complete coverage).

At the last games, TVNZ had four streaming channels of just Olympic coverage. It had issues, but right now, we had better online coverage of the games four years ago and from a free-to-air broadcaster.

If you have the Sky Sports package though, then your TV coverage is amazing. I sat watching the Mosaic for a long time, just changing the audio on to whatever sport took my fancy. I watched fencing and swimming and badminton and table tennis and all of the smaller sports that we don't always see.

So, television coverage in New Zealand = amazing. Online coverage in New Zealand = poor at best.

The sport

  • Goddamn I love weightlifting. The lifters are some of the most amazing athletes at the games. Om Yun Chol's 168kg record lift in the B-Group of the men's 56kg class was astounding.
  • I get more and more bored with the swimming. Mainly because of the constant races over slightly different distances.
  • I don't think I've ever seen a full fencing bout (are they called bouts?). I managed to catch the women's foil and was stunned at the speed and technical brilliance of it all. Moreover, the helmets light up with LEDs. It's like Daft Punk are fighting each other with swords!
  • A bit more on those helmets. Some countries have customised versions, which is very cool.
  • The usual arguments for which sports are "real Olympic sports" and which ones are not, have been fairly quiet so far. Let me quickly remind you of all the sports you would lose if "it needs a judge" is your criteria: badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, diving (single and synchronised), equestrian, fencing, gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic), handball, judo, soccer, synchronised swimming, taekwondo, tennis, trampoline, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, wrestling and yachting.
  • Give 'em a taste of kiwi?
  • The medal count after two days is looking good for the Chinese and pretty damn good for both Koreas.

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