Field Theory by Hadyn Green


Did you see that?

Last time I extolled the wonders of the future. The vast and seemingly unending array of images available to view from the quadrennial sporting spectacular that is the Olympics. Well, if you can consider four to be a seemingly unending number.

I tried again to access NBC’s footage (through nefarious means) but was still shown the “we’re sorry but we can’t show you this if you’re not from America" message.

“Why not!" I bellowed across my lounge, scaring the cat. Well the answer is simple, as I have been told by my friend in broadcasting:

It's IOC rules that mean the video won't work overseas. Basically, when you sign up for the rights, you agree that nothing you broadcast will be accessible overseas. Because then they make less money selling the rights to other countries

And I suppose that makes sense. If you go to the games homepage on the left there is a dropdown box to watch the videos. If you pick New Zealand it opens up the TVNZ live feeds. If you pick Belgium it takes you to Eurovision Sports. If you pick Oman it takes you to YouTube.

The Olympic website has a list of the events that are on at any time. If you see that TVNZ is showing replays of badminton men’s’ singles heats between Taiwan and Malaysia instead of, say, the women’s weightlifting finals then I think you’ve got every right to complain. Or any time any one of the four channels is showing nothing, then also complain. There’s a lot of sport going on, show us replays if you have to but we want to see it all!

But when we do get to see the events, my goodness, don’t they look good!? I could watch those underwater tracking shots of Michael Phelps, with the Water Cube’s bubbly roof above him, for ages.

In fact there are a lot of great shots at the pool and plenty of slow-mo cameras. My favourite camera though, is that camera on a wire that flies over the rowers. It’s fantastic! The first time I saw it I had to take a second to figure out what was going on, after all this wasn’t some guy on a motorbike like the cycling. The last time I asked the “how’d they do that" question was when I was watching the Superbowl a few years back and in the replays they were able to freeze the action and rotate around the player, just like the Matrix. The people I was watching the game with said: “What? It’s just tv". To which I responded: “No, it’s live sport, and that is amazing."

And I still love that world-record green line zooming along the pool, and the country names on the lanes (in the rowing too).

Other cool shots I’ve seen so far include the various angles on the synchronised diving and the behind-target shot of the archery (OMG they’re shooting right at me!). But the swimming seems to have the most cameras, including the one on the arm that catches the swimmer in lane five turning at the 50m mark and always looks like it’ll be in the way for the swimmer in lane four.

I’m not sure what the high-definition shots are going to show once we get to the men’s sprinting, but the New Zealand women’s hockey team were made to wear their light-blue alternates because games officials were worried that their white tops would become see-though in the rain (and yet for some reason the beach volleyball girls still have to wear bikinis).

By the way, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who is jonesing for the footage. My friend Mike emailed to say:

Haven't been to bed before 1am the last four nights! I'm tired, but I'm lovin' it!

Actual sport notes: The swimming is really exciting at the moment, almost every race breaks the world record --- I pick the Cubans to meet the Italians in the finals of the Women’s Volleyball --- The Fencing uniforms haven’t actually changed too much, they still have the mesh, but the eyes are covered in Perspex and the helmets have lights and (as Lucy pointed out in the comments of my last post) wires for fencers have been around for a while. They still have the shorts with the high socks though. I just wish the suits had some kind of lights in them to show where the strike was, it’s a bloody tough sport for spectators. --- My yachting enthusiast friend was annoyed that there was no coverage of the yachting. She lamented yesterday that we wouldn’t see any until Barbara Kendall started. Lo! And Behold! Barbara did sail and the television goblins showed us yachting footage. --- Some yachting coverage can also be found on the net at the ISAF site --- It had to happen sometime, sadly. Spanish cyclist Maria Isabel Moreno has become the first athlete of the games found to be using performance enhancing drugs (although the test was two weeks before the games began and she was not I medal contention) --- With everyone plugged into the Olympics is anyone feeling a little bit sorry for Tasman and Northland? I'm not. --- Finally, I don’t want to offend anyone in just my second post, but, badminton may just be the most boring sport to be played at high speed.

UPDATE: links fixed, sorry for that.

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