Field Theory by Hadyn Green


Photo Finish

K'Boom! Powpowpowpow! Shhhing shhhing. Ting! BOOM! Clat-clat-clat p'ting! Fssssst.

The Beijing Olympics closing ceremony exploded and I'm fairly sure that it actually happened this time (if not there are some animators who Weta really need to chase down). And you know what? It was pretty fun too.

The athletes were allowed to run in stadium and a fair few had a skin-full; I think that includes the Aussie girl who got at Yao Ming's ear. The big tower covered in red and silver people was awesome and the way they de-lit the flame was quietly sublime (though the fake aircraft boarding sucked).

Yep it was a visual feast. Sadly the only problem is that it was on at midnight. Still no worries, our official broadcaster will repeat the thing in full on Monday night right? Yeah you already know the answer to that. Here's the online vids though. Makes you mad enough to kick a ref doesn't it?

We did pretty well at these games. Actually everyone did. The British had their best Olympics in 100 years. The Chinese topped the medal table by a long way. But that's ok because so did the Americans. Everyone's happy! (or at least deluded)

Remember when I wrote about eye candy at the Olympics? Well silly me thought it was a passing thing that would be done and dusted in the media. Nope, nope, nope aaaaand nope.

But sex is embedded into the Olympics further than just folks wanting to perve at the bikini girls. When Australian diver Matthew Mitcham stole a gold medal from the clutches of the strong Chinese team (with the most awesome dive I have ever seen by the way), NBC decided that the viewers in the US probably shouldn't find out that he is gay.

NBC did not mention Mitcham's orientation, nor did they show his family and partner who were in the stands. NBC has made athletes' significant others a part of the coverage in the past, choosing to spotlight track athlete Sanya Richards' fiancee, a love triangle between French and Italian swimmers and Kerri Walsh's wedding ring debacle.

I'm a little more surprised that only ten athletes at the games were openly gay, with Mitcham the only man on that list.

Speaking of things that have been covered up: those pesky little Chinese gymnasts. It seems more and more likely that He Kexin is not old enough to compete. But this is not a black and white issue, both sides claim to have definitive proof. Even the Guardian's headline is confusing: Chinese gymnasts under investigation over underage claims (note the headline has since been changed to “after underage claims" but the page title still shows the evidence).

And the cheats are being discovered on all fronts: Lyudmila Blomska has been stripped of her silver in the Heptathlon for doping; even horses are being thrown out for drugs.

And it feels like WADA expect a few more. Though probably not the athletes we suspect.

Sometimes these doubts are cast but I would suggest some Americans could look at themselves first. They had cheats in 2000 [Marion Jones] and cheats in 2004 so they think no one wins without cheating.

And then there are the things I just couldn't care less about.

But at least no one wrote anything stupid…oh, wait</a,>.

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