28 July 2012

Great Job, London!

I confess that I felt like an idiot when 4:00 pm rolled around and I had just made it home to watch the opening ceremonies.  The Tour de France had so absorbed me that I did not pay attention to the fact that NBC followed the usual greedy and solipsistic path taken by a major US broadcaster that covers the Olympics.  Instead of deferring to a host country's schedule, NBC chose to delay its broadcast of the opening ceremonies by three-and-a-half hours.  Those more media savvy that I in the US might have found a way around NBC's efforts to control when and how we view the Olympics.  Kudos to you if you did.  My girls and I had to wait until 7:30 pm before Olympics coverage began.  The one spectacle my girls most wanted to see was their home country's athletes in the parade of nations, which NBC turned into a parade of commercials for much of it.  The US team walked out at 11:02 pm on the east coast, roughly three-and-a-half hours after NBC's broadcast began.  Had we watched it live, my girls could have seen the US team by the time the NBC broadcast began showing anything.  They simply couldn't keep themselves awake.  Please excuse my sour grapes.  DVR and internet streaming are fantastic technologies.  Anyone not home from work by 4:00 pm on the east coast of the US  (earlier as one moves west) could have recorded the opening ceremonies.  Of course, they most likely would have fast-forwarded through all the mindless commercials.

The NBC converge is what it is, and that's my final rant on that topic.  Despite NBC's delay, London put on a wonderful show tonight.  It was a visual masterpiece that showcased human solidarity.  I really enjoyed the tribute to the UK's National Health Service, which, as I discovered while living in England during my last sabbatical, the people of Britain take great pride in.  Many, many articles, blog posts, television stories, etc will be devoted to the brilliant and wondrous show London put on as it opened its third Olympics.  My guess is that several of those pieces will highlight the great diversity on display in London's Olympic Stadium.  What tickled my mind while watching the opening ceremonies unfold was actually the continued realization that we all share common ancestors.  Each and every living thing on Earth, everything with DNA that is, share a kinship with one another.  Human beings doing great science over the past century and a half have provided us with that awe-inspiring fact.  The notion of race is antiquated, at least from a scientific point of view.  Seeing fellow human beings from just over two hundred nations from around the globe provided me with a warm sense of human solidarity.

Let the games begin!


  1. Would love it if you could do an analysis comparing a'normal sprinter to he runner using the 'blades'. It's been a hot topic in the T&F world on if it's fair or not and if e gets unfair advantage

    1. Andrew,

      Thanks for the comment. Blades were certainly in the news before the Beijing Olympics in 2008 when Oscar Pistorius of South Africa won the right to compete. He did not, however, qualify for the South African team that went to Beijing. Although, he did earn a silver in Deagu in last year's World Championships as part of South Africa's 4 x 400 m relay team. We'll see how he does in London in the same event.

      My limited understanding of blades is that they do not provide an advantage. Possible advantages exist for constant velocity portions of a race, but disadvantages arise during portions of a race where acceleration is important, like the start.

      Blased will make for a good research project! For now, we'll see how Pistorius does.