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Thread: Best and Worst Moments of the London Games

  1. #1
    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Best and Worst Moments of the London Games

    I think the London Olympics from a spectator's POV were a spectacular success.

    It was always in my mind that London, as one of the world's largest and most open cities might fall prey to a terrorist attack.
    Thankfully that did not happen and I was glad to hear Sebastien Coe at the closing ceremonies thank "those who protected us."

    Anyone who has read my posts about drugs and cheating knows where I stand on that issue.
    If I have been tough on Bolt please take it as an overall and overwhelming feeling about what I see as incredible hypocrisy from the IOC and many of the governing bodies of various Olympic sports.

    I am getting weary of hearing "I have never failed a drug test."

    Several links I posted were made with the intent to show how easy it is to use banned substances and not get caught.


    It can be easy enough to conclude the spirit of the Olympic movement exists today primarily as a way for certain bodies to make big money.
    Like most sports...the Olympics are not the first to be changed by monetary greed.


    But still.......I saw some amazing moments and I remain hopeful for the future.

    For me the legacy of the London games will be the great spirit shown by the British people. Of course they cheered on their own athletes but having seen many events I think there was a wonderful and genuine show of good will and support at all of the venues for Olympians of all nationalities.

    For now that is enough and I say "London, and Great Britain, well done.

    My favorite moment of the games was the goal scored by Alex Morgan to beat Canada....but I am a football nut and a huge Alex Morgan fan.
    Gabby the great was my favorite athlete at the games. And Mustafina captivated me as well.

    My favorite moment of sportsmanship was by the Japanese Women's football team.
    Despite a heartbreaking defeat they showed pure class. To hear the way they were cheered by the crowd as they approached the podium is what has always made the Olympics special to me.
    Last edited by janetfan; 08-13-2012 at 11:49 AM.

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    Custom Title Johar's Avatar
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    Worst: NBC's erratic coverage. Never was Team Rhythmic gymnastics aired. They also focused too much on Americans and nobody else. I missed Vault because it aired after Prime Time.

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johar View Post
    Worst: NBC's erratic coverage. Never was Team Rhythmic gymnastics aired. They also focused too much on Americans and nobody else. I missed Vault because it aired after Prime Time.
    It aired twice on NBC as far as I know - Thursday and Sunday... but it was just one rotation of the top teams.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johar View Post
    Worst: NBC's erratic coverage. Never was Team Rhythmic gymnastics aired. They also focused too much on Americans and nobody else. I missed Vault because it aired after Prime Time.
    This article from USA Today gives an insight into why NBC's coverage was so atrocious. Evidently they think that the viewers do not want to see sports, but rather they want to be entertained.

    Well-known sports, such as basketball, soccer, tennis and boxing, are virtually (or completely) invisible on its prime-time coverage. They seem too sportsy, as NBC prime time is intended to be TV entertainment for viewers who usually don't watch sports.
    More Bob Costas! More Ryan Seacrest! Now that's entertainment!

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    Custom Title Johar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    It aired twice on NBC as far as I know - Thursday and Sunday... but it was just one rotation of the top teams.


    I never saw it on the TV Schedule.

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johar View Post
    I never saw it on the TV Schedule.
    it was maybe a 10minute deal both days

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    This article from USA Today gives an insight into why NBC's coverage was so atrocious. Evidently they think that the viewers do not want to see sports, but rather they want to be entertained.



    :
    And yet this was by far the best coverage ever offered for Olympic soccer. Every match was broadcast in full. Same for baskettball and the other sports mentioned received stupendous on air coverage.

    So is the point only sports shown on NBC count as opposed to MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Sports channel, Bravo, etc?

    OK, I get that not everyone has cable.
    Not everyone has internet either but it feels petty not to give NBC a big heads up for streaming...what was it...every event live?

    On the other hand it is beyond idiotic to think as USA Today seems to be implying that one station could possbily hope to show more than 20% of the events.
    Last edited by janetfan; 08-13-2012 at 01:24 PM.

  8. #8
    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    The criticism is that NBC's prime time coverage, which is, after all, cable or not, the only time most people will get a chance to see the Olympics, omitted lots of major sports, stories, athletes in the interest of showing a very narrow range of sports and taking up time with useless fluff pieces, like Ryan Seacrest following one of the male US gymnasts around, and relegating the competitions they actually competed in past 11 o'clock! NBC has made it clear in what they said and what they do that they don't think the majority of Americans actually want to see that much sports during the Olympics coverage on a channel and time that's accessible. There are also a thousand other things wrong with NBC's coverage, but I don't want to exhaust Golden Skate's server space.

    Anyway, onto the best and worst of the games for me, and I will exclude anything that didn't actually take place in London and doesn't fall within the purview of the organizers:

    The wins I loved:

    My favorite surprise win: Gabrielle Douglas winning the all-around gold. She was my favorite competitor going in. I knew she had an outside shot at the gold, but I honestly was not expecting it given her sometimes spotty focus and lack of international exposure. And now, she's a super star!

    My other favorite surprise win: Andy Murray winning Olympic gold in tennis. Andy Murray is a phenomenally talented tennis player, but hampered by his past emotional problems (which seems gone now), and the unbelievable level of competition he lives among (he is competing in the era where three of the greatest tennis players ever are at their peaks), results in Murray never ever having won a major tennis title in singles. The poor guy has been no. 4 for so long. Not to mention, poor Great Britain, despite hosting the most prestigious tennis competition in the world, has never had a men's tennis champion in ages and ages. I rooted for Murray to win Wimbledon, but even a vastly improved Murray could not win against Roger Federer, who rediscovered his Tennis God form. Two weeks later, though, on those same lawns, on the biggest stage of his career, Murray triumphed for himself and his expectant nation. It was glorious.

    My favorite coronation: The US women winning team gold in gymnastics. OK, this one really didn't have much suspense going in. Team USA was just ridiculously strong. A ridiculously consistent team of ridiculously high scorers, there was just a tiny chance they might lose their focus. But that tiny chance evaporated under their grit. Team USA would absolutely crush the competition, winning with a bigger margin than even the Chinese men's team did on their gold. Sometimes, the expected result, when it is desired, is just as satisfying as a surprise win.

    My other favorite coronation: Going into the games, Kohei Uchimura is generally acknowledged by gymnastics experts I've heard/read as the greatest male gymnast who ever lived, competing at his peak, and the Olympic all-around gold was no one but his. But once the actual competition started, he seemed to have lost his mojo. He finished a miserable 9th in qualifying, after multiple mistakes. His gigantic error in the team finals almost cost Japan its silver, but for the famous inquiry. When it came time to the all-around, though, Uchimura dug deep, performed much better, and won the whole thing without leaving the slightest doubt.

    My favorite squeaker win: The US women's football team winning against team Canada in that impossibly tense match where the US was behind almost the entire time. And then to win it with just 30 seconds left. My word!

    My favorite I've-never-heard-of-him-before-but-holy-cow-did-he-deserve-it win: Hak Seon Yang winning in the vault finals. When the BBC announcers said the guy's nickname is "God of Vault", I was skeptical. But then he did his 7.4 vault (the highest difficulty ever done on vault, I believe), and then nailed his 7.0 difficulty vault, I was like, "praise be to God!" One of the fun of sports at the highest level is to see superhuman people perform at their very best and triumph as a result. This was definitely a case of that.

    My other favorite I've-never-heard-of-him-before-but-holy-cow-did-he-deserve-it win: Epke Zonderland winning on horizontal bars where he did 3 unbelievable twisty and different release skills in a row! And in so doing, he won the very first Olympic gymnastics medal for his country in the best color of all.

    The losses that made me sad:

    My least favorite loss: Jordyn Wieber missing out on competing in the all-around. Yes, Douglas is my favorite, but I didn't want to see Wieber miss out on the dream of a lifetime that she worked so hard for, and paved the way for with every prior competitive result, by having an off-day. I really felt for her. I admit, after NBC's overdose of Wieber coverage, I felt a little less for her from desensitization.

    My least favorite silver: McKayla Maroney winning silver in the vault finals. Yes, it's a win. But the athlete considered and proven to be the greatest female vaulter who ever lived failed to win the biggest title on vault with one freak mistake. Just as it is fun and amazing to see superhuman athletes perform at their best, it is awful and sad to see superhuman athletes fail to reach their potential.

    My other least favorite silver: The US women's volleyball team was the favorite going into the games. Undefeated and ranked no. 1 in the world, they breezed through qualifications, and even demolished the team they would face in the gold medal match along the way. And it seemed like that gold medal was theirs when the final match started: the US crushed Brazil in the first set. But then Brazil found its secret sauce and came back to dominate the next 3 sets. I'd felt vested in this US team after following them throughout the Olympics. I liked their coach, who is much more encouraging, positive and less shouty than most other coaches. I liked star player Destinee Hooker, who looks like a supermodel and makes every move she does look elegant, even when they're deadly spikes. But it was not to be. The US would once again miss out on the women's gold in indoors volleyball despite fielding its best team ever.

    More bests and worsts to come from me...

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serious Business View Post
    Anyway, onto the best and worst of the games for me, and I will exclude anything that didn't actually take place in London and doesn't fall within the purview of the organizers:

    The wins I loved:

    My favorite squeaker win: The US women's football team winning against team Canada in that impossibly tense match where the US was behind almost the entire time. And then to win it with just 30 seconds left. My word!

    More bests and worsts to come from me...

    I am pretty sure USA vs Canada ladies soccer match was played at Old Trafford but don't see how the match could have been more exciting or any more valid if played at Wembley.

    Looking forward to hearing more of your best and worst moments which I found interesting.

    If GS has the space a new thread on NBC's coverage might be of interest.
    I can see reasons both pro and con and would be interested to hear what others would have done if they were the president of NBC sports.
    Last edited by janetfan; 08-13-2012 at 04:59 PM.

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    Trixie Schuba's biggest fan! blue dog's Avatar
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    Worst was how they covered the women's gymnastics team finals. It felt like a dual meet, rather than a full competition. We saw USA vs Russia the whole time.

    Also, I felt it demeaned Aliya Mustafina to be constantly portrayed by NBC to be a diva. They made her seem like a spoiled brat. Maybe she is a spoiled brat, but I'd imagine her path to the top of Russian gymnastics was not easy, having been both a Tatar and a Muslim.

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue dog View Post
    Worst was how they covered the women's gymnastics team finals. It felt like a dual meet, rather than a full competition. We saw USA vs Russia the whole time.

    Also, I felt it demeaned Aliya Mustafina to be constantly portrayed by NBC to be a diva. They made her seem like a spoiled brat. Maybe she is a spoiled brat, but I'd imagine her path to the top of Russian gymnastics was not easy, having been both a Tatar and a Muslim.
    I agree and the team event along with most of the gymnastics coverage was way too choppy.

    And I was terribly disappointed not to see more of the Romanian girls who staged a great rally to make the podium for the 10th straight Olympics.

    The Russian coach has said Mustafina is one of the most difficult athletes he has ever coached.

    He also said he loves her like a daughter.

    All I know is that if she happened to do less than her best on a routine I would not want to be the one waiting to hug and kiss her.

    Better to leave such saucy baggage alone

    For the record, Mustafina is one of my favorites.....I just love that girl.

    ETA: It was discussed on another thread and a few Russian posters mentioned Mustafina is of mixed ethnic background and religions.
    I disagree that this had anything to do with the way she was covered.

    Most Americans have no idea what a "Tatar" is and longtime fans remember the great Nellie Kim.....who was of Tatar background and an absolute favorite of American fans and anybody who appreciated brilliant gymnastics.

    Here is Nellie Kim scoring a perfect 10 at the Montreal Olympics.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMxlsJHAHIY

    and again on the floor (a hard floor with no springs)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hff_XfsZ6z4
    Last edited by janetfan; 08-14-2012 at 02:00 PM.

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    I loved Nellie Kim, and I have been so happy to see her in recent Olympics as a supervising technical judge.

    I agree that Epke Zonderland was one of my favorite holy-cow moments. Did that guy compete from on the moon, where they have 1/6 our gravity? Jeepers!

    Oh, and Hope Solo making her last save in the soccer finals. A cat couldn't have sprung for that ball faster than Hope did.

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    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    More faves and unfaves!

    Favorite standout player in a team that didn't go all the way:

    There is no i in team (but there are a bunch in immigration).

    Women's indoor volleyball: South Korea's Kim Yeon-Koung is ridiculously lethal on court. Every time I see her she's either drilling a ball into the ground or serving an ace. She scored the most points of any of the female v-ball players at these Olympics. She is very likely the best female volleyball player in the world today. But alas, the rest of her team, while very good, were not quite up to her level, and South Korea didn't even medal at these games.

    Women's indoor volleyball part II: I just love watching the US' Destinee Hooker. Almost everything she does, no matter how lethal, looks graceful and almost languid. And she is very lethal as the second top scorer of these games, after Kim.

    Women's basketball: France's Céline Dumerc is the top scorer of the games. She is so scary the US women's basketball team, as dominant as it was, double teamed her and kept her on constant guard during the US vs. France match. Oh, did I mention she's only 5 foot 7 (169 cm)? She is amazingly skillful, quick and gritty to be the best basketball player in the world despite her height. She still managed to help her team to an unlikely silver medal finish.

    Favorite non-medaling athlete:

    Athletes who didn't win a medal, but won my heart, which I'll be needing back.

    Rhythmic Gymnastics: The Ukraine's Ganna Rizatdinova has the build of a prima ballerina, and she dances like one, only better. Yes, her routines didn't have enough difficulty to propel her out of 10th place, but she was, by far, the most artistically and musically versatile competitor, able to bring out the sadness in the most lilting classical piece and the recklessness and attitude in a rock number. She actually had my favorite set of routines, despite finishing dead last among the qualifiers.

    Rhythmic Gymnastics Part II: South Korea's Yeon Jae Son absolutely had the difficulty and execution to reach the podium, and she almost did, but for an awful mistake during the clubs routine. Her smile and movement quality that made me, and judging from the audience response, the whole arena, root for her.

  14. #14
    she takes the audience on her journey of emotions Layfan's Avatar
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    Best:
    -The Fierce Five winning gold. SUCH a spectacular win. McKayla's vault. Jordyn's resilience. Aly finishing it off with an emotional floor. Woo-hoo!
    -Gabby Douglas winning individual all around. It's been a while since I saw an all-arounder making that competition look like such fun.
    -Aliya Mustafina winning gold on uneven bars. I just kind of dig that girl and her fierceness.
    -Aly winning gold on floor. Some criticize her but it's simply too hard not to admire and hope for that girl.
    -Usain Bolt's three golds. If ever there was a gymnast that transcended a hard-to-transcend sport, it's him.
    -Alyson Felix finally winning gold. Oh-Yeah! You go, girl!
    -The U.S.A. women winning 4x100 relay and setting a world record to boot.
    -Mexico upsetting Brazil for football gold!!!! Orale!!!
    -Grenada and Guatamala getting their first medals.

    Actually, there were so many wonderful moments... I am sure I forgot a whole bunch. Oh yeah, Michael Phelps. And the runner who finished the qualifier on for the 4x400 on a broken leg. Blanking on his name.

    Most disappointing:
    -U.S. men walking away with only one GYM medal (though a very worthy one)
    -McKayla falls to silver
    -Jordyn doesn't nail her floor routine during event finals. It would have done her such good to finish off with a good personal performance.
    -Too much beach volleyball on NBC.
    -Carolina's boyfriend caught doping
    -Morgan Uceny falling in the 1,500 meters. Okay, I didn't even know who she was before the Olys but it was hard not to feel crushed for her.


    Hmmm. There weren't really that many disappointing moments. It was really a great Olympics overall.

  15. #15
    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    But enough of the positivity! Here are some things I truly loathed about these Olympics. Once again, I am limiting these to things directly under the control of the Olympic organizers:

    Truly beyond the pale decisions by people officiating over a competition/sport:

    I'm not talking about one or two erroneous ref calls here, but stuff that indicates outright corruption, cheating or institutional malfeasance.

    The judging in boxing: In 2011, the BBC uncovered evidence that gigantic bribes were paid to the International Boxing Association (AIBA) by Azerbaijan. The AIBA conducted its own investigation later that year, where it claimed the allegations are baseless. Came time for the actual Olympics, Azerbaijani boxers benefited from some truly, outrageously nonsensical judge calls in boxing. They weren't the only ones, either. Lots of the calls in boxing were questioned by observers, followers of the sport, national federations and boxers themselves. It's so bad that pretty much any boxing medal from these Olympics cannot be taken seriously.

    Gender-policing in track and field: Really, this all started with the hell South African runner Caster Semeneya was put through. When she won the 800 meter a few years ago, questions were raised about her gender. The IAAF thoroughly, medically, invasively investigated her body and history. The investigation went on for years not because they suspected cheating or lying, but because, as the IAAF says itself, they wanted to make sure Semeneya didn't have some natural condition that gave her an "unfair" advantage in racing. Now the IAAF never officially released the results of its investigation, but parts of it have been leaked (which I won't rehash). But starting with the Olympics, the IAAF instituted a new rule: female track athletes who have a testosterone level equal or above that of an average male must have their hormones medically suppressed in order to compete. It's really, really difficult not to think this has something to do with Semeneya's case. And as scientists and researchers kept pointing out, the very basis of this rule is unscientific! There is no evidence that heightened testosterone level makes for a better female athlete. In fact, among elite level female athletes, a higher than normal proportion of them have androgen insensitivity syndrome, which makes their cells unresponsive to testosterone. And a quarter of elite level male athletes may have testosterone levels below that of average males. The fact is, testosterone's holistic effect on the human body and how each body processes it has not been thoroughly studied. To set an official rule based on testosterone level borders on superstition. To require some female athletes to undergo potentially harmful and unnecessary medical treatment in order to continue competing is cruel and wrong. And as scientists point out, there are other naturally occurring rare mutations and syndromes that are proven to benefit athletes (unlike heightened testosterone levels, whose benefits are far from proven) that aren't regulated. Why make an exception for this? Just because it's deemed to be gender-related?

    LOCOG goes loco:

    Overall, the London Olympics was pulled off beautifully by LOCOG (the London organizers of the Olympics). But they did make some bad decisions, ranging from silly to truly awful.

    Brand policing:

    This is by no means a problem unique to LOCOG, as it has been the trend with Olympic organizers for years now. But from what I've read and seen, LOCOG took the trend to its next level.

    Screwing over small, local businesses: Local businesses were strictly forbidden from mentioning the games in any way at all, not unless they're official sponsors, which of course, they can't afford to be. So despite the games going right next door, pubs and cafes were not allowed to scrawl any supportive messages on their blackboards, or invite people to any watching parties, etc. This is completely antithetical to the Olympic spirit. The Olympics should be by and for the people, not just the highest bidder. The very large corporations that are in no way competing with these local businesses should let them be. Let the people of the host city of the Olympics be a true part of it, too. That should be a fundamental part of any city even agreeing to bid on the games. It is absolutely ridiculous that the locals are expected to play good hosts and provide the best hospitality and show the best face of their culture, but forbidden to engage in even a small part of the games unless they pay directly. And even more galling is the fact that the local businesses are paying for the games: in all the taxes they pay and will continue to pay as a result of the astronomical expenses the games rack up for the host city.

    Screwing over journalists and spectators: While the ban on local businesses mentioning the games is not unique to London, the brand policing at the London Olympics took some real initiative with how they've been going after even spectators and journalists watching the games. An elderly BBC commentator had his umbrella seized by officials because it had a brand logo on it of a non-sponsor. This happened in the rain. A BBC cameraman was forced to put tape over all the logos of his camera and equipment, because they weren't sponsors. Things like this also happened to spectators who paid and bought tickets for the games.

    Screwing over athletes: Athletes were strictly forbidden from showing or even tweeting anything that mentioned non-sponsoring brands, risking fines and even expulsion from the games. Some athletes got in trouble for being photographed using non-sponsor headphones in their downtime. A batch of free condoms in the athletes' village was removed after an athlete tweeted a picture of it, because Durex is the only allowed condom there. I mean, really, let's remove a safe sex implement in a place where, by all accounts, rampant sexing goes on, just on the off chance that someone might tweet another picture of it.

    Large corporations should be honored to be a part of the games. The keyword being part. They cannot and should not be the whole of it to the exclusion of other people and companies. This should be thought of as something akin to charity (only, of course, the official sponsors get much higher billing than corporate patrons of charities typically do). Imagine if corporate partners of the Red Cross insisted that they can't use bandages from a non-sponsor! LOCOG should've put its foot down and spread the true spirit of the games instead of holding it hostage to a strict trademark.

    Lesser evils of LOCOG:

    Design nightmare: The London Olympics logo is a gigantic, awful eyesore. As was the typeface for the games. Using them in the numbering of tracks really ruined the look of the tracks. The uniforms of the Olympic stewards were stiff, ugly and horribly unflattering for the women. But perhaps worst of all is the choice of color scheme for these games: purple, orange and magenta. All these loud, similar and thus clashy colors all over everything at the games! It made everything look like the aftermath of a brawl at a beauty pageant.

    Letting Russell Brand sing: What and why? He's a brilliant comedian and even more brilliant writer. But singing? Not his thing. Whose idea was it to let him warble tunelessly on not one but two songs at the closing ceremonies? Baffling decision.

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