Saturday, February 11, 2006

Odd opening ceremony?

What does everyone think of that odd past/present/future Italy thing at the Olympics opening ceremony? It was a classy touch to include Pavarotti rather than some washed-up old rock stars (cf. the Superbowl). And while this may have been the first opening ceremony to include a star of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, hopefully it won't be the last. My calls: Tim Curry in Beijing and Meat Loaf in Vancouver/Whistler.

16 Comments:

Blogger Eric said...

Yes, it was odd. But aren't most opening ceremonies? I thought that was part of the point... kind of like the superbowl is known for commericals.

2/13/2006 02:50:00 AM  
Blogger Vincent said...

Speaking of which, what exactly was Burger King thinking with that silly ad? :-)

2/13/2006 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

At least they didn't come out with the slogan "brown and bubbly". Really, what more appitizing image could you come up with?

2/13/2006 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger finou said...

I love the Olympics!!!
ok I just had to get that off my chest... No one here seems to be that into the games. It makes me kind of sad. I like the idea of the olympic games and how we can all take a break and get along, if only for a little while... (I might be naive but that's just me)
I liked the opening ceremonies this time around (especially when the people formed a big skier and the acrobats formed the dove.) The lighting of the torch was ok. Not as cool as the archer shooting the burning arrow but still pretty nice looking...

2/14/2006 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

My only problem with the Olympics is the coverage. NBC can be waaaay to sappy. Two years ago, the CBC coverage was much better, this time around, though, they seem intent on speaking in an utter monotone and making the coverage as dull as possible. Well that and they have to show all the Canadian women's hockey "games".

2/14/2006 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger Vincent said...

I love the Olympics, especially the winter ones. I, too, find myself surrounded by Olympic naysayers, but in fairness, many people here at NRAO-Socorro have no television set.

The big skier, the dove, and the lighting of the torch were cool. The torch itself is not cool, though.

Justin: You get the CBC that far south? Excellent! Between NBC, CBC, and SRC (Radio-Canada, the French-language CBC), I can watch most of the interesting things in a short amount of time in the evening repeat coverage.

Sweden had a really good women's hockey game against Canada. They scored a goal!

2/15/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

1 goal. I'm looking forward to the US-Canada gold medal women's hockey game. I'm not enjoying the opening round drek where the other team can rarely get out of their own end on a freaking power play.

2/16/2006 02:12:00 AM  
Blogger Vincent said...

I'm looking forward to a future Olympics in which women's hockey is competitive for at least half a dozen nations. With the strong men's hockey tradition of Sweden, Finland, Russia, and the Czech Republic, there's no good reason why they can't come up to North American standards within a decade or two. Increased support of women's hockey at the junior levels will be important, though.

On the men's side, it's great to see how close the field is. Latvia ties the US? Switzerland beats the Czech Republic? Wow. And even Italy played a good game against Canada. They had a lot of possession and decent scoring opportunities in their 7-2 loss. Compare that to the Italian women, who looked like they were skating through molasses in their game against Canada.

On the topic of another use of ice rinks, it seems to me that the figure skating men seem to be having an easier time with their quad toes than their triple axels. I know that the difference is only half a rotation, but is there a technical reason why skaters have so much difficulty with the triple axel? (Any thoughts, finou? Also, what do you think of the complicated scoring method?)

2/17/2006 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger finou said...

I personally like the new scoring system and I disagree with the commentators who say it takes away from the artistic side of figure skating. The proof is all those skaters who were really strong jumpers but had the artistic skills of a rhino are doing pretty badly in the new judging system (Joubert/Honda/Goebel haven't really won anything since the new system even when they land all the jumps). I think the system is forcing people to be more well-rounded skaters (people are doing some pretty spiffy spins nowadays!)... It's really not all that complicated (at least now we can actually compare scores from competition to competition and we can see what ended making the difference exactly). It's pretty similar to the gymnastic scoring system actually.
Anyway, I think people yesterday seemed to be having more problems with their triple axel than usual. Lambiel has always had trouble with it though. He had a bunch of knee and hip injuries (with surgeries) a couple years back. The axel's take off is really problematic for people with hip problems. The other thing that's deceiving is that a lot of the guys are trying the axel in the second half of their program to get points but they are tired then and so don't land it as consistently.
The thing I noticed last night was that all the guys seem to be having stamina problems which is highly unusual for a lot of these skaters (esp. Plushenko!) Is Turino at a higher altitude or something? or maybe it's due to the fact that the ice is harder than usual due to the short track events...

2/17/2006 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Justin said...

Well, I guess it didn't take Sweden all that long to get up to the North American women's hockey standard, did it?

2/17/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger Vincent said...

Clearly I spoke too soon. I didn't get to see much of the game, but from what I did see it resembled an NHL match between a good team (USA) and a lesser team (Sweden) that's having a good night. The USA had some really strong offensive pressure, but the Swedish defence played solidly (especially on the last power plays), and in the end it came down to superior goalkeeping. And really, that's how hockey should be. There will always be teams that are better than others, but the difference shouldn't be so great that if you play to the utmost of your ability, you don't stand a chance.

So I offer a wholehearted congratulations to Sweden, who truly earned their silver (gold?) medal. Maybe this will convince Europe to throw their full support behind women's ice hockey.

finou: I see that a lot of skaters are trying to put a few difficult jumps in at the back end of their program for the bonus points. I was amused by Plushenko's strategy of putting everything hard in at the front and just doing it so well that he could coast through most of the rest of the performance. I didn't think his performance was necessarily the most entertaining, but it was clearly the most skilled.

As for Turin (location of Palavela), the elevation is 240m. For comparison, Socorro is at nearly 1400m.

2/17/2006 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger Vincent said...

By the way, don't forget to support the efforts of a future DC Olympic Curling team. It's about time we give all of the American territories an equal shot at Olympic gold.

2/17/2006 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger finou said...

I guess it must be the ice conditions or something then. We'll see if endurance looks like a problem for the ice dancers and women!
Plushenko definitely did not have his best skate (I've seen him do that program much better) but as usual he was still way better technically than everyone else (plus he skates fast which gives him high program component scores)
but from tonight, I feel really bad for the snowboardcross girl. She's never going to hear the end of it...

2/18/2006 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger Qian said...

Yeah, talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I guess imagining that her Visa Checkcard had just been stolen didn't have that great a calming effect on her after all (I think she's the girl from the commercial, isn't she?). It's too bad too since snowboarding had been one of the few shining lights for the U.S. in Turin. I think the next big question is, is Emily Hughes going to pull a Sarah Hughes?

2/18/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Vincent said...

Ice dancing has sure gotten a lot more interesting since last time I watched it. I hope the Canadian girl isn't hurt too badly. And the Italian girl really did not look pleased with her partner.

Way to go Jamaican bobsledding team! They helped win silver for Canada.

2/20/2006 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger finou said...

Emily is a really long shot in figure skating. She isn't nearly as good as Sarah was at the last olympics and doesn't have the level of technical difficulty. I think the only way she can win is if everyone else falls (which seeing how the skating stuff has been going lately could happen!).
Ice dancing has gotten a lot more difficult since the new judging system which is why a lot people fall now. I think they really should advertise it as the NASCAR of figure skating, no? ;)

2/20/2006 11:18:00 AM  

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