Much is being made about the Polo Reindeer Cap from the opening ceremony being the hottest fashion item of the Winter Games, but now it seems it has been supplanted by something a bit more garish being the sought after ‘must have’ for Olympic fans (which good for me too as I’ve sold my Polo hats for as much as $500 each on Ebay).
The crazy pants for the Norwegian curling team are turning heads throughout Vancouver. Red, white and blue plaid would look more appropriate on the golf course than the curling ice, which helps explain how the Norway team was able to get the pants. The captain of the team went online to LoudMouthGolf.com to order these pants just before the Olympics. Only $99 if you can still find a pair (and I should note their website is getting pounded).
Unfortunately for Norway the pants were no help yesterday as Canada beat Norway 7-6.
loud mouth golf]]>
Follow a disasterous resurfacing yesterday, the Vancouver Olympic Committee has launched an emergency airlift of a Zamboni machine to the Winter Olympics.
While often thought of as synonymous with ice resurfacing, Zamboni is actually a trademark of a specific machine. The Olympic committee, in an effort to ‘go green’ decided not to use the tried and tested Zamboni but an electronic Olympia machine.
The first one belched up a bunch of snow on the long track speed skating oval.
Then the backup did the same thing.
Then the emergency backup shredded the ice to the point some teams wanted a postponment of the race.
That was it. Back to the standby and an airlift mission was tasked to fly a true Zamboni out to Vancouver so that the ice resurfacing can go ahead without fail.
Sometimes going green is not ready for primetime.]]>
Facebook pages and Twitter feeds (both of which allow you to submit questions to the on-air announcers), but one of the newer items is a real time Twitter visualization so you can see what the Tweeting masses are talking about as they watch the games. This is a pretty neat capture of what folks are talking about in real time, and I can’t wait to see it tonight when some announcer says something dumb. Will be interesting to watch.
One thing that always amuses me during the Olympics is the nationalistic jingoism that is often displayed, mainly in an anti-USA manner by fans from other parts of the world. It can be silly, like saying ‘Chanting USA-USA is Nazi-like’ but Greek fans in Athens chanting ‘Hellas-Hellas’ is part of the Olympic spirit.” One other way it manifests itself is in the endless debate about the medal table.
I’ve spoken about this before during the medal debate in Beijing. There are two ways of counting medals by country at the Olympics. By the number of golds, then silvers, then bronze, or by the overall number of medals. The United States media generally reports on the overall number of medals, whereas most of the rest of the world reports on who has the highest number of gold medals. Thus a country with 1 gold would appear higher than a country with 6 silvers and 10 bronze medals in some tables. This has led to some countries like Russia criticizing the Gold First standard saying ‘how can a country with 12 medalists be said to have a ‘poorer’ Olympics than a country with just one medal?’ Some commentators have suggested a ‘points system‘ whereby a bronze is worth 1/5 of a Gold or something like that. Sounds very silly (it’s a British idea so yeah, it is very silly).
Officially–there is no ranking. The Olympic charter forbids it:
The IOC and the OCOG shall not draw up any global ranking per country. A roll of honour bearing the names of medal winners and those awarded diplomas in each event shall be established by the OCOG and the names of the medal winners shall be featured prominently and be on permanent display in the main stadium.
However, there is an unofficial ‘media alert’ that the IOC puts out that has the medal table in the order of Golds first. This started back around the 2000 Olympics and the IOC won’t comment on the debate because “officially, we don’t publish a table”. How bureaucratically convenient. UPDATE: It appears that the Vancouver 2010 committee
has decided to publish their list in a ‘total medals’ format, but the European media continues to follow a Gold first standard.
Which is better? Who really cares. In the end it is about athletes and their own personal quests and sacrifices to become the best in the world. Some of them have help from nations, some do not. If you see someone arguing the point that one counting system is inherently better or worse than the other, than you have found someone worth ignoring for the rest of the Olympics.]]>
Following the death of Olympic competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili, Olympic luge competitors will now be starting at a lower ramp in an effort to reduce speeds on the Whistler Luge track, this despite an ‘investigation’ earlier which ruled out track design as an issue in the death.
Men are now starting from what was the women’s start ramp, and women are now racing further down the track from the ‘juniors’ starting gate. This move should slow down speeds along the course. The course will now be 575 feet shorter and speeds should be reduced about 6 mph.
However, many are acknowledging that the technical changes are not really the issue right now, but that mental changes are in order.
“You have an emotional component and you have a technical component,” Romstad said, his voice cracking as he tried to explain why what seems a fairly superficial fix is being instituted. “None of our athletes . . . They lost a friend yesterday. It’s an emotional experience, something they haven’t been through before.”
Unlike Beijing, in which the nations entered in Chinese alphabetical order, the Winter Olympics in Vancouver will have the nations arriving in French alphabetical order, English order according to some published reports. Of course there are two exception–Greece will be first, and Canada will be last (as the host nation). The USA will be the 82nd nation to enter.
The opening ceremony is being dedicated to the memory of Nodar Kumaritashvilvi, the Georgian luge athlete that died earlier today.
This is the best list I can find so far. We’ll see if I can find a better one before the parade starts.
Bosnia and Herzegovina