Time for Sports

For the past week the television has been switched on all day long – from breakfast to bedtime – so I can watch the Olympics. It’s the first time I’ve ever been able to see so much of the Games, which I suppose is one of the perks of working from home and having the Olympics in almost the same time zone.

I’ve become interested not just in the sports themselves but also all the hundreds of stories connected to them. While the sports take place, the commentator fills the airtime with little trinkets about an athlete’s personal history. One athlete’s father was an abusive drunk, one swimmer left the sport to join a band and smoke only to return some five years later and reach the Olympic final, another athlete had to go to court simply to be allowed to participate in the Olympics.

Back story
For this reason I’ve even been watching sports I’d never even heard of. I can’t believe I got excited about the final of the 10 meter air riffle, where the Dutch athlete was one shot away from making bronze, which would have been quite an accomplishment considering his back story.

At the end of a long day of sports, I also watch the commentary shows where the athletes are interviewed. It’s fun having seen them perform during the day to look beyond what they’ve accomplished and to learn who they are. Most look totally different: the swimmers are fully dressed and without their goggles and swimming caps, and the judokas look a lot smaller when they’re wearing regular clothes.

In these shows the hundreds of stories continue and even past Olympians are brought into the limelight. Like an athlete who at the beginning of the 20th century was a champion in eleven sports.

Enjoy
And there are the little extras connected to the Games which are fun as well. One I thought I’d share with you. Watch how Canadian DIYers complete a grand relay from the Pacific to the Atlantic. It’s amazing how many sports there are and to see them connected in a short sequence like this:

So, even if you’re not a sports buff turn on the TV in the following week and enjoy a game or two.

Vanessa

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12 thoughts on “Time for Sports

  1. Reblogged this on Kerry Dwyer and commented:
    This is a very interesting post. I have just been reading writing tips that advise leaving out the back story. Here it is what makes this article.
    I also love it because of the advert for the Olympics that I had not seen before.
    So thanks Cecile’s writers.

  2. I love the concrete expression of human achievement at the Olympics. The arbiter is the clock or the scoreboard, with some notable exceptions (see: gymnastics, diving). When someone does well, we see that quantifiably, and it doesn’t reduce the beauty of the achievement.
    In other spheres of life, the expression is not as concrete. We graduate, but how well prepared are we? Maybe we perform well on exams, but what do we know? Or take writing. We have some sense of what constitutes good writing, but is it objectively good? Not really. Attaching measurables to these things is sometimes possible, but they never encapsulate success as well as they do in sports; no matter how quickly we can pound out that essay.

    1. You’re right that they do get an extreme amount of attention. But I still can’t help being impressed by their perseverance. If I had one tenth of their determination I’d probably have finished writing my novel by now 😉

  3. What great advertising for the Olympics and what a brilliant event it is turning out to be, the British really doing everyone proud by raking in the medals too, loved reading that Andy Murray was really motivated by the athletes the day before his big match and what a grand victory for him. Brilliant. How fortunate that you are getting to watch more than you would otherwise.

  4. Great commercial. Although the guy leaping through the window made me say “ouch!”

    The anecdotes of the athletes are fascinating, aren’t they? My favorite story comes from the ’96 Olympics in Atlanta. There was a team from Africa who had never eaten pizza, so they decided to try it one evening. They found it so delicious that they had it again for breakfast the next morning!

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