Robin avec pins
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.
Pins: they're mad for 'em!
Hey up. We've got the morning off today - which meant the first lie in in ages and a nice chilled day lazing about before we head off to the final of the individual show jumping this evening.
PIN BADGE CRAZY
I've been meaning to write about pin badges since the Games started. People absolutely love them. Everywhere you go, you see little huddles of people around someone with a board full of them and the official shops all sell a mind-boggling array of badges (ooh, a Day 14 Of The Olympics pin!). They're not cheap either - think the official ones start at 8 Euros and go up to 12 Euros. And, as you know, you can get two waters, two beers and two hot dogs for that!
The ones Robin is modelling came free with that Visa programme thing we were on for a few days. They came in a special collecting case with lots of room to add your own - think I'll stick to watching the sports thanks. (Please note: no Robin was hurt in the making of the photo for this entry - we actually used them as acupuncture tools to give him a nice stress-busting once over after posing for all these pictures).
And so to your feedback. Guess-the-winning-time-of-the-4x400m-mens-relay competition entries first. I got Ginger from Tennessee's entry slightly wrong - it's 2:54:68. Pippa, who works on the official 'Eastenders' website has plumped for 2:55:00. Our old mate Todd the Boffin has gone for 2:55:01. Regular reader Noelle says 2:54:97, Joanna in California says 2:53:40 and Shay in Tasmania, Australia says 2:52:90. Keep the entries coming! The race is tomorrow night...
EMPTY SEATS - MY THEORY!
Also in Australia is Bronwyn in Wollongong, near Sydney, who's written to ask my theory on the empty seats. Well, pretty much everything over the past week or so has been officially sold out I believe, so I think it's partly sponsors and VIPs not using their tickets (often the cameras seem to face their way, rather than at the main public stands which tend to be full). Also, if it's a team sport there tend to be at least two matches in each session and often the fans of the first teams will leave as the fans of the second teams arrive (there are, perhaps, more travelling fans here than in hard-t-reach Sydney?). Having said that, most things we've seen this week have been pretty packed. As for the women's football final, which looked terribly empty, I guess that's just because people in Europe don't really like women's football very much. Be interesting to see how the men's one does, in the main Olympic stadium on Saturday morning.
FOOTBALL OUT OF THE LIMELIGHT
Talking of football - or soccer for US types (though the term was coined at Eton school and you don't get much more English than that) - Maruja has written to ask why it's not getting more attention in the Olympics. I guess because a) football gets its fair share of attention the rest of the time b) the team's are under 23 teams rather than the full international sides and c) perhaps because the country Maruja's in aren't doing very well at it. Iraq is apparently gripped by their men's team who play for a bronze medal tonight and I'm sure Paraguay and Argentina will get great viewing figures for the final. Guess it's the same with all the sports - Israel are apparently now obsessed with windsurfing, Chile with tennis and UAE with shooting, having all got their first ever golds in those respective sports.
GREEK POP SINGERS FOR THE CLOSING CEREMONY
Someone wrote to point out that the Greek fella who sang 'Shake It' at Eurovision 2004 will presumably be part of the promised Greek pop extravaganza closing ceremony. He's called Sakis (or 'sexy Sakis' to the Greeks) and he will indeed perform. As probably will Yanni, a symphonic type who was once engaged to Crystal Carrington from Dynasty! (Thanks to my fiance's family for this Greek pop knowledge - we're listening to a Yanni CD now, it's quite good).
LARA AMIR WRITES TO SAY ATHENS 2004 BLOG HAS MADE PAPERS
But Lara Amir doesn't say where she lives. Is this the Associated Press piece from last week? Or new stuff? Do let us know.
EVENTS TO DROP?
Mark from Wales has written to ask what events readers think should be dropped from the Games. He thinks baseball, fencing, handball, softball, taekwondo and beach volley. Personally, I think he's right about baseball and softball but wrong about the others (handball has massive support all over Europe and beach volley has become such a success because it's such a good sport). I'd drop football, because it's such a secondary competition to the World Cup. But, I'd like them add golf and cricket. Apparently the rule is that a sport has to be widely played in 100 countries for men or 70 countries for women. Golf certainly qualifies - but I'd make it a 4-person team sport, not individual. And how about lacrosse? I'd like to see that played at a high level. Anyone else got any?
SHEESH, THAT WAS A LONG POST
See, that's what happens when you get the day off and you're not rushing posts in between events!