Friday, August 27, 2004

Pins: they're mad for 'em! Plus other stuff!


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).

COMPETITION ENTRIES
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!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I feel compelled to mention yet again just how much I love your blog! I have told everyone I know about it, which isn't the same as being in a newspaper but since I am quite chatty it amounts to a lot of people!

I think Robin is too cute for words, and the way he pops in to every picture, well, it just makes my day! I think I have developed a crush!

Thank you thank you thank you for the time and effort put into the blog. If I knew your address, I would send you a tacky souvenir from Wisconsin, USA!

KJ in the USA

Anonymous said...

i'm not sure what "mage papers" mean, but there was an article in the tech section of the The Star, here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (now you know you've taken over the world :D) - it was about online coverage of the Olympics, so it must have sourced your url from AP. ta.

~ Lara Amir

diegem said...

Same thing: just the greatest source of extra-info on these Olympics!! Greeks can be proud of these Games: they are just superb! And be proud of been part of it: you make us enjoy them even better!!
About events to get rid off: I don't know why people who be interested in seeing Baseball... as no European Broadcaster (except Netherlands) show any of it!! But otherwise i'm OK: golf should come back. Cricket... not sure... it's still really impossible to understand!! ;-)

Anonymous said...

"EVENTS TO DROP?" ~ We actually posted this question on a forum that I moderate, and I'd have to say that my answer was table tennis. I just don't get it. And anything to do with shooting guns. IMHO that's not really athleticism. I agree with baseball (as I am one of those who will only watch it if I'm in the stadium drinking beer), though I hope softball sticks around and gains a following in other countries, the way women's soccer did here in the States after having such a great team back in the 1992 Games.

Lacrosse would be a great sport to add. Not too sure about cricket, but that's because I have no idea how widespread a sport it is.

~Cathy from New Jersey

PS. Do tell Robin to try out the spa for a day. A nice massage is just the thing to de-stress. ;)

noelle said...

My personal bias would be to see most if not all team sports done away with (if they must do away with any). The Olys has and always will be a showcase for individual sports and that suits me fine!

One sport that should absolutely be added: inline road skating.

A while back they were actually considering adding bridge! Please. If that ever happens they can add web surfing, and then I can be an Olympic champion too!

BTW, totally agree with everyone who has praised your blogging. Great job providing a unique perspective on the games! I've really enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

My two cents (or the Euro equivalent) on what Olympic sports might not be necessary: My first choice would be anything that is "synchronized" (and I say that even though one of the US synchronized swimming winners is from my town). I enjoy watching the swimming races – very exciting and an excellent example of athletic prowess. But why have people swim in place, mirroring each other? I enjoy watching the diving. Astonishing what they do. But why have two people diving - together? I’m also a bit nonplused by a lot of the open sea sort of sports, but then I live at 7,000 feet on a mountain in Arizona, so that probably explains that. I’m a huge fan of women’s soccer (took the afternoon off yesterday so I could sit in a sport’s bar and watch it – there were two of us there for that purpose, sigh), but I suppose I can see the argument for eliminating team sports. I guess it depends on what you think the Olympics symbolizes? This is an interesting little debate and I look forward to reading what others think.

Anonymous said...

My two cents (or the Euro equivalent) on what Olympic sports might not be necessary: My first choice would be anything that is "synchronized" (and I say that even though one of the US synchronized swimming winners is from my town). I enjoy watching the swimming races – very exciting and an excellent example of athletic prowess. But why have people swim in place, mirroring each other? I enjoy watching the diving. Astonishing what they do. But why have two people diving - together? I’m also a bit nonplused by a lot of the open sea sort of sports, but then I live at 7,000 feet on a mountain in Arizona, so that probably explains that. I’m a huge fan of women’s soccer (took the afternoon off yesterday so I could sit in a sport’s bar and watch it – there were two of us there for that purpose, sigh), but I suppose I can see the argument for eliminating team sports. I guess it depends on what you think the Olympics symbolizes? This is an interesting little debate and I look forward to reading what others think.
Todd In Flagstaff

Anonymous said...

My name is Paul and I'd like to say this is an awesome source of info on the Olympic experience. Hopefully there is a sequel for Torino 2006. I'd like to enter the contest with a time of 2:55:12

Alicia Bennett said...

Hi there, just wandering the blogosphere and I found your blog. I really enjoy how this all works.

This is one to watch.

Many thanks,

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