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Old 08-10-2008, 11:45 AM   #21
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I too enjoy the Olympics - far more than any other sporting event. I was at Calgary and Atlanta and had the time of my life. Became a olympic pin collector. Now I'm looking forward to Chicago. (insert smiley icon for hope, fantasy, desire)

The Beijing opening ceremony was fantastic.

The TV coverage so far has been a bit better than Athens. Still, too much blah blah and not enough competition. Seems to me that with 6 stations to show programming, they could satisfy most needs, but not the case. Having spend most of my adult life overseas I am used to less US-centric coverage and more beginning-to-end televised events.

Olympics in HD, however, somehow makes it all worthwhile.

Michael
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Old 08-10-2008, 01:08 PM   #22
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Did anyone feel that the opening ceremonies were a little excessive?

Quote from Bush:

And the reason I'm going to the Olympics is twofold: one, to show my respect for the people of China; and two, to cheer on the U.S. team. And by the way, the order ought to be reversed as to why I may -- went. I hope our team wins as many gold medals as possible; and if not win gold, silver; and if not silver, bronze.

Is this guy seven years old?
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Old 08-10-2008, 01:16 PM   #23
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I think you flatter him...
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Old 08-10-2008, 02:27 PM   #24
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Did anyone feel that the opening ceremonies were a little excessive?
hey man, they've waited thousands of years for their turn...(how long have the olympics been around?) ok, well, maybe at least hundreds of years...
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:23 PM   #25
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Did anyone feel that the opening ceremonies were a little excessive?

I felt so, too. I understand the issue of pride, but spending $300 million for 3 hours of fun, at whose expense? Also, part of it feels military, and others political, especially when the president announced the commencement of the Games. It sounded exactly like Chairman Mao announcing the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. His tone, rhythm, and phrasing, are all the same as Mao's. I am sure it's intentional: Mao announcing the founding of the country, and Hu showing everyone that China is ready to take on the world. Of course, the Olympics has never been free of politics, but the overtone is so obvious here.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:18 AM   #26
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hollywood spent $200 million to make the movie titanic, a love story.

that opening was just huge enough to foreshadow. hardly excessive, i suspect they showed just a tiny dose of china to be. a shame they painted smiles on the drummers. i'd rather have seen them as intimidating as is. wake up and smell the green tea.

china sponsors some first rate architecture. love the bird's nest. their power & momentum impressive. a second language? teach your children mandarin.

my favorite sports so far are men's swimming, men's or women's sculling (what can i say; i like boats) and men's gymnastics, though i also like the women on the uneven parallel bars (but if guys had that event i probably wouldn't watch the females). i also like men's & women's diving though i only caught the women so far this year. (i often watch diving practice & competitions at the hall of fame pool here.)

caught the men's gold winning 400-meter relay tonight. even the fifth place team beat the previous world record, with the american's beating it by 4 seconds. these guys swim like there is no water, sprinting their first 50-meters in like 22 seconds. wow. that's really fast. loved watching phelps's unbridled enthusiasm at their win. if i was 30 years younger i'd be stalking him.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:40 AM   #27
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Yes, Phelps' enthusiasm was infectious. So glad they won, almost inconceivably.

The USA Swimming Team have quite a few lookers. I also like Ryan Lochte. He thought he could beat Phelps in 400m IM. Of course he didn't and only took bronze, but I liked his confidence.
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Harry's highlight #1
Old 08-11-2008, 06:59 AM   #28
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Harry's highlight #1

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my favorite sports so far are men's swimming...

caught the men's gold winning 400-meter relay tonight. even the fifth place team beat the previous world record, with the american's beating it by 4 seconds. these guys swim like there is no water, sprinting their first 50-meters in like 22 seconds. wow. that's really fast. loved watching phelps's unbridled enthusiasm at their win.
What a race. 8 centimeters difference at the finish.

A French quote:

"C’est une finale olympique, on jouait le titre, on y allait pour la gagner, battre les Américains", a déclaré Leveaux.
Translation: " It is an Olympic final, one played the title, one was going there to gain it, beat Américains" , Leveaux declared.

U.S. quote:

"Yeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhh"
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:11 AM   #29
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I felt so, too. I understand the issue of pride, but spending $300 million for 3 hours of fun, at whose expense? Also, part of it feels military,
Agreed that the goose-stepping color guard was a bit of a clunker note after all the peace and harmony stuff.

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and others political, especially when the president announced the commencement of the Games. It sounded exactly like Chairman Mao announcing the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. His tone, rhythm, and phrasing, are all the same as Mao's. I am sure it's intentional: Mao announcing the founding of the country, and Hu showing everyone that China is ready to take on the world. Of course, the Olympics has never been free of politics, but the overtone is so obvious here.
Interesting. Do you happen to have pointers to video or transcripts of Hu's and Mao's respective speeches? Hu's one-sentence opening declaration didn't strike me as notable, but I was unaware of Mao's speech so missed the resonance.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:17 PM   #30
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Interesting. Do you happen to have pointers to video or transcripts of Hu's and Mao's respective speeches? Hu's one-sentence opening declaration didn't strike me as notable, but I was unaware of Mao's speech so missed the resonance.
Mao's speech was longer, but the most famous part is the announcement of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The only thing I could find is in Chinese:

BTW, I imagine it's quite a job to arrange the seating chart for leaders of 80 countries. It'll be interesting to know what their reasoning is.
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:06 PM   #31
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Mao's speech was longer, but the most famous part is the announcement of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The only thing I could find is in Chinese:
Thanks for that pointer. From the text at the bottom of the screen:

同胞们 中华人民共和国 中央人民政府 今天成立了
Compatriots, the People's Republic of China, (and) the Central People's Government, today have been established

I can't find any video of Hu Jintao's declaration on the net, though did find the text:

胡锦涛:我宣布北京第29届奥林匹克运动会开幕!
Hu Jintao: I declare the Beijing 29th Olympic Games open!

(Link: 2008 Olympic Games home page)

Though there is no overlap in the wording, the declaratory tone (from what I remember of hearing Hu speak) was indeed somewhat similar. I wonder if that is just standard style, though, and not necessarily intentional? I would have thought it surprising for Hu to intentionally invoke Mao, but who knows, maybe there could even be subconscious elements at play.

Note, however, that I don't speak a lick of Chinese, so will readily defer to expert opinion.

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BTW, I imagine it's quite a job to arrange the seating chart for leaders of 80 countries. It'll be interesting to know what their reasoning is.
I am sure that is a very tough and thankless job. If I had to do it, I'd be tempted to just declare it random, and make a very public display of throwing dice or something to determine the seating.
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:19 PM   #32
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It's the standard Olympic games ceremonial opening:

Olympic Opening Ceremony Protocol

The Head of State declares the Games open

The Head of State proclaims the Games open by saying: "I declare open the Games of ... (name of City) celebrating the ... Olympiad of the modern era."
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Harry's highlight#2
Old 08-11-2008, 11:37 PM   #33
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Harry's highlight#2

India, home to over a billion people, wins its first individual gold medal....ever


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Old 08-12-2008, 02:26 AM   #34
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When I was in China last fall, I was very impressed with the architecture of the Bird's nest and the Water Cube. I am glad to see they are as cool inside as outside.

A very impressive show, by China. Too bad the air looks toxic, hopefully the rain will help.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:42 AM   #35
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Fake footprints!

That actually bothers me, for some reason. A bit too reminiscent of the old airbrush days, I guess.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:46 AM   #36
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Gotta throw in a couple thoughts... think it is a good thing that the rain has come in and swooped a lot of the pollution away (for now)... just thinking about the final day marathon makes me feel bad for them.

Opening ceremony... always hate them as being ostentatious (I'm a huuuuge sports nut and don't really get into the extraneous entertainment of it, like halftime Super Bowl show) but this one was fantastic. It was really cool and they did a very good job in organizing the entire show.

Excited about track and field always, including the marathon, but the sprints, high jump, long jump and javelin are always fun to watch. Love watching soccer and men's basketball needs to avenge a disgusting display last time (they should have no trouble I feel). Swimming with Phelps going for 8 in an olympics and 14 all-time will be fun to look forward to.

I am one who prefers the World Cup to the Olympics... almost nothing more exciting than 2 weeks of soccer of countries all over the world. OK, maybe a month of basketball (March Madness), but the World Cup is every four years, like the Olympics.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:18 AM   #37
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I am one who prefers the World Cup to the Olympics... almost nothing more exciting than 2 weeks of soccer of countries all over the world. OK, maybe a month of basketball (March Madness), but the World Cup is every four years, like the Olympics.
Another World Cup fan here. I like both about the same. IMHO not better - different. In person, Olympics is more of an 17 day long party with sports added in as "well, we do need a reason to charge all this money" while World Cup is much more intense with sporting and world domination the main motivation, followed by binge drinking.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:22 AM   #38
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Another World Cup fan here. I like both about the same. IMHO not better - different. In person, Olympics is more of an 17 day long party with sports added in as "well, we do need a reason to charge all this money" while World Cup is much more intense with sporting and world domination the main motivation, followed by binge drinking.
Precisely, as you can tell, I am much more into the sports aspect of it. The World Cup is less "political", but I feel it is even MORE nationalistic, because of the one sport, one showdown mentality to it... as opposed to the Olympics where, hey, if we don't win gymnastics, we'll win in track and field. Also, way way way more fans at the game. More people watch the World Cup around the world too
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:33 AM   #39
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DW and I had the good fortune to attend a week of the 98 Winter Olympics in Nagano - on a corporate sponsor's dime, not ours. Saw Russia play the Czeck republic in ice hockey in a preliminary match. They ended up playing in the finals for the Gold Medal and from what we saw it was very obvious the former Soviet 'province' didn't like their old landlords very much. Also saw women's figure skating (had to keep the DW happy), speed skating, snowboarding, and my favorite, ski jumping. The ski jumping event had to be postponed for a while since it was snowing so hard the jumpers lost sight of the ground while in flight. Ski IFR!

That trip was my introduction to the tradition of trading Olympic pins and I'll admit it became a near obsession while I was there. By the last day I was walking up to random people on the street asking if they wanted to trade pins. I ended up with more than 100 from different teams and events. My two favorites: the Chinese Alpine Skiing Team and the Jamaican Bobsleigh Team.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:48 AM   #40
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Precisely, as you can tell, I am much more into the sports aspect of it. The World Cup is less "political", but I feel it is even MORE nationalistic, because of the one sport, one showdown mentality to it... as opposed to the Olympics where, hey, if we don't win gymnastics, we'll win in track and field. Also, way way way more fans at the game. More people watch the World Cup around the world too
World cup more nationalistic - I agree. Way more - an order of magnitude.

The Olympic games are one giant party. Well, part of that is the IOC. They've organized the greatest boondoggle the world has ever known. They rake in billions in sponsorship fees, give in return the right to use the symbol and carry out the games, yet end up with no cash left over ever.

Still, they're lots of fun and I enjoy them.
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