17 August, 2008

Dustbustering at the Olympics

So here's the thing.

It turns out that it's really hard to write a blog during the Olympics, because you generally end up spending all of your time watching the Olympics, hour upom hour upon hour.

The Olympics gets so completely ingrained into your life at this time, you even find yourself dreaming about the Olympics. For example, last night, I had a dream where there was this really weird nonsensical cycling event. There were maybe 25 or 30 people in this race, cycling around the track where they stage the pursuit events. It was a long race, about 160 laps, and people didn't win by having the fastest time, or being the first to complete all the laps. They won by accumulating points, somehow. They could collect something like 20 points for lapping the field, or they could get points by coming 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th in the sprint events. The sprint events seemed to happen every 10 or so laps, although who really knew, and I think a sprint may have involved only one lap of the track, but I'm not really sure. Most times it wasn't even clear that there was a sprint until it had finished and they were telling us who had won, nor was it clear what it was that triggered the sprint. It certainly wasn't the person who was in the lead, since there were people winning the sprints who hadn't yet lapped the field although there were others who had, so the person who won certainly wasn't "in the lead" to the degree that having the lead in this race meant anything (which it didn't seem to). It was also possible somehow to lose points - I remember that one guy in my dream was on -20 points, although what he did to lose points was unclear (did he lose points for having been lapped? for going too slowly? for making obscene gestures? what?). Also, it was an individual game but people were in a strange way working at teams, even though they were from different countries, although quite why they were doing this or how these teams were forming and disbanding was not immediately evident. The whole event just seemed like one great big game of Calvinball on bicycles.

Still, that's the good thing about dreams. They don't have to make sense. And it's not like they'll ever include anything that insane and incomprehensible in the real Olympics.

On the other hand, I would never have dreamed that anything as cool as the white water canoe/kayak slalom event could even exist, let alone be in the Olympics. How is it possible that this event has been at every Olympics since 1992 and I've never heard of it? Am I the only person that didn't know about it? Absolutely gripping event, with people going down man-made rapids, fighting against the current to the next gate, rowing around the next post sometimes millimetres away from the post, all the time fighting a torrent of water. Or they'll suddely surge forward, using the phenomenal flow of water to power their incredible speed. Or there will be points in the track where competing currents mean the contestant is literally held in place and must fight for a good few seconds just to break free and move ahead. It's an incredible event, and it was sad to see on the television coverage last night that all the whitewater events have finished and the track has now been drained. Which means I'll have to wait another four years until I can watch it again. I can't wait.

1 comment:

Nicole C said...
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