The Olympics: The Best & Worst.


Well, we’re just about halfway through the games of the 29th Olympiad in Beijing, and there have been good moments and bad moments. Highs and lows. Hot women and not so hot women. So, it’s time to give some thumbs up or some thumbs down ratings to various aspects of the games.

Thumbs Down The Eamon Sullivan and Stephanie Rice couple watch. Give me a freaking break. Before the Games started I hadn’t heard of either of these guys. Suddenly they’re being talked about as the Posh and Becks of Australia.

All this makes me think is just how lame we really are in Australia sometimes. We’re so desperate to punch above our weight and show that we actually matter on the world stage that we’ll go to any length to blow a story up so that it has ‘global’ implications rather than merely local ones.

Kevin07 was the master of this. Signing Kyoto for instance. He made it seem as though signing Kyoto was the be all and end all of climate change, when in reality it was just a symbolic gesture. It’s the same thing with Rice and Sullivan. The Aussie media is so desperate for an Aussie couple to profile that they’ve made these guys into a 1% as successful version of Posh and Becks. Speaking of pitiful media coverage…

Thumbs Down Channel 7’s Olympic coverage has been the worst in the history of sports broadcasting. Here’s a few reasons why:

1: The commentary. The Opening Ceremony commentary was woeful .Save from Bruce and Sandy of course… but getting Sonia Kruger to commentate at an Olympics is the equivalent of getting Julia Gillard to commentate the Miss Universe competition. In other words – the biggest mismatch of all time.

I’ve actually been disappointed in Bruce’s commentary too at the swimming. Let’s face it; he’s not a swimming commentator. He can do athletics sure, and AFL… but not swimming. Why in the world did they leave Cometti behind to commentate the AFL when he’s the best swimming commentator going around? Sorry Ray Warren – Commetti is the man. It’s like going to the movies by yourself. It’s something that just shouldn’t happen.

2: The sports they show. Enough with the equestrian and the gymnastics already! Who on Earth wants to watch so much of these so called ‘sports’? Not me. It was inexcusable that they showed 7 minutes of the Boomers vs Croatia game only to show hours of Dressage and gymnastics. Their programming schedule has been utterly woeful. I’m now officially rejoicing that they’ve lost the coverage for 2012.

3: Stopping coverage to show Adelaide vs Richmond in the AFL. I don’t think there’s ever been a bigger brain explosion (save for Britney shaving her head) than this one from the muppets at Seven. Possibly the worst broadcasting decision ever. I’ll leave this one here before I start breaking stuff. Needless to say, Channel 7 is sucking the big ones at this Olympics.

Thumbs Up The female Australian swimmers. Without them we’d have a big fat ZERO gold medals – and that’s not good for anyone.

However, the men have a little bit of an excuse…

Thumbs Up Michael Phelps. Love him or hate him, you’ve got to respect his swimming talent. It is absurd how good this guy is. Why are the rest of the swimmers even bothering to turn up? He is blowing them away in every even he competes in.

Watching him win the 200m freestyle was almost scary. In Australia we like to think of Thorpie as the best 200m swimmer ever. Although I think Thorpie is an absolute muppet, I still cling to his sporting prowess simply because he’s Australian – yes, I’m that patriotic.

Now, Phelps qualified a lowly 6th for the final this time round leading some pundits (including myself) to muse that this could be where his quest for 8 gold medals was going to come unstuck. Well, if anyone has been more wrong, I’d like to know who.

Phelps eviscerated the field. He destroyed the world record and even if Thorpe had decided to contest these Olympics, he too would have been left in Phelps’ wake. He is without a doubt, the greatest swimmer ever. And anyone who disagrees should shut the hell up. *Ahem*

Thumbs Down Women’s basketball. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – women’s basketball is just pitiful when you compare it with men’s basketball. I can honestly say that in all the women’s ball I’ve watched this Olympics; I think a total of two plays have impressed me. The rest has left me feeling as if I just saw Amy Winehouse getting undressed – totally disgusted and about to vomit.

Add to this that the commentators are once again terrible. I cannot stand commentators who clearly have no concept of the sport they are trying to announce. Please, just shut up before someone stabs you in the neck with a pencil. However, the women’s basketball hasn’t been ALL bad though…

Thumbs Up Penny Taylor. Whoa. This girl is seriously good… looking. Yes she has a fair few skills on the basketball court, but it’s her jaw dropping good looks that make the women’s basketball worth watching… despite the vomitus reactions I described earlier…

Penny Taylor is, to her credit, a seriously good female basketball player. She can shoot from both outside and inside, she can go coast to coast, her defence is great, she can rebound, and did I also mention that she’s hot? In other words, she should be the way people market women’s basketball. Quite frankly, if anyone out there thinks that by marketing Lauren Jackson you’re going to get males interested in female basketball? Uh, think again.

However, if Taylor became the face of female basketball in Australia, I reckon people would sit up and take notice – most of all me!  However…

Thumbs Down She’s married to a guy 10 times better looking than me.


Thumbs Up The women’s beach volleyball. Ok, not only are the ‘uniforms’ possibly the greatest sporting uniforms ever, but the Aussie girls have a legitimate chance here… and possess some serious skill. The way they can keep the ball alive by hurling themselves onto the sand… well, it’s a mix of the opening credits of Baywatch and sporting excellence. In other words, one of the top 10 best combinations ever.

Watching the Aussie vs Russia match was an awakening of sorts for me that women’s beach volleyball could be a decent sport. What an outstanding match. The Aussie girls started by absolutely destroying the Russians in the first set, but in the second it was a totally different story.

The Russian girls harnessed their inner Ivan Drago and wiped the floor clean leading to ‘The Decider”. Got to love that action.

The Russians started out strong and took an early lead. It looked all over for the Aussie girls, until they won an amazing point by keeping the ball alive…somehow. Suddenly, the Russian was cut! He’s hurt! Sorry, Rocky flashback.

Anyway, the Aussie girls won against the odds, and I was a women’s beach volleyball fan. Fantastic!

Thumbs Down The 20km walk. What the hell kind of event is it anyway? It was the height of comedy seeing the ‘athletes’ limbering up before the start of their walk. Some were massively trying to pump themselves up. Talking to themselves, thumping their chests. Hilarious stuff! Next time I leave the office and go for a walk to get some lunch, I might try psyching myself up in the same way.

Thumbs Up The weightlifting. This is always a landmark Olympic event because it shatters the unintentional comedy scale. Seeing these lumps of human flesh trying to lift impossibly heavy things is absolutely hilarious. Watching them struggle in the clean and jerk to get it to the half way point should be a reality TV series in itself.

Then, the psyche themselves up letting it rest on their shoulders, before they try and smash it over their heads. Sometimes it works against the odds and you get massively excited. Other times they drop the weights on themselves and you get even more excited. Ultimately, it’s a great spectator sport.

Well, that’s all I have time for. If you have any other best and worsts of the Olympics, let me know and I’ll put them in the upcoming mailbag.

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Rice Sullivan
Please, enough of the Rice
and Sullivan couple saga.
Sonia Kruger
Sonia Kruger should never have been
allowed anywhere near Beijing.
Phelps may be a bit goofy looking,
but he's got talent in the water.
Penny Taylor
Penny Taylor should be on every marketing
poster for Women's Basketball.
Beach Volleyball
The beach volleyball uniforms
are simply outstanding.
20Km Walk
I'd rather eat the fingers off my
hand than watch Olympic walking.