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    22nd August 2008

    I love the Olympics, but here’s the question: Are we sore losers?

    This is not going to be my best post of all time – and certainly not by best writing – but I’ve been thinking about this a bit:

    I’ve been watching the Olympics like an addict for the last two weeks, and I have enjoyed most of what I have seen (even the bits of rhythmic gymnastics I caught this morning…), but there have definately been some moments when I have questioned the scores awarded by the judges. And I’m not the only one to do so: American and other commentators have wondered about some of the scores arwarded in gymnastics, diving (on a lesser level), and boxing.

    We all watched the gymnastics team event and saw the American women get beat by the Chinese, who truly were the better team that night (I’m not saying anything right now about their age falsification problem…). But then in the event finals, we got to see some serious scoring bias. When Alicia Sacramone was knocked out of the bronze medal spot for the vault by the Chinese gymnast who fell on her second landing, it was obvious that either the scoring system was flawed, or those giving the scores were biased. And again, on the uneven bars, when Nastia Liukin ended up tying for first place but being awarded the silver medal, we saw either a flaw in the system or a bias from the judges – or incompetence (as many folks have pointed out that most of the judges for that event final were from a country that had never won a medal in that particular event).

    There are complaints about the judging in boxing everytime there is a large amateur tournament, however, this time around there appear to be some seriously mis-scored matches involving some Americans. You can watch a video on nbcolympics.com where commentators go through the scoring of the first round of the match where Raynell Williams lost to a French fighter. It becomes apparent that there were a number of points that Williams should have been awarded but was not. There has also been the a high rate of success for the Chinese in a sport where they have not historically been very strong – four Chinese boxers are guaranteed a medal, where the only other Olympic boxing medal came for the Chinese in 2004 (according to nbcolympics.com, though I found a site with the olympic boxing history where I counted up 4 medals, 3 between 1908 and 1956, and the one in 2004 – apparently Mao didn’t allow Chinese athletes to compete in boxing…).

    Anyway, I don’t want to drag the judging debate out, but I do wonder whether we’re just sore losers and making excuses, or if there is some validity to questions about judging.

    To see a blogger who has really put up some funny and fun blogs about the Olympics, check out http://dogsandjeans.blogspot.com/

    To read a rather humourous article (though a little bit racy) about the ummm… sexual atmosphere… of the athlete village, check out http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/olympics/article4582421.ece

    When it’s all over, I’ll be 1) a little sad; but 2) back on a normal sleeping schedule which is good because I start school next week.

    Cheers!

    5th August 2008

    oh summer…

    So, out here in Colorado, we’ve had some tremendous heat over the past couple weeks. Denver broke a hundred and something year old record for consecutive days over 90 degrees, with a number of days soaring over 100. I missed some of those days on a trip that I took to see some friends and family, and specifically to attend the wedding of Tyler and Jenny Zwagerman. But it was still hot hot hot when I got back.

    I’ve been pretty lazy about writing on here (and if you have left me any comments, someday soon I will get back to you…), and there were have been many noteworthy happenings recently. Among those that I felt could have been been worthy of their own blog entries:

    I drank 63 oz of beer in South Bend, Indiana – home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and now of my sister Carrie and her husband Loren. The special was for 32 oz mugs, but I got mine in a giant clear plastic cup – a 32 oz plastic cup. I really wish I had had my camera with me (though by the end of the second cup my stomach was quite full – hence 63 instead of 64 oz…).

    Loren and I lit candles in the grotto at Notre Dame, besides perusing many interesting areas of campus, including the basilica museum, which houses a collection of golden and jeweled chalices that the priest in charge informed us were insured for either $16 or $18 million… and I asked him if they ever take them out for dinner parties (they don’t, but wouldn’t you? a shame to just let them sit there).

    I rode my bike in South Bend on Thursday morning, in Chicago on the Lakefront trail on Friday morning, and in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin on Saturday morning as most of the bridal party participated in either a 10k run or 2 mile fun run/walk before the wedding (I didn’t race, just rode around video-taping people.

    I partied with my college friends and Loren in Chicago on Thursday evening (a bit of a bach party…), dancing for many hours at a bar where the only person dancing when we walked in was a short middle aged guy with a big gut – who proceeded to continue dancing for the next 3 hours. Amazing.

    Played some music at Tyler and Jenny’s wedding, which was on the beach of Lake Michigan, just north of Wisconsin at a lake house that belongs to her parents. Like being on the set of a movie.

    I put corn into bags at a roadside corn stand as I visited my high school coach/friend Niels and his wife and children. Niels did $1600 in produce sales on the day I showed up (I was only there for the last hour and a half or so, but it was still an interesting experience); after dinner we then drove out to the family farm where he loads up produce for the next day, and helped him chuck a thousand pounds of corn into the truck.

    I rode my hancycle 10 miles in 100 degree heat at noon one day last week. I didn’t pass out, but if I had gone much longer I would have.

    Nick and I played music at a sweet hippie music festival where they called us because another band had canceled; and then the next night we played music at Camp Isaiah, a Christian running camp. Both were super fun for the most part.

    Ok, I think that’s it for now. Each of those could be more significant stories for sure, but you’ll have to wait to ask about them in person next time you see me!

    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.