Random Olympic Musings

In the equestrian events, do the horses of the winning riders receive a medal or any kind of special recognition or treat? Do the horses take part in the medal ceremonies?

I’m watching a field hockey match (for the first time) between the Netherlands and Germany. It’s been a great match – it has gone to penalty strokes. What troubles or fascinates me is the fact that the players have to bend their backs for most of the match as they move the ball along, pass, receive and shoot. Isn’t this extraordinarily uncomfortable? Field hockey players must have super strong back and abdominal muscles. I wouldn’t last a minute in that position – I don’t think I’d be able straighten up.

I watched the semifinal women’s handball match between Norway and Korea. Wow, what a close match! Norway pulled out a last second win with a spectacular goal after Korea had come from beyond to tie the game. I’m new to handball and was wondering if the court is padded? A lot of the players hit the court pretty hard after a shot. Also, what is the ball like? Is it soft and bouncy. How does it compare to a soccer ball?

In diving, I wonder if a diver has ever just said to heck with it all and performed a cannonball instead of a 3 and half with 2 twists?

Why isn’t golf an Olympic sport?

Why did the IOC vote to eliminate softball and baseball from the next Olympics? Any argument of USA domination no longer holds after team USA lost to an excellent Japanese team in the softball gold medal match. Baseball games in these Olympics have been competitive, and teams from the Americas have not dominated. Korea, in fact, has been the dominant team going 7-0 to date.

Has there been any talk of eliminating hurdles from track and field? I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but it seems that hurdlers suffer a disproportionate amount of injury compared to other runners.

In a pole vaulting event, has a pole ever snapped in two during a vault? I seem to remember seeing or hearing of such an accident. Assuming the athlete was not injured, would the vaulter be disqualified, or allowed another vault?

As reported in today’s Times Online, IOC president Jacques Rogge criticized Usain Bolt for disrespecting his competitors after his gold medal world record breaking performances in the 100 and 200 meter runs. Please! Every athlete expresses emotion and does some sort of victory lap drapped in a flag. Is he really expected to acknowledge each of his competitors? It is an individual race – not a team competition with the obligatory handshake line. After the race, the runners are spread out along the track anyway so logistically it would be unrealistic for him to find everybody for a handshake, hug or even to just say good race. He didn’t break any rules. And after his earth shattering performances, he earned the right to celebrate as he did.

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