"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2008 Beijing Olympic Games

The National Stadium AKA The Birds Nest, seen through some of that infamous smog.

This will only be a fleeting look at the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing, China. if you want to know all about the games there will be hundreds of more informed and informative sites than this one, my post is designed to pay tribute to the athletes, whether successful or not, and to have a look at performances over the last 3 games ie; Beijing, Athens. Sydney.
It's great to know now that all the panic about air pollution, traffic gridlock, and over zealous security to name just a few things, were unfounded and the Games seem to have gone off very well indeed.
Each Olympics brings out stories of extreme human endeavor, luck, both good and bad 2008 has been no exception, we all stand in awe of the USA swimmer Michael Phelps with his tally of 8 Gold Medals, 7 world records and 1 Olympic record, this man will live forever in the minds and hearts of the whole world.

Michael Phelps with President George W Bush, (better watch the company you keep Michael).

Who could forget the effervescent Jamacian, Usain (Lightning) Bolt, with 3 Gold Medals and 3 World Records

And of course our own Stephanie Rice, another with 3 Gold Medals and 3 World Records.
Australia is proud of you Stephanie!!!

Australia, with a population of only 20 million, has once more performed exceptionally well in
Beijing coming a very respectable 6th on the medal tally board with 14 Gold, 15 Silver, and
17 Bronze, for a total of 46 Medals, I'm going to focus on the swimming as this is traditionally
where we do so well.

The Beijing Swimming Stadium AKA as the Water Cube, with the main stadium in the background

We traditionally come in 2nd to the USA in the swimming events
At Sydney in 2000 the tallies were
----USA - 14 Gold, 8 Silver, 11 Bronze, Total 33
Australia - 7 Gold, 4 Silver, 5 Bronze, Total 18

At Athens in 2004 the placings were the same
----USA - 12 Gold, 9 Silver, 7 Bronze, Total 28
Australia - 7 Gold, 5 Silver, 3 Bronze, Total 15

And again in Beijing it was USA and Australia 1 & 2 in the pool.
----USA - 12 Gold, 9 Silver, 10 Bronze, Total 31
Australia - 6 Gold, 6 Silver, 8 Bronze, Total 20

There are a few things that stand out in these figures the first is Michael Phelps, with a bag of 8 medals in each of his 2 Olympics (14 Gold and 2 Bronze) he has made a big difference, when the figures are broken down to Men and Women there is another story, thank god for our women!!!

Medal tallies 2008.
---Men - USA - 10 Gold, 2 Silver, 5 Bronze, Total 17
Women - USA - 2 Gold, 7 Silver, 5 Bronze Total 14 --- Grand Total 31

---Men - Aust - 0 Gold, 4 Silver, 4 Bronze, Total 8
Women - Aust - 6 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze, Total 12 --- Grand Total 20

OK so there is no female Phelps (thank you lord) but there is still one more interesting factor here,
Great Britain, (former easy beats in the pool and elsewhere, they were in 4th place overall with a
Total of 47 Medals) in swimming Great Britain were 3rd and China 4th, both with 6 medals although
with 2 Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze for G/B and 1 Gold, 3 Silver, and 2 Bronze for China the Brits
won it.
Neither of them got any swimming medals in 2000, China got ! Gold, & 1 Silver, while Great Britain
got 2 Bronze in 2004.
So there's where some of our medals went, and it's a sign of the times that both these nations have invested VERY heavily in their sporting teams, in Australia we also spend a lot of money on nurturing our top athletes at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) located in the National Capital, most states also have an Institute of Sport too, it would seem that for any country not prepared to spend lots of money on training their athletes they will become less and less competitive in the future and that's not just in the pool of course.
This will inevitably lead to the wealthy nations, those with a new found national pride, like China, countries like Russia
and China with their cradle to Olympics attitude, Great Britain with the games at home in 2012 being examples of the countries to beat.... 2012 in London does look very interesting.


Cliff said...

Everytime I saw an aussie in the olympics I thought of you Peter. Sitting in that chair and watching. Just like me.
Way too much work...Eh??
Your Miss Rice is a cutie.

IamwhoIam said...

You don't think the island thing help you ah.

Personnel I like the stories about the less know athletics - like the runners from Somali- they sent a total of two athlitics to the games and both where last but they competed and that is the true victory. (I don't think many would have lived in the conditions that these athlitic survived) But the game give us reason to cheer and to look beyond ourselves.

kenju said...

I loved every minute of the games I got to see. I agree with you about the company Phelps keeps....LOL

Congrats to all who participated in the games, whether you medaled or not!

Merle said...

Hi Peter ~~ Good article about the
Olympic Games. I enjoyed quite a lot of them this year and also wondering
if I will see another in London.
I have even been watching the interviews with the Aussies before they left Beijing and I guess we will have more now they are home.
I liked the pole vaulter and the diver Matthew Mitchum winning gold.
Take care, Love, Merle.

Dave said...

I too, like the stories from the teeny tiny countries that've never won a medal.. but continue to come to the olympics to represent their countries.

THOSE people, are the ones I enjoy watching... the desire, the pride for their countries.

Puss-in-Boots said...

Ah yes, there are some great stories from the Olympics. Of course, you know why the Queensland women won all those swimming medals. They train in the ocean and learn to outswim the sharks...

Irish Coffeehouse said...

Oh yes the Olympics were terrific this year! :) Unfortunately I'm just now beginning to recover from my diehard watching. lol

linda may said...

Good summary Peter. The swimming are my favourite events to watch. Oi Oi Oi!

Jack K. said...

Great post Peter. We, too, were entranced by the prowess of the athletes from around the world. It is amazing that men and women can compete and still remain civil to each other. There were so many examples of good sportsmanship it made me proud to be human.

I reckon it is mandatory to have your photo taken with the leader of your country. Perhaps we will have a better example next time. Too bad the current leader didn't learn anything about sportsmanship. He could have used a lot of it during his terms in office.

Congratulations go out to all of those fine young women and men who have dedicated their lives to their sport. By participating they are all winners in my book.

Walker said...

I look past the politics of it all and focus on the athletes because thats who its all about not the people trying to take advantage of Olympic coverage to make a statment.
There is a time and place for that after.

I think it was a good Olympics and a very good way to get a look at China as a country not it's politics.

Congrats to your athletes who did a wonderful job in hauling in the medals and the best of luck in the UK when they head there inb 4 years time.

Jamie Dawn said...

I loved watching the Olympics! I was thrilled with Phelps' performance and accomplishments!!!
My favorite sports to watch are beach volleyball and gymnastics. I did watch swimming and some running events also. Very exciting stuff!!
Australia can be proud of their talented athletes!
Well done!!!
The Chinese went all out to impress the world with these Olympics. They impressed us with their opening ceremonies and those outstanding facilities. Too bad they do not impress us in the area of human rights and democratic freedoms.
I LOVED seeing Bush there cheering on our teams!!

Kira said...

I like your comment about Phelps companie.lol. I appriciate that you wrote all this, it's help me a lot with my essay about the Beijing olympics 2008. Thank you so very much! <(^_^)>