Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Observations

A few random observations from 2 weeks of on and off summer Olympic watching from Seoul.

This ain't my father's handball

When I was a kid, I was introduced to racquetball and handball at the place where my Father worked. To me, handball is just like racquetball, except played with a slightly smaller ball (not unlike a squash ball) and the players just use their hands, not racquets (they do wear padded gloves as I recall). I turn on the Olympic games to see a handball game one evening, and they're not playing in a small room. They're playing on an indoor field (looked like wet Astroturf). It was kind of like soccer, but using a ball in your hands instead of kicking. Accoring to Wikipedia, this Handball is played in Europe (and I presume Asia, since there were several Asian Handball teams on TV). The handball I know is called - please sit down for this - American Handball. This reminds me of the Soccer / Football / American Football name confusion. Can't we at least agree on the names of the games???

They're playing hockey on GRASS!

I need to consult my Canadian friends about this, but one night I turned on the TV and they were playing Hockey on grass! Field Hockey it seems. I guess this is poor-man's hockey? Or perhaps "warm-weather" hockey? The stick looked different from regular ice hockey, and come to think of it, maybe it was THIS sport that looked to be played on wet Astroturf.

Game coverage in a foreign country

I really enjoyed watching the games from another country. I get to see new (to me) sports that aren't popular in the USA, which was quite interesting.

Olympics + HD = Good Match

Despite my Korean satellite service advertising they would be covering the 2008 Olympic games on their HD channel, I never once saw a single event. However, I can pick up most of the over-the-air HD broadcasts. I let me say, HD video is a great match for sporting events. The only slight problem is that usually all the broadcasters would be covering the same event, so if you wanted HD quality, you were stuck with one sport. My other method was watching NBC's coverage of the Olympics using my USA Sling Box installed at The Stumbling Parents home. That was a big contrast between internet video and HD. But at least I could understand the narration of the announcers over the NBC station. They also had a great website devoted to the games, the only problem for me is that all video (live and replays) was blocked for anyone outside the USA.

Archery; how on Earth do they even hit the target?

Archery is very popular here in Korea. Their archery teams (mens and womens) have long winning streaks at the Olympics, as do their individual archers. As you can imagine, I saw a lot of archery. I suddenly gained a huge admiration for the sport when I saw a high speed camera played back in slow motion. When the arrow leaves the bow, it isn't straight. It is like a rubber snake! Oscillating back and forth. I can't imainge how they can hit anything, especially when you also consider the lofted trajectory the arrow follows.

Absent Athlete?

Where was Mark Spitz? He was snubbed?? What's this about? There must be more to this story. I wanna know more... Does everyone remember this famous poster? I think ever girl had it hanging on the wall that year

1 comment:

The Stumbling Mom said...

They interview Mark Spitz several time, probably every time Michael Phelps won another one. I saw him quite often. He's aged a bit since that poster, but they showed the poster a couple of times too, just to bring back all those old memories!