Wednesday, August 27, 2008

True Spirit of the Olympics

Whatever the critics say about China, I say that they did a bang up job of the Olympics and showed their colors to the world. They managed to beat the US of A with the highest number of gold medals, 51 ranking 2nd in the total medal count with 100. Sadly we didn’t get a medal, but hey, there’s always the next one. I’m sure that there’s bound to be a Sri Lankan champion in the future generations he he

I’m not what you call the sporty type, but I am a fan of the Olympics, coz it shows what the world can be if humans can just do away with petty things like hate, greed, etc.

This month’s Readers Digest carried a nice article about the true spirit of sportsmanship, so thought I’d put some excerpts of it here.

Lucien Duquesne – Amsterdam 1928
A Finnish long distance runner by the name of Paavo Nurmi carried a stopwatch to pace himself and during a qualifying race of the 3000m steeplechase, he fell down and lost his watch. Frenchman Lucien Duquesne stopped and helped Nurmi on his feet and even helped to locate his stopwatch. Nurmi ran the rest of the race along Lucien and even offered the finish line, but Lucien has declined.

Ralph Hill – Los Angeles 1932
In the finals of the 5000m, Ralph Hill of the USA came from the last place to challenge the reigning champion Lauri Lehtinen of Finland and twice tried to pass the Fin, but was blocked. Lehtinan won by centimeters. Even though Hill could have made a formal protest for being blocked, he chose not to, saying that he did not believe that the Fin would purposely cheat to win.

Shunzo Kido – Los Angeles 1932
This Japanese equestrian team member was leading the steeplechase event, when he noticed that his horse was fatigued, and rather than risk injuring the animal, he dropped out of the race.

Anton Josipovic – Los Angeles 1984
Josipovic of Yugoslavia won the boxing gold by a technicality because Evander Holyfield was disqualified after winning semi finals. During the medal ceremony Josipovic invited Holyfield onto the top of the platform to share the glory.

Larry Lemieux – Seoul 1988
During the one man sailing completion, Lemieux of Canada was in second place when he spotted Joseph Chan of Singapore who was competing in another race get into trouble after capsizing his boat. Lemieux came to Chan’s rescue, sacrificing his own medal chance, for which he was awarded the Pierre de Cobertin Medal for sportsmanship.

Bjornar Haakensnoen – Turin 2006 (Winter Olympics)
In the cross country team ski race, Canadian Sara Renner’s left ski pole broke in half, but she pushed forward. Suddenly a man came forward from the sidelines and handed Renner a new ski pole, ultimately giving Canada the Silver. Renner’s helping hand was given by Bjornar Haakensnoen, the coach of the Norwegian team, which came in fourth.

Are these just in the past or would we such actions these days, with all the doping scandals and all. Already the US is trying hard to prove that the Gold medal wining gymnasts from China are under aged and to disqualify them.

I think Haakensnoen comment says it all about what the true spirit of Olympics is all about.

“The Olympic spirit is the way we try to follow. If you win, but don’t help somebody when you should have, what win is that”

Canadians hail Norwegian coach's sportsmanship

Monday, August 11, 2008

Laughing you head off

Man, some funny stuff, and some very talented entertainers. I’ve only posted a sample; you can search for more on YouTube.

Nina and Monk

Achmed the Dead Terrorist

Ron Lucas and Scorch

Terry Fator

Monday, August 04, 2008

Of Bird’s Nests and Water Bubbles

After waiting for four long years, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games are just a four days away. I’m not what you’d call the sporty type, but I do look forward to the Olympics. It’s nice to see people from all over the world in one place and not trying to kill each other :D.

To ensure that things go off smoothly, China has been making preparation since over 4 years. The mainstay of these preparations is the two new Olympic stadiums. They have some very cool architecture for these.

The main stadium is known as the Birds Nest, coz it actually looks like a bird’s nest, with twigs running crisscross all over it. It will hold all the main track and field events. Actually construction started back in December 2003 to a cost of USD 500 million. Total capacity is 91,000.

The Bird's Nest

The other one is the national aquatic centre, also known as the water cube coz it looks like a big ice cube stuck in middle of a city.

The Water Cube

These two are probably the weirdest looking stadiums built for the Olympics ever. The Chinese really want to show the rest of the world who’s the boss.

However there’s also a lot of controversy about the games being hosted in China too. Things like Human rights violations, pollutions etc.

One report says that officials are pushing their athletes over the limit to get more medals than ever so that China is at the lead of the medal tally. Saw a report on CNN this morning where kids as young as 6 are put through tough training regimes, I doubt even US Marines go through, and for what, a Gold in 2018? The look on that kid’s face was not a very happy one. The parents encourage this, even though they admit that the kid doesn’t want to do it, coz they believe that this is the way to prosperity for the kid.

Sadly Olympics have also become another “who’s got the biggest dick” competition for the powers that are. Hopefully the competitors will be the winners in the end.

Anywhoo, all the best for the Sri Lankan contingent, make Sri Lanka proud and bring back few Gold medals :D. Even if you don’t win, show good sportsmanship, coz that’ll go a long way.

ඔලිම්පික් තරගය සදහ යන අපෙ කට්ටියට ජයෙන් ජයම වේවා

Bird's Nest
Water Cube
Beijing 2008 Official Site