I got back from Nantucket last week and classes started today, but mostly I’ve been focused on the Olympics. A few thoughts, starting with the not-so-good and moving toward the very good:
NBC’s coverage of the Olympics: not good. Living on the west coast we get NBC’s evening Olympic broadcast tape-delayed. That’s right, in this day and age where most people are connected to the internet and can get news, sports results, etc. almost as soon as they happen, NBC won’t show those of us on the west coast the Olympics live. Never mind that the results are posted live on their website, we have to stay up until 1:30 AM to see the end of men’s gymnastics. Yeah, I know those of you back east have to do this to see things live, but other sporting events aren’t broadcast this way. I mean, the Superbowl and World Series are broadcast live, so why not the Olympics?
Speaking of gymnastics, there is no way in hell that all the Chinese “women” gymnasts are 16 years old or older. Just my opinion, but remember, I am a doctor. 😉
Now for the good:
Michael Phelps is a crazy good swimmer, which reminds me: has anyone else noticed that in swimming a lot of world records seem to be set at each Olympics, while in track relatively few are? Looking at the progression of world records in the 100 m freestyle (swimming) and the 400 m sprint (track; the times for each event are similar), the 100 m free shows a larger percentage decrease over the last 100 years (as well as the last 50 years). My theory is this: humans are used to running and not necessarily used to swimming. Thus we (as a species) are close to our theoretical maximum speed when it comes to running. In swimming, on the other hand, there is still improvement to be made in the area of optimum technique. We are not as close to our maximum theoretical swimming speed as we are to our running speed. Just a theory.
Speaking of running, Usain Bolt is crazy fast. I had been thinking about the whole swimming vs. track world record theory for a week or so…and then Bolt goes out and sets records in the 100 m and 200 m sprints. He also blew away the field in both events. In the 100 in particular (I haven’t seen video of the 200 yet), he was pulling away from the other runners over the last half of the race. Mind you, the other runners are some of the best sprinters in the world. Just amazing. I didn’t think I’d see a track performance more impressive than Michael Johnson’s 200 m in 1996, but I was wrong. Wow.