Sunday, 24 August 2008

Olympics sign off

As i watch the olympic closing ceremony, a stream of thoughts starts to trickle through my mind. All the thrills and spills, the highs and lows of the last few days. But before I get on with that thread, heres a phd comic, an original one ..
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scene: discussion in lab about olympic success ..

French guy (complaining as usual): 34 medals but only 5 golds, we are lot better than what the standings show ..
Spanish guy : whatever the tally suggests is one thing, but Nadal is truly something ..
German (ambitious as ever) : umm .. 14 gold is just about ok, but we can and should do lot better ..
British guy (doesnt know a thing abt sport otherwise): our success is quantified - 1.5
All: ???
British: you see, Australia have 12 gold and we have 18, so 18/12 = 1.5.
Indian (beaming and seemingly happiest of the lot): We did infinitely well this time.
All: ??????????
Indian: you see, Pakistan has 0 medals and we have 3, so 3/0 = infinity.
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Anyways, back to the main thread ..
I was wondering what memories would stay with me long after the games are forgotten otherwise .. and being in britain this time has definitely made an impact on the memories to stay ... for one, seeing 14-year old tom daley make it to the finals of diving was something. This lad definitely has a cool head on young shoulders. for another, Chris Hoy getting 2 golds in the velodrome, just symbolic of the overall performance of the Team GB cycling team.
The belgian high-jumper (i forget her name), jumping 2.05 and getting a first track and field medal for her country ..
the highs I save for the end ..
among the spills, the need for american relay teams to appreciate the importance of 'co-operation' ..
looking at the closing ceremony, an idea crossed my mind - if there was one event a nation should target to get a gold medal - it has to be the mens marathon - for its the only event to have its award ceremony in the limelight of the closing ceremony ..
Athletes apart, the venues are here to stay, not only physically, or symbolically, but also in our hearts - the magnificient 'birds nest' and the cool 'blue cube' among others ... Qingdao for the sailing and Hong Kong for the horses ..
And what perfect hosts china have been .. perfect hosts for 'sport' ..
I see it as a role model for India to follow - give it another 40 years or so, and we should be dreaming about New Delhi in the same vein. And by same vein, i mean in all respects, including, not the least, athlete performance. But thats a long way away ..
For the moment, the focus shifts to our very own london. And the closing ceremony already gave hints of the cultural precipice we need to cross to get here.
But all said and done, olympics is all about spirit .. and I relish to dwell on that aspect .. In fact, If I had to advise my 1-yr old nephew in the future, there are a few aspects which the olympics have made simpler -
Look at the races which Usain bolt ran .. and watch closely not only the race but the post-race celebrations - and you will know what 'sport' is all about ..
Look at the 7th race which Phelps won - and you will know that to be a 'champion', you not only need ability, but also 'hunger' ..
and then watch Abhinav Bindra on the podium, and you will know the definition of 'modesty' and perhaps 'composure' ..

signing off beijing .. welcome to london ..
Aditya