Monday, August 08, 2016

Olympics 2016 in Rio

In Focus shows Rio 2016: Photos From the First Weekend "Hundreds of photographers have gathered in Rio to follow the action in the Olympic arenas, swimming pools, racetracks, and more. Over the next two weeks I’ll be featuring some amazing images from recent Olympic events. Today’s entry encompasses fencing, basketball, handball, swimming, diving, eventing, table tennis, archery, and much more."

There are a number of phenomenal photos. I think this is my favorite:

Main 1500 500

I've been watching the Olympics all weekend. I have the TiVo set to record everything and I'm watching through. I skip the common sports, soccer, tennis, basketball, boxing, I can watch them anytime and I'm not particularly interested in them throughout the year, so I have no interest during the Olympics. But I enjoy watching the unusual sports every four years. So I'm recording three channels and skimming lots and finding what interests me.

Swimming is fun, but there are too many variations (distance, stroke, relay, etc.) and too many heats in each. I'm about reaching my fill, but it's fun to see how many medals Ledecki and Phelps can rack up.

Gymnastics is just amazing to watch what these people can do, and how dominant the US women are. I'm still looking forward to seeing more.

For me this year, I'm surprised that I'm really enjoying Team Handball. I didn't know much about it and I remember not being interested in previous years, but it seems to be perfectly constructed for watching a team put a thing in a goal. It's kinda like water polo on land, but that means you can see all the action. It's played on a court about twice the size of a basketball court, so the camera can show a whole half at once letting you see strategy but all individuals (unlike soccer). It's fast but not too fast so the camera isn't chasing the puck like in ice hockey. There's about a score a minute so that way more interesting than soccer and not too frequent like in basketball where only the end matters. Players are still really happy when they score, it's not rote like basketball. The goal isn't too big but goalies seem to be about 35% effective in making a stop, so it's rare but exciting if they do. A game is an hour, in two halves. The clock runs for each half, stopping only for injuries or to clean the court, and timeout are limited, so there's no end of game annoyance as in basketball. And there's no odd equipment like in field hockey where everyone runs bent over. I haven't figured out the rules but there's more contact than basketball and less than in ice hockey. I've seen two women's games and the Brazilians are particularly fun to watch. I've seen one men's game and it didn't quite have the same feel.

Equestrian has been my least favorite, particularly the dressage. The cross country was entertaining for a horse or two.

I'm liking indoor volleyball more than beach volleyball. In the latter they need more players on the court. They have too much ground to cover and the rallies are too short, it's very rare to see a point with more than two net crossings.

Table tennis at this level is just crazy to watch. It's interesting that there are so many different styles and all seem competitive at this level. I don't remember seeing a "tomahawk serve" before. On the other hand judo and fencing seem like the sports equivalents of pure breeding going too far. There are lots of common actions but to score a point you have to do in such a particular way that the participants don't know what happened until asking the judge. If the fencing were real, both parties would be stabbed and one a microsecond before the other.

Then there are the specific skill sports like weight lifting, archery and shooting that are definitely fun in small doses. NBC needs to do better at showing a camera angle that shows the distance they're shooting from and the (in the case of shooting ridiculously) tiny targets they're hitting.

Fun stuff.

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