Olympic Observations

Observation from this morning:  the ferry across the Vltava, which is such a lovely addition to our neighborhood, is a lovely thing to do if you’re doing it for itself, as a way to relax on the river, cool down on a hot day, get a beautiful view of the city, show some out of town visitors, or something like that.  If you’re actually using it for transportation, and need to be across the river for a meeting, it can be frustrating.  I should have just taken the Metro.


Simone Biles, Superwoman

Main topic:  I am not a big sports fan, but I do enjoy the Olympics.  For one thing I live in a small but sports mad country and the Czechs are way over-represented in international competitions.  So far, we’ve got a gold in Judo, a Silver in kayaking, and five bronzes, 3 of which are in tennis.  Not bad at all for a country of only 10 million people.
But what I like most is that there are always some special characters, some interesting individual stories, some actual historical moments in  sport.  For me, the star of the show this year is Simone Biles.  If you haven’t seen her, google her.  It’s not just that she’s the best at her sport, it’s that she’s doing things in that sport that nobody else has ever done before.  She is a freak of nature, a super human.  I love watching things like that.  It makes you proud to be a human being.

I’d like to weigh in on the Shaunae Miller controversy, which strikes me as no controversy at all.  The Bahamian sprinter won the 400m race by diving across the finish line.  She was the first across the line – by a fraction of a second – even though she was on the ground, and pretty cut up, to tell the truth.
A lot of people are saying it wasn’t fair, that runners are supposed to cross the line standing up, but there’s nothing in the rules that says so.

I remember a scene from a film about ancient Greek heroes, Clash of the Titans, maybe, where the hero bet that he could throw a rock across the lake and everybody laughed because it was a really long way, and then he threw it sidearm and skipped it across and won the bet.  It’s like the Fosbury Flop or that Scottish bicyclist who rode horizontally.

If people object to the style, they can change the rules but as far as this race is concerned, Shaunae Miller won it, and nobody should disparage her accomplishment.


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