Good stories told from an outsiders view; that's the Games
Yes, I was quite glad to have the chance to see Michael Phelps swim last night – first swimming story I’ve done in maybe two Olympics – and it’s true that stars do attract the crowds.
Which is what the Games are about to guys like me.
You’ve got people there like, well, like me, who don’t know the front crawl from the dog paddle (there should be dog paddle races, seriously) but we do know a story when we see one.
It’s perhaps the most fun part of covering these things, getting out to see some history and some world famous athletes and trying to chronicle their exploits without knowing the intricacies of the sport.
It’s hard, and I don’t know that we do it particularly well all the time but it goes to the essence of sport. It’s about the athletes more than it’s about the athletics, good stories about people well told.
We could sit there and try to explain the specifics of the event, like how Phelps was between strokes when he hit the wall at the end of his 200 metre race to be edged out by Le Clos of France South Africa (I screwed up) but, really, that’s not the issue, is it?
I would presume, and tell me if I’m wrong, that you want to know about the moment and the athlete more than the game and, sometimes, the result.
Am I right?
Think so, which is why I really like coming to these events. And why I think readers are generally well served. It’s fresh eyes telling old stories from a different perspective. Fun for us and, I hope, fun for you.
Coolest thing I saw yesterday?
We’re headed back to the hotel on the bus about 11 p.m. after Phelps-Hayden and pass this truck.
I kid you not, it’s
Eels On Wheels!
Yes, live and jellied, pick your poison and I wonder how many kids want to grow up and be an eel salesmen or delivery guy.
Not sure it’s a lucrative job, though, haven’t seen eel on a menu yet.
All right, this isn’t about London but they play it at every single basketball game and urge a section of the fans to sing along and I can’t get it out of my head.
So, you wonder what these mentally-strong, finely-tuned athletes are thinking about when they’re in the middle of competition.
Sometimes nothing, at least that’s what was going on with Phelps last night when he was anchoring the relay for his 19th medal.
“I started smiling with 20 metres to go, it’s the first time I think I’ve ever done that in a race.”
I don’t know if it’s more boring or angering when the tired old Quebec-Canada thing comes up and, yes, I have some friends in the Francophone media who are great guys but some of the others …
Well, they’re dopes.
It wasn’t 10 minutes after the Bronze Bonanza yesterday when the first “hey, we have more medals than Canada” comment was made.
It’s what you get at the Games every now and then, some guy trying to stir up some kind of controversy or make a name for himself and it’s simply tiring.
I don’t know about the basketball but those bile-green fluorescent shoes a couple of Aussies were wearing yesterday are quite off-putting.
I’m not sure why but the name Loudy Wiggins (an Aussie diver I saw Tuesday) makes me giggle and smile.
Sounds like someone from Harry Potter.
Was told by various spies that he was better in Game 2 than Game 1; I’m going to get over there one day soon, I hope. But it may not be until the quarter-finals, lots of other things going on.
Did check in with Jose electronically when I saw him take a shot in the head.
And, yes, more stitches in the same eye he cut twice at the end of last season; that’s 12 total in the three cuts.
No, Spain will not “rest” him and tank the next couple of games.
Dude across from me, speaking indeterminate language quite loudly, has to have some North American connections because he had his cell ring tone as the Popeye The Sailor Man theme and I don’t imagine that’s a globally known cartoon.
And thanks to him, I had that damn song in my head all day.
Want to see where we do most of our work?
This is the MPC, media hub at Olympic Park. This is also in the morning, it’s usually pretty full and saw two things there yesterday for the first time, and will see them an awful lot as the Games go on.
There was one dude slumped over his computer sound asleep – it is a good spot to catch a nap at the end of the day – and there was a guy on the phone doing play-by-play in some indeterminate language of, I believe, judo.
It’s hilarious to see people screaming into their phones “covering” an event going on somewhere else. Not sure what the folks back home think but, really, what they don’t know won’t hurt them.
You get that a lot here, actually. Sometimes you don’t have time to get a bus from one venue to another in time to see something so you watch it on TV and talk about it. And sometimes if you’re trying to play catch-up on event you simply can’t staff for any logistical reason, writing off quotes that are on the information system has to do.
It’s not perfect but it’s how we roll.
Please, in The Name Of All That’s Good In The World, do not ever, ever, ever schedule a game in any time zone anywhere in the world that starts at NINE FREAKING O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING.
Tired Grunt who doesn’t know enough to go to bed a reasonable hour.
Speaking of reasonable hours, go back after the Phelps thingy in time to catch last call at The Swan in the alley down the street.
And since they stop pouring at 11 p.m. weeknights (12:30 on Friday and Saturday and to that I say halleluiah) that was writing to a tight deadline.
Veteran move, indeed.