Olympic Fever, Pacific Standard Time

Fencers, McGill University, Montreal, 1925. Source.

I have Olympic fever. I get it every time. I guess I’m not watching any news for the next two weeks. I don’t want any results ahead of time, so I’m not talking to anyone about the Olympics. I don’t want any spoilers. It’s the only way. With an eight-hour time difference between London and California, it’s tricky.

I just finished watching Michael Phelps qualify, and within the hour a friend told me he didn’t even place in the final round. I was planning on watching that later tonight! Oh well. I hope I didn’t spoil anything for you.

I so enjoy watching the Olympics, particularly the drama of the gymnastics. I understand a current issue is the choice of pink for a background color. I’m not sure if it’s the mats or the siding. I hear it’s distracting for the gymnasts. I don’t blame them as it is a bit hard on the eyes as a TV watcher. I saw it when I watched the badminton.

I was a gymnast in my youth and the most we could muster was a forward roll on the balance beam. The tricks they do now demand super-human strength and finesse. No special effects required here.

I am looking forward to the diving, swimming, water polo, soccer (or football I should say) and the track and field to be sure. The Olympics also provides a look at other sports you may never watch anywhere else, unless you know someone who does the sport and, perhaps, attend the event personally. Many of these sports are simply not televised.

No matter what the sport, all of it is intense. For example, I have never seen such an intense game of table tennis in my life. I’m sure I couldn’t even return a serve if I were to play any of these Olympians. And, the sweat dripping from their faces, the coaches watching on the side, a stone-faced expression, or a sudden wincing, downward stare. Ah, the pressure.

The other sport I caught was fencing. I will now report on old news, because by now I’m sure you’ve already seen this, or the gold medal has already been awarded. No matter. I watched the Women’s Individual Foil event in fencing. In case you didn’t know, I learned that in the Foil, it’s only the tip that can touch your opponent. In the Sabre event, the whole sword, including the tip, can touch your opponent. The Foil involves the upper torso, but not the arms.

While watching, my son asks, “Is this sword fighting? Can you make money off this? It looks easy? Oh, are they doing it blind? Can they not see?”

Oh, they can see, and I bet it’s every bit as psychological as physical. I watched Di Francesca (#3 rank) from Italy and Nam (#2 rank) from South Korea. Nam was the silver medalist in Beijing in the last Olympic games. Between points, the women would often take their helmets off to look their opponent in the eye or wipe the sweat from their face, or perhaps argue a point with the referee. And when they win a point, their helmets blink red lights.

But this is the intense thing. Di Francesca came from behind, gaining the last five of the six points, to bring the overall score to a tie. So, they have one minute to play and the first touch wins. But previous to the final point being played, they toss a coin. If no one is able to score in the minute round, the person who wins the coin toss wins the match.

Could you imagine making it to the Olympics, making it that far, and losing to a coin toss?

I’m happy to report, in case you haven’t heard, that the match was not decided by a coin toss. Di Francesca touched her opponent within seconds. Riveting. Don’t tell me if she won the gold.

8 thoughts on “Olympic Fever, Pacific Standard Time

  1. Olympics has always captured my attention since I was a child. Opening party, parade of participants, and the game. If you are a former gymnast, I am a badminton player. We compete for victory, but in an honest way. If we lose, we still can be a champion in other areas …… I like your post, make the Olympics even more meaningful …. 🙂


  2. I haven’t had Olympic Fever for a while, but it caught me off guard during the Opening Ceremonies. It was back. I spent at least a full hour yesterday watching women’s soccer. Spoilers ruin it for all! 😉


    1. Good for you! I just wish my kids were a little more into it. I did watch water polo with my son today and it was a lot of fun. I’m sure there will be spoilers to come…what can you do?


  3. En Garde… Raise thy foil
    and lunge, reposte, parry…
    Yes there is nothing like a
    bit of fencing, just don’t be
    adding any red cards to it
    or the duel will be over 🙂

    Have a fun weekend now…



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