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2008 Summer Olympics - Beijing, China

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Walter C, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I agree. He may be considered the greatest Olympic "swimmer" of all time, but I have a hard time with all the accolades of "Greatest Olympian" simply based on quantity of medals won in a single sport. As mentioned by others, some athletes only have one medal opportunity per Olympiad, so it's really ridiculous to put Phelps on this pedestal simply because he has multiple opportunities to medal within the same sport.

    To me, the "Greatest Olympian" would have to win gold in a variety of different sports. But that doesn't happen today as most athletes specialize in only a single sport or specific event within that sport.

    And my beef with the NBC coverage is all those fluff pieces and the never-ending interviews. I want to see the competition period. I don't care what kind of food they serve on the streets of Beijing (there was some segment last night that had Bob Costas waving around a scorpion on a stick), or how young so-and-so was when they started training. All I want is the here-and-now of the event competition. Canadian Broadcasting Corp does this very well and I'm fortunate to have them as part of my cable TV lineup.
     
  2. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I know it's semantics, but I have no problem with "Greatest Olympian." What is the point of competing in the Olympics? To win gold. Who has won more? No one.

    Now if they said he was the greatest Olympic Athlete - I'd have definite beefs, because as people have noted, there other more demanding sports, and people who do (or have in the past, it really doesn't happen in modern Olympics) compete in a wide variety of events. So IMO it's very hard to prove anyone's the greatest "athlete" because that encompasses so many things.
     
  3. Bob_Chase

    Bob_Chase Stunt Coordinator

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    WTF??? If you have to ask, you'll never understand.
     
  4. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Carlo, I agree with everything. It's a convenient shorthand, and some are reading too much into it, methinks. If an archer won a 10th gold medal today, he would be fully deserving of the title, pot belly and all.

    Or we could call him as Yahoo News did (possibly an AP feed), the Winningest Olympian ever.

    --
    H
     
  5. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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  6. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    So many Olympic athletes have had their medals stripped by the IOC when drug use or doping was later discovered.

    Do you think that the Chinese will lose some medals if and when the true age of their gymnasts is learned?
     
  7. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Bingo. Some nut on MSNBC has gone farther and called him the greatest athlete ever. And he used the word unquestionably. He then proceeded to say that because Phelps sport is in water, it's by definition harder than sports on land. And then he said "Have you ever swum a 100M?" to the interviewer (Lauer, I think)!?! For my answer to that, it would be: Actually yes...but I've never cycled the Tour De France 7 times in 7 years with a single nut. Your point?

    1) Phelps is the Greatest Olympic Winner. I love the guy, and wholeheartedly support that claim.

    2) Andrew is correct. He is effectively getting 8 medals for doing TWO things (sprint freestyle and sprint fly). That's the sport, though. They have a bunch of races.

    3) There were stories beating around the bush on the (obvious age) of the Chinese gymnasts. Once they won Gold, it became even bigger. I feel that is disingenuous. It's too late to make a scene. It's either a big deal during the competition or it's not. We ignored it until they won. And they won by beating us. Let it go. I blame the IOC for letting them get away with it. But they did. No way the IOC is going to call 1.3 billion potential customers cheaters.

    I feel bad for the girls, because they were spectacular.
     
  8. Marianne

    Marianne Supporting Actor

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    They should lose their medals if they have broken the rules, but how would you ever prove the age of anyone in China?
     
  9. drobbins

    drobbins Screenwriter

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    I agree. They were spectacular! But you can not convince me that this girl is near 16 therefore she should not have been there. I am not saying that we would have won (USA made major errors), but it would have definitely changed the competition with different athletes competing.

    [​IMG]


     
  10. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

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    Carlo, that list is wrong.

    Phelps this year has won gold in;

    400m IM
    200m Freestyle
    200m Butterfly
    4x100m Freestyle relay
    4x200m Freestyle relay

    He has not swam in the 100m Fly, 200m IM, 4x100m medley relay yet. Think the 200m IM is tonight.
     
  11. andrew markworthy

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    I'm glad I've been able to raise some debate about Mr Phelps, and interesting to see the contrasting viewpoints. The fact remains that for the last thirty or so years, there have been individual swimmers capable of gaining medals across several official race distances. You simply don't find this in other sports [the nearest is probably someone like Carl Lewis, but even he didn't get near Phelps's total]. Sorry, but this indicates that in terms of determining differences between individuals, these races are too similar. The statistics clearly show that this can't be gainsaid. To give an analogy - suppose you claim that skills A, B and C are totally different and you devise tests A, B and C to test them, and you then find that the same people who are good at test A are also equally good at tests B and C. This means that skills A, B and C are strongly related, not different, as originally claimed. Now if Mr P had, for example, won golds in both sprint and endurance events, that would be radically different, because this is something very much rarer.

    None of this robs Mr P of his rightful place as a great sportsman and swimmer. To reiterate - he is a superb swimmer, one of the best of all time, and a great shining example to the sport (and I mean that sincerely). All it does is question whether the swimming authorities should have quite as many races. But 'greatest Olympian' implies something truly special, beyond a tally of how many medals have been won (and certainly beyond winning races four years apart in events proven to be very similar) and also, beyond being simply the best in your sport. And I think over the years, there have been several Olympians who have been more inspirational or special and who have transcended simply being good at their particular sport. Inevitably, we will each have our own views on this. FWIW, my vote would be for Bob Beaman. For me, that single jump represents all that can be inspirational and memorable when someone is prepared to stretch themselves beyond what experts and authority figures have said should be possible. Perhaps the shock and awe of that jump has faded now, but placed in the context of the time, it was sensational. But certainly, it transcended the sport of long jumping, and became symbolic of something more. Others might with good reason choose Jessie Owens, not only for his achievements, but also for accomplishing these at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, thereby neatly undermining all the propaganda about Aryan physical supremacy.


    Jeff, let's bury the hatchet, shall we? If I've been going on too much about a Brit viewpoint, then apologies. I sincerely believe it helps us all occasionally to see how others see us. But if I've overdone this, then, just to repeat, my apologies.
     
  12. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I'm pretty sure the numbers for 2004 are off also. Carlo, you have him winning 8 golds in 2004, which would have beaten Spitz back then. Something is fishy there.
     
  13. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Correction (on my part):

    Michael Phelps - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    In 2004, Phelps won 6 golds, 2 bronze.

    Gold in:
    400m IM
    100m Butterfly
    200m Buttterfly
    200m IM
    4x200m free relay
    4x100m medley relay

    Bronze in:
    200m free
    4x100m free relay
     
  14. Marianne

    Marianne Supporting Actor

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    Where would we be without wiki? [​IMG]

    List of multiple Olympic gold medalists - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    BTW the top three on that list are:

    1. Michael Phelps (USA) Swimming (2004-2008)
    2. Larissa Latynina (USSR) Gymnastics (1956-1964) (won more medals in total than Michael Phelps, so far!)
    3. Paavo Lurmi (Finland) Athletics (1920-1928) (various races from 1500m to 8000m cross country.)
     
  15. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    None of which will put Western corporations (and governments!) off whoring themselves out to that hideous regime in their breathless race to those 1.3 billion untapped consumers. Ah... the wonders of unbridled capitalism [​IMG] [​IMG]

    (I can't help it Jeff ;-) )

    --
    H
     
  16. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    At last we agree on something political. The single worst thing for the US in the last 20 years isn't terrorism, it isn't run away immigration, it's whoring ourselves out to a nation that is the antithesis of freedom. If I held the switch, I'd turn off trade with China right now.
     
  17. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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  18. Bob_Chase

    Bob_Chase Stunt Coordinator

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    Good post Andrew, but I'm not sure I follow this.

    I compete in triathlons which involve swimming (skill A), cycling (skill B) and running (skill C). If I am equally good in all three events (of which I am certainly not), this does not mean they are strongly related. It means I trained extremely hard in all 3 disciplines. For sure they are related in that they are all endurance events, but that is hardly a strong relationship. I can assure you they are vastly different, especially the swimming.

    To see what I mean, ride your bike for 10K at a brisk pace. Once you've finished, immediately attempt to run.

    My first time I just about fell flat on my face. Not because of exhaustion, but because my muscles were so focused on performing a specific task at a high intensity. When I "asked" my legs to perform the next task (the run) they replied "are you f'ing kidding me???" : )

    It was only through training that I got my legs to (begrudgingly) agree.

    I do agree with you on the sprint vs. endurance events. Swimming a 200m sprint is hard enough, but a grueling 1500m is a completely different beast.
     
  19. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    The IOC is too spineless to do anything about the age issue. They've said the only proof they'll accept is the athlete's passport, a document easily forged by small time crooks, let alone a major national government.

    Sad, but the Olympics are mostly about politics and money (endorsements) these days, rather than fair competition.
     
  20. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer

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    There is a huge difference between the 200m Freestyle and the 400m IM. Saying that these races are all too similar and that they shouldn't be valued as highly is a suspect argument. Why haven't we seen something like Phelps much more often then? I also think some are undervaluing just how different these distances are in swimming.

    Note: I quoted the post by Steve just so some of what Phelps won would be readily available not because I was responding to that post.
     

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