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  • As Covid Cases Hit Record High in Tokyo, Can the Olympic Bubble Hold?

    With the Games approaching their midway point, promises of a “safe and secure” event are being put to the test.


    Outside the Tokyo Olympics bubble, the coronavirus situation in Japan has never been worse. Both the city and the country reported record numbers of new infections on Thursday as the Delta variant outpaced vaccinations, straining the health care system.

    Inside the bubble, a handful of new cases continue to emerge every day. The most prominent one yet, involving the world champion pole-vaulter Sam Kendricks, came on Thursday, knocking him out of the Games and briefly sending dozens of other athletes into isolation.

    Experts suggested that the presence of the Games in Tokyo was having the psychological effect of making the public believe they could relax, even if under an emergency declaration.

    Some restaurants, despite being asked to close by 8 p.m. and refrain from serving alcohol, are openly defying the appeals. At a pub in Shibuya, a sign out front on Thursday night declared: “You can drink here! Open until midnight.” Other bars were hosting Olympics viewing sessions.


    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/29/w...ics-covid.html

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    • The Chinese Sports Machine’s Single Goal: The Most Golds, at Any Cost

      China relies on a system that puts tens of thousands of children in government-run training schools. Many of the young athletes are funneled into less prominent sports that Beijing hopes to dominate.

      Six days a week since she was 12 years old, with only a few days of time away each year, Hou Zhihui has been driven by one mission: heaving more than double her body weight into the air.

      On Saturday, at the Tokyo Olympics, Hou’s dedication — sequestered from her family, dogged by near constant pain — paid off. She won gold in the 49-kilogram division and shattered three Olympic records, part of a fearsome Chinese women’s weight lifting squad that aimed to sweep every weight class it was contesting.

      “The Chinese weight lifting team is very cohesive, and the support from the entire team is very good,” Hou, 24, said after winning gold. “The only thing we athletes think about is focusing on training.”

      China’s sports assembly line is designed for one purpose: churning out gold medals for the glory of the nation. Silver and bronze barely count. By fielding 413 athletes in Tokyo, its largest ever delegation, China aims to land at the top of the gold medal count — even if the Chinese public is increasingly wary of the sacrifices made by individual athletes.

      “We must resolutely ensure we are first in gold medals,” Gou Zhongwen, the head of the Chinese Olympic Committee, said on the eve of the Tokyo Olympics.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/29/w...n=World%20News

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      • The sacrifices made by China’s Olympians are intense. Academic instruction in sports schools remains paltry, and some world champions share dorm rooms with others. They are lucky to see their family a few times a year.

        After the Chinese lifter Liao Qiuyun competed in the 55-kilogram weight division on Monday, it was a journalist from her home province who passed her a message from her parents.

        In one case, a former national champion was so impoverished after retirement that she ended up toiling in a public bathhouse. She grew a beard, which she said was the result of a doping regimen forced upon her as a young athlete.

        In 2017, after old samples were re-examined, three of China’s four women’s weight lifting golds at the 2008 Beijing Olympics were revoked because the tests found banned substances.

        Doping is rampant in weight lifting, and China is hardly the only country to have been caught. But an individual making the decision to take drugs is not the same as children being directed to do so by the state.


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        • Interesting factoid from Tirico - for Paris in 2024, the surfing competition will take place in Tahiti.

          I know that for quarantine reasons once long ago the equestrian events were held in Stockholm, but can anyone remember a time since then when events were held "very far" from the host city? (I know in '84 there was some early soccer in Annapolis, but I mean a *really* long ways away.)

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          • Originally posted by cigar95 View Post
            Interesting factoid from Tirico - for Paris in 2024, the surfing competition will take place in Tahiti.

            I know that for quarantine reasons once long ago the equestrian events were held in Stockholm, but can anyone remember a time since then when events were held "very far" from the host city? (I know in '84 there was some early soccer in Annapolis, but I mean a *really* long ways away.)
            Actually in 1984 soccer was played in Boston also. Football matches are often played all over the country. Technically Tahiti is part of France, and this venue has been known for at least a couple years now - that was nothing new from NBC (although I can't hear that as I'm in Tokyo)

            In 1908 London, some sailing events took place in Glasgow. In 2008 Beijing equestrian events were held in Hong Kong. In 1956 the entire equestrian competition was held in Stockholm, Sweden because of quarantine restrictions against horses entering Australia.

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            • Thanks. So this may be just the second time that competition has been held in a different hemisphere. (Though in '08 I'm not worried about the prime meridian.)

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              • Meanwhile...

                NBC boss insists Tokyo Olympics will be 'profitable' despite massive viewership drop

                CEO Jeff Shell laments 'a little bad luck and this drumbeat of negativity'

                Through five days of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, NBC’s average primetime audience of 15.2 million viewers is down 47% from Rio in 2016 and 57% from London in 2012. The opening ceremony, delayed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, drew 16.7 million viewers for NBC on Friday, the smallest audience for the network broadcast since the 1988 Seoul Games.

                https://www.foxnews.com/media/nbc-bo...ics-profitable

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                • Do the viewership ratings only cover live viewing? I have been TiVoing everything (search word "Olympics") and watching those events I like, while deleting others. Assuming there are more like me (God help us if there are!), this might be an undercount.

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                  • Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post

                    Actually in 1984 soccer was played in Boston also. Football matches are often played all over the country. Technically Tahiti is part of France, and this venue has been known for at least a couple years now - that was nothing new from NBC (although I can't hear that as I'm in Tokyo)

                    In 1908 London, some sailing events took place in Glasgow. In 2008 Beijing equestrian events were held in Hong Kong. In 1956 the entire equestrian competition was held in Stockholm, Sweden because of quarantine restrictions against horses entering Australia.
                    This might put some wind in the sails of those considering spreading the events out over a broader geographic area, although not necessarily as far as this. We discussed that in another thread.

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                    • To the doom-and-gloom nay-sayers: I sincerely hope you enjoyed these very successful Olympic Games.

                      Should you need a new focus, you may certainly criticize Florida's response to Covid - I do see dark days ahead.

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                      • All in the past....

                        Looking forward to my seats in the 2nd row on the middle of the homestretch next year....

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                        • Originally posted by Atticus View Post
                          To the doom-and-gloom nay-sayers: I sincerely hope you enjoyed these very successful Olympic Games.

                          Should you need a new focus, you may certainly criticize Florida's response to Covid - I do see dark days ahead.
                          And the Obama birthday party, while you're at it, with its sophisticated crowd.
                          You there, on the motorbike! Sell me one of your melons!

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                          • Originally posted by Conor Dary View Post
                            All in the past....
                            Looking forward to my seats in the 2nd row on the middle of the homestretch next year....
                            Meet ya there!!

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                            • Originally posted by Atticus View Post
                              Meet ya there!!
                              You veterans of big meets: I have found over the years that the best seat for an NFL game is my couch/recliner. The stadiums are huge, crowded, noisy, people in your row up and down, up and down getting beer/concessions, sometimes the weather is crappy, etc...and after a while I realized all the $$ shelled out for the in-person experience left me wanting more.

                              Is the T&F experience that much better in person? Of course I've been to HS and College meets, and my daughter's Regional and State meets (Texas, for size comparison) but I don't know how that compares to a big, professional meet.
                              You there, on the motorbike! Sell me one of your melons!

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by scottmitchell74 View Post

                                You veterans of big meets: I have found over the years that the best seat for an NFL game is my couch/recliner. The stadiums are huge, crowded, noisy, people in your row up and down, up and down getting beer/concessions, sometimes the weather is crappy, etc...and after a while I realized all the $$ shelled out for the in-person experience left me wanting more.

                                Is the T&F experience that much better in person? Of course I've been to HS and College meets, and my daughter's Regional and State meets (Texas, for size comparison) but I don't know how that compares to a big, professional meet.
                                Now that many of the championship and DL meets are covered with multiple video streams with concurrent field events, one could certainly argue that being there is not better than armchair viewing.

                                But I have to say that all serious track fans owe it to themselves to make it to Eugene at some point in their lives to experience the new temple of track & field. When full attendance is allowed the Hayward magic will be back, and the seating, especially in the lower bowl, is a great spectator experience.

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