Saturday, August 4, 2012

I Didn’t Know That

This is the Olympic edition of "I Didn't Know That."  To my knowledge there haven't been any other editions but anyway.

I didn’t know that…
  • you can come to the Olympics and be on your country’s rowing team without knowing much of anything about rowing!  Mr. Issaka was the single scull entrant from Niger.  He began his rowing career three months ago, training in an old fishing boat.  Last week was the first time he had ever been in an Olympic scull.  He came in last but had a cheering crowd behind him all the way.


  • there are about 30 miles of roadway in London called ‘Games Lanes’ to allow athletes to reach the venues.  However, as with so many good ideas, there’s been a bit of confusion about who can drive on the special lanes and when.  Cab drivers are especially miffed, citing a terrible downturn in ridership because they have to take longer {read: more costly} routes.  Apparently these lanes are often mostly empty.

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  • it is really really hard to be an Olympic TV commentator and come up with enough relevant things to say to fill all of that air time. This must be true because they say things like “Ph*lps has to swim faster than all eight of those guys to win” or “They just need to get that ball in the goal.” But I do think the familiar voices of those gymnastics, swimming, diving and track commentators is strangely soothing.  Maybe that’s why I haven’t quite gotten used to Ryan this year.

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  • that Olympic athletes would ever try NOT to win.  But that’s exactly what eight badminton players from China, S. Korea and Indonesia did in order to get a better ‘seed’ in the elimination phase of the competition.  The women, including China’s top-ranked player who has super-star status at home, were disqualified and sent home.


  • that badminton is a sport most Americans associate with gym-class rejects or that it’s called “feather hair ball” in Mandarin.

  • that badminton wasn’t spelled B-A-D-M-I-T-T-E-N.  Minton?  Really?  Is that also how you pronounce it?  Have I been saying it wrong all these years of my gym-class reject life?

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