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Everything posted by plusbrilliantsexploits

  1. Trump's endorsement may very well be the kiss of death for the Los Angeles bid. Surely, the IOC doesn't want to have its brand tarnished by any kind of association with The Donald...
  2. I can totally see the 2030 Asian Games within India's capacity, especially if Modi gets re-elected to a second term as Prime Minister. But the proof is in the pudding, and only if India satisfactorily deals with the big corruption/mismanagement elephant in the room will it be deemed a much more suitable and serious contender for the Summer Olympics. New Delhi remains India's best bet, so any improvements have to be happen in the country's capital - notably on infrastructure, crime (esp against women) and environmental issues.
  3. Completely ignorant here, but couldn't Vancouver host the Commonwealth Games as well?
  4. I will never forget the extinguishing of the flame at Sydney 2000 - especially when the military aircraft "took" the flame with it. Just wow!
  5. It seems that there has been a nuanced shift in terms of remembrance by the IOC. A couple of days ago, I read an article in the Jerusalem Post in which this issue was discussed - basically, Bach seems to have gotten the fact that the IOC cannot just pretend that Munich never happened. Hence, the space of remembrance created in the Olympic Village (which was praised by the widows of the Munich 11, Ankie Spitzer being among them) and maybe this "Saudades" segment. However, the latter may just be a continuation of the section of the "Abide by Me" remembrance section which was musically accompanied by Emeli Sandé during the London 2012 closing ceremony. That said, the IOC regards the Munich 11 as the third rail of international sport: 1. Acknowledging them would be (unjustifiably, but still) be seen as taking sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict, replete with threats of boycotts etc. Then again, that would make Middle Eastern countries look like terrorist sympathizers. In this regard, I think Rogge missed a beat at Salt Lake 2002. A segment honouring the Munich 11 could have been placed right in the Salt Lake OC. Who could have seriously resisted in the post-9/11 revulsion against terror? An opportunity missed. 2. Bach is the Avery Brundage of the 21st century - sans the rabid anti-Semitism and fascist sympathies - in his insistence on sport being apolitical. That's bogus and ridiculous. He spoke about a "united Brazil" standing behind the Olympic Games, when it was the exact opposite. He didn't mention doping, didn't chastise Russia and generally took a low profile. It is also interesting that he didn't make himself available for one-on-one interviews - even Rogge made a tour of the TV studios in 2008 and dropped by German TV for a 15-minute sitdown. Yes, much of it was boilerplate, but still better than Bach's self-imposed aloofness from the media. Then again, he seems to have a particular beef with German broadcasters - since they didn't just blindly nod to every one of his initiatives. 3. Dealing with the Munich 11 problem would force the IOC to take a stand on other issues too: what about human rights violations in Darfur? Why isn't Syria excluded from the IOC? Why force Kuwait and (at Sochi) India into Independent Olympic Athlete status over comparable technicalities, whilst failing to kick out Russia and forcing all NOCs to have anti-doping regimen in place and giving unqualified access, at any time, every time, everywhere, to all WADA examiners? The Munich 11 issue is one that is easy to address: It's not as if the IOC personally handed the hand grenades to the Black September terrorists. Much of the planning by West Germany was naive and lacking in security expertise. The only disgraceful thing about the IOC's behaviour at the time was Brundage and his unbelievable comparison with the Rhodesian exclusion from the Games. But the IOC's continued silence is cowardice vis-à-vis the Arab NOCs which would prefer that their disgraceful behaviour (they refused to have their flags lowered on the day of the memorial service, when Germany and the rest of the world were in mourning) remain glossed over as well. Given Mr Bach's own connections into the Middle East (and as an active member of a couple of lobbying organizations etc), this is not really a surprise - yet quite lamentable.
  6. Thanks for sharing your impressions of Rio 2016 (and everything that led up to it) with us - I'm glad you got to enjoy this unique event up-close and am sure that I speak for many when I say that I wish you and your family very well!!
  7. Yeah, that does suck ever so slightly...
  8. The CAS just confirmed that the Russian delegation will NOT go to the Rio Paralympics: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/disability-sport/37165427 Looks like good old Tom's spiel about "individual athlete rights" has just been rejected by the highest arbitrary body in sport. So much for Dr Bach's mastery of sports law, then...
  9. Well, Phelps and Bolt were not necessarily the two I was thinking of here - but the most prominent icons, and I do know that German commentators have been expressing doubts about the anti-doping regimen in Jamaica: every single time a Jamaican athlete wins, the journos on the public broadcast channel feel that it's necessary to say "Well, that was rather impressive, but - and I have to mention this and don't intend to spoil the mood here - it is important to bear in mind that Jamaica has been criticized by the WADA for its lax verification of blood and urine samples", only to proceed to pay a hurried lip service to the presumption of innocence. It's the same routine whenever someone seems to have come out of nowhere or pulverizes a long-standing world record. It's become a tiresome and understandable routine at the time. I guess the commentators on our two public broadcasters (which still hold the rights via the EBU) cannot go all out and accuse Bolt, Phelps, Ledecky and Hozszu of doping (thus, biting the hand that feeds your ratings and advertising slots), but they are essentially doing it via the backdoor with a "wink wink, nod nod" style. In other cases, the past of exposed drugs cheats makes such a disclaimer almost necessary - for instance, in the case of the female walking champion from China or many a weightlifter, or Yuliya Efimova etc. Needless to say, that cynicism about sport also contributed to the Hamburg bid's defeat in the referendum and lower ratings than in previous years (rather than the proliferation of private TV networks, which also existed in 1992 and 1996). That, and the moralizing and ignorant way in which German broadcasters frequently tend to cover foreign societies in general. Finally, it's becoming clearer that the cynicism in Germany has become so widespread that many Germans find it hard to immediately accept scientifc explanations for why a certain athlete just has a natural advantage. Funnily enough, I never heard any such accusations being made about German athletes (except for Kathrin Krabbe and her cohort, but that was way back in the 1990s and seen as part of East Germany's sordid legacy of state-authorized doping) and I feel that there is a fair element of moralizing jingoism (not necessarily in a xenophobic fashion, but in a "look at us, we are oh-so-clean and we would never, ever cheat" way) among some of us Germans as well. It also becomes too easy an excuse to justify sub-par performances by Germany in track & field, and swimming.
  10. In principle, I agree with you and you're absolutely right about the presumption of innocence. That said, recent scandals (what not with blood doping/EPO/Fuentes), trends in medicine (gene manipulation to eliminate certain enzymes or expand oxygen supply), frequent revelations of prior heroes being felled by drugs tests many years later and the general corrupt demeanour of the IOC (the Russian doping scandal being the latest instance) and the IFs (IAAF, FIFA only being the most blatant examples of networks of corruption), have contributed to the mood in Germany (as well as the Netherlands) having become one of pragmatic cynicism towards the IOC. The substantive gaps in the anti-doping regimen in many countries which have produced interesting athlete trajectories, right up to sensational world records - many of which have been pulverized in a manner that makes certain achievements suspicious. If you have nothing to hide, then why not invest in and conduct rigorous doping tests to remove all doubt?
  11. Talking of gymnastics - did I miss something or has Romania suddenly vanished off the map for that sport? They used to dominate women's gymnastics for such a long time! Positive surprises: The United Kingdom scoring second. Bit of a satisfying feeling to have two democracies leading the medals table for once - though I'm sure China will pump as much money as possible to retake #2 spot during Tokyo 2020 - especially bearing the historic rivalry with Japan in mind. New Zealand did very well for a country its size and population! Fiji's gold medal was a highlight. Yes, Denmark did really well - and Jamaica's athletes did very well for a nation their size too. Japan's performance bodes well for 2020! Puerto Rico winning its first gold medal was great, even though it was a German player who got defeated in the tennis finals. Canada had an awesome games, if I'm not mistaken - so kudos to all Canadians! Negative surprises and results: India actually regressed to a silver and bronze each (down from its previous medal haul in London by four). However, quite a bit of potential, what with several fourth-place finishes. Much work will need to be done in order for India to become an even average sports nation. Also, what happened to Australia's swimmers?
  12. Totally agree with you on the audience behaviour and the IOC's descent into ever steeper depths of corruption and tone-deafness. Ditto for Germany and a good candidate for 2024 (give me LA or Paris any day - Budapest won't happen and, due to lack of economic stability, neither will Rome). Also agree with you on the asterisk that has to be placed next to athlete performances these days, especially when they involve WRs. Tokyo should be an awesome Olympic Games, precisely organized, with a rich culture (and great food!) on offer and, so it appears, Japan will be a credible contender for the Top 5 next time around. Germany? One day, hopefully, maybe, possibly...let's hope for the best!
  13. Not yet, but as the head of the IAAF, I sincerely doubt that Bach will be able to exclude him forever...El Moutawakel is not gonna be the IOC President. She's Moroccan, Muslim and a woman, three strikes against her in an old boys club still dominated by elderly and middle-aged white males from First World nations. and of a primarily Christian denomination. It's unfair, but the IOC hasn't sufficiently changed in its membership structure to give any reason to prioritize an El Moutawakel candidacy over Coe's. Both were athletes, but Coe has the added power base of the IAAF and has actually organized a stunningly successful Summer Olympics. And whilst she has been a vice president of the IOC, her time as chairwoman of the 2016 Evaluation Commission isn't exactly a strike in her favour. Don't get me wrong - it'd be awesome to see a woman from a Muslim-Arab country be the IOC President, I just don't think that the Committee has become structurally liberal enough to merit such an expectation. I think Lord Coe has proven during his time as London 2012 bid leader that he is able to charm, coax and persuade his way into the hearts and minds of any stakeholder he needs to get what he wants.
  14. I have just finished watching the Closing Ceremony, which I had DVR'ed, as it would have been in the middle of the night to watch it live. The verdict? Actually, a very good one: CONDITIONS: I can't remember a recent Olympic Games being affected by stormy gusts and major rainshowers on the day of one of its Opening or Closing Ceremonies. The weather having turned so sour didn't exactly help, but considering the circumstances, I genuinely feel that the organizers made it work very well. Apparently, there was a power cut in the minutes, but it didn't seem to have a major effect on the ceremony itself. Of course, had such a power failure occurred during the competitions themselves, there would have been backups etc (to my knowledge the IOC Technical Manual mandates those), but it would have been embarrassing. Considering that it was the end of the Games and that it was resolved swiftly, its effect was negligible. COUNTDOWN: Quite good. Good tribute to Brazil's famous aviator and very colourful projections! VISUAL ELEMENTS: The Tokyo one was good, the Olympic Channel element looked tacky, jarring and forced. CULTURE & MUSIC: I feel there were more emotionally resonant moments in terms of Brazilian music in this ceremony. The song sung by Mariene de Castro during the extinguishing of the Olympic Flame was beautiful and full of soul, and quite reminiscent of the sentiment of "saudade" (I hope I got this one right!). Obviously, the samba schools, Izabel Goulart and Renato Sorriso were great and reminiscent of the happy way of life many of us associate when we hear the word "Brazil". Truly energetic, visually appealing and projecting happiness. ANTHEMS: Lacklustre, with the notable exception of the Japanese anthem. What was up with those kids only delivering a sub-par rendition of the Olympic Hymn and a mediocre singing of the Brazilian anthem (which was done far better in the Opening Ceremony). The Japanese anthem? Serene, humble, beautiful. ATHLETES PARADE: Too long, too chaotic and too disjointed. Could have been organized more efficiently. I get that athletes want to celebrate, but with a more effective crowd management plan, it'd be possible to cut down the time on these ceremonies even more. SPEECHES AND OFFICIALS: Nuzman was on speed, and clearly is high on his own supply. Bach was utterly cringeworthy and narcissistic, starting with his n-th introduction as the "Épee fencing champion of Montréal 1976" (conveniently omitting the fact that he won his gold as part of the German team, not as an individual). His attempts to speak Brazilian Portuguese reminded me of Samaranch's attempts to ingratiate himself with so many audiences in Host Countries. He milked the Refugee Team for all the publicity he could get, which I found a bit in poor taste. And the Olympic Cup? Struck me as a major condescension towards the people of Rio de Janeiro - after so many financial resources invested, so many residential areas levelled to make way for stadiums and so much corruption having gone around in the run-up to the event, all the Rio citizens get is a worthless cup? Sharing in the profits of the marketing programmes and TV rights would be a much more meaningful way of saying "Muito obrigado". "You will remain in our hearts" is an easy and facile phrase to utter when you're not the one footing the infrastructure and stadium bill. Besides that, there was not much else he said. He didn't address doping, pretended that everything went swimmingly and just kept telling Brazilians what they wanted to hear. Forgettable. Gracefully, Michel Temer stayed away this time around and averted the inevitable boos he would have gotten. I noticed that Eduardo Paes, Rio's mayor, struggled with many boos as well - maybe because of the fact that he has been preventing a thorough audit of the costs of the Games. Next up, the presentation of the Athletes Commission members: Most of the new members seem alright. Isinbayeva's elevation to the Commission is an embarrassment and once you looked carefully, she looked a bit bereft of her bravado. She only shook hands with the new Hungarian member and remained stony-faced otherwise. Clearly, she knows that the winds have shifted and that outside of "Mother Russia" she cannot expect the same universal acclaim she used to receive as a world-class pole vaulter. However, the fact that she got about 25% of the votes in a field of 16 candidates shows to me that there is a sufficiently large chunk of athletes who don't care about or even approve of doping. The volunteers were thanked over and over - and rightly so. They were the backbone of London 2012 and probably Rio 2016 as well. But surely, the committees should come up with something a bit more creative than flowers (though, mind you, flowers would have been great for the athletes during their medal presentations). TOKYO HANDOVER: Absolutely amazing! It's my self-imposed objective to travel to Japan to witness the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in person, and this presentation strengthened my resolve to actually do so. The greeting to the world in all kinds of languages was great, as was the red colour of the projected stadium floor giving way to transform into the rising sun of the Japanese flag. Additionally, I liked the very modern feel of the "ball passage" short, culminating in a self-ironic reference to Super Mario Brothers (kudos to Prime Minister Abe for being willing to turn in this performance, though not as striking as the one of the Queen next to Daniel Craig as 007). The sports icon figures were super-cool, as were other details: The kimono worn by the Governor of Tokyo looked gorgeous. The performance of the Japanese national anthem was awesome! Really looking forward to 2020! TIMING: If I'm not mistaken, this was one of the shortest Closing Ceremonies in recent memory. Around 2.5 hours? Quite impressive. VERDICT: A solid B+, actually better than the Opening Ceremony in so many ways - given that I'm no fan of CCs, this one was a pleasant surprise. It definitely benefited from the true heart, passion and love of life that many ordinary Brazilians embrace in their daily lives. It was colourful, lively and full of energy - maybe the pouring rain actually energized the cariocas even more to dig deep one last time! Either way, I liked it! I do chime with many here who indicated that Tokyo did a stellar job and left us wanting more.
  15. To be fair, I try to separate the Russian government and establishment from the Russian people. I've met a few of the latter, and they are perfectly like us, wanting the same things - good housing, great sport, a safe, secure future for their families and so on. The problem is that many of them have been raised to believe that the 1990s were a time of chaos, in which the order of the Soviet era disappeared and Russia was made look weak internationally. Rather than seeing him as the autocrat he is, they actually feel Putin has restored Russia's standing in the world. The problems with semi-alcoholic Yeltsin et al precipitated the fall of democracy. I would, however, distinguish between Putin before his first presidential term and his current term. In the first, he seemed pragmatic, diplomatic and went easy on the Cold War rhetoric. Sure, it seemed clear that he was no clean-cut democrat, but someone we could do business with (and yes, despite Chechnya and South Ossetia). In hindsight, that may have been too optimistic. Anyhow, this is far too complex to explain in one post. Suffice to say that Putin is the latest manifestation of the Russian need for security and protection - harkening back to the days when the country first signed a non-aggression pact and then was attacked in a brutal war of conquest by Nazi Germany. Hence, the post-war expansion into Eastern Europe and the aggressive foreign policy during the Cold War years. Thankfully, Gorbachev's liberal tendencies and Soviet horrific economy in the 1980s enabled change. Alas, it was all for naught. I did like their rhythmic gymnastics team: They performed beautifully, and I think it may very well be one of the few sports which they may not have tainted with state-organized doping. As for Isinbayeva: She's a douche. Fortunately, she is only in office for as long as her mandate on the Athletes Commission lasts. By the time it expires, I suspect a new IOC President will have taken charge anyway. His name may very well be Lord Coe, and then the game's up.
  16. Whilst I have been critical about the Rio games and am on record as stating that I'd prefer them to fail in order to trigger a root-and-branch reform of the Olympic Movement (just like the failures of the 1972, 1976 and 1980 paved the way for a new era - albeit under Mr Samaranch and with incalculable consequences that last to this day), I think that Rio did what it could do within the capacity that it possessed. The Brazilian people, including the volunteers (I'm sure there are truant volunteers elsewhere, too) deserve praise for making the best of a bad situation. That said - yes, Rio struck me as warmer than the perfectionist show of lights, sound and ill-considered legacy-free buildings approved by the Communist Party mandarins in Beijing. I still remember the thinly veiled nationalism and militarism on display during segments of the Opening Ceremony. Despite my misgivings, I prefer an imperfect and heart-filled Rio to Beijing's soulless, deferential ultra-perfectionism. The Brazilian politicians (including Rio's mayor) responsible for the delivery of sky-high promises and expectations (for instance, regarding housing and opportunities for the poor) are an entirely different kettle of fish altogether. The problems were visible prior to and well after Rio got the nod from the IOC session in Copenhagen: Would they have justified a move away from Rio and the transition to a new host city or an emergency host? That's the crux of the whole issue, and comparing the possible candidates that would have been on offer, I'm not sure that any of them would have been problem-free: London delivered an amazing Olympic Games, but the shift towards post-Games legacy mode (including the dismantling of facilities) would have rendered the British capital highly unlikely as an emergency host. Especially with a fiery debate re: Brexit splitting the UK down the middle, I'm genuinely unsure whether Brits would have been as enthusiastic about a 2016 re-hosting. So, that possibility would have already been remote. Each of Rio's competitors in the 2016 race had problems that, in hindsight, would have posed their own challenges. Madrid is the capital of a great sports country, Spain, which also finds itself in the midst of a constiutional crisis and economic problems due to its Eurozone membership (the latter factor will likely doom Rome's bid for 2024), may very well have had other things on its mind that hosting the IOC. Chicago? Sure, technically (in terms of security, technology and institutional experience with Olympics in 1984 and 1996) probably quite capable of hosting the Games, but there was a substantial lack of support even back in the days of the Daley administration trying to push through Chicago. Add to that the political tensions, a highly contentious open-seat presidential election, the reluctance of US federal and state governments to foot the bill for any Olympic Games in the United States and the racial undertones of many social debates, and you would have had the recipe for some problems. Debilitating? Probably not, and I think that, on balance, Chicago would have hosted memorable Olympic Games, with a reasonable level of technical skill. Doha? Not so much. The temperature issue would have nipped any application in the bud, but let's suppose the men in Lausanne had picked Doha: first, you would have had universal revulsion, comparable to the dubious choice for Qatar 2022. Second, the inevitable question of security would have arisen: Does the IOC really want to host Summer Olympics in such an instable part of the world. The rhetoric about the IOC being a global movement is all warm and fuzzy, but when the chips come down, we all prefer a location not a flight hour away from war, mass murder and ecclesiastical fascism. Third, the temperature issue would have rendered Doha in the traditional summer window a very daring choice (and that's not meant in a good way). Finally, what about such things like gay rights, well, human rights in general - and comparably trivial issues like purchasing alcohol, dancing, dress for the athletes. Would there be exemptions for female athletes in terms of their dress? Finally, Qatar (with all due respect) has no Olympic tradition (trying hard as they might to buy athletes from poorer countries and have them acquire citizenship, a troubling trend btw) and made no notable contributions to the Olympic Movement. So yeah, a non-starter. That leaves Tokyo, and the IOC consciously went against it. Or rather, it decided to go with the New Frontier argument: Rio wasn't perfect, and unlike some of my fellow forum members (many of whom I like and respect), I don't think that Rio was anywhere near the standard for a skilled organization of the Olympic Games. Conversely, it was not an utter disaster either and several issues were exaggerated. The media also failed to take the opportunity to really discuss the substantive issues (the sources of the excessive scope of the Olympic Games, the old-boy networks preventing an effective fight against doping). The Brazilian people are not to be blamed for this - but their leaders are, as is an IOC that has failed to help fund the infrastructure that it demands of its Host Cities. I agree with Rols that the Summer Olympics have a secure future for the 2024 and possibly the 2028 round as well. The Winter Olympics, however, may need to return to the Lillehammer formula in order to move away from the urban cold of Torino and the gigantism of Sochi. Here's hoping Pyeongchang isn't too excessive.In the long run, the IOC needs to surely reform in order to make sure that public disillusionment with its scandals, condescending behaviour towards Host Countries, corruption & doping in sport, and mollycoddling of dictatorships does not start affecting the viabiity of the Olympic Games. We will see a successful US bid (and with France's security and economic issues increasing under President Hollande, this may very well already happen in time for the 2024 decision) and, if we're lucky, a great bid from Canada (Vancouver, Toronto?). I'd like to say that Germany could be hosting in the next generation - but given our public scepticism and revulsion at the IOC, I really have my doubts. Northern European countries like Denmark etc seem too small under the current IOC programme, and we can safely discount the likes of authoritarian Hungary, Poland etc. If Southern Europe drifts ever-closer to economic crisis, what is left in the democratic world? New Zealand is too small; I'd like to see Australia re-host the Olympic Games, but I'm not sure how strong the taste for that is in Melbourne or Sydney; South Africa may be a country the IOC might be wary of after Rio, let alone India (which has wisely refrained from attempts to bid and is only now getting on course for real change). So, unless the IOC changes, it may very well have to arrange itself with authoritarian regimes - which would expose the Games to abuse and instrumentalization by dictators. Surely, that would be the long-term threat to the summers after 2024/28. That's why the IOC needs to start acting now to downsize the Olympics, go easy on the self-referential celebration, contribute to infrastructure funding and start paying its way to neutralize the arguments against the Olympic Games. Otherwise, the Olympic Movement will indelibly destroy a great product.
  17. The less said about that classless jerk called Ryan Lochte, the better...
  18. Well, to emulate an infamous chant from the otherwise shambolic Republican National Convention: "Lock him up, lock him up!!!"
  19. New Frontiers: Arise, Tokyo 2020! Obrigado Rio de Janeiro!

  20. Well done, Britain! With many warm congratulations from Germany!!
  21. I gotta concede, for all the criticisms of Rio that I've had, I will miss the opportunity to enjoy a breadth of world-class sports on a daily basis...well, only one and a half years until Pyeongchang 2018. In terms of "curing" post-Olympic nostalgia, I tend to watch Youtube videos of old Opening Ceremonies, sports documentaries or individual Olympic contests.
  22. Couldn't agree more. This crap contributed to everything that went wrong with the Olympic Movement in the past generation or so...
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