beijing2008.jpg I suppose I should say something about the Olympics. Like many of you, I’ve been watching, some. I won’t comment on the medal standings and the Americans’ fondness for counting either gold medals or total medals, whichever works better for them. Being Canadian, medal standings is not a particularly good topic at the moment anyway… I guess we’re storing it up for the home showing in two years. Our athletes are actually doing very well… breaking records, setting personal bests and all that… but the level of competition is really strong so far. I do have to hand it to the American men’s relay swimmers, though. I think they’d all had a cup of tea by the time the rest of the field arrived. Well, not tea, being American, but probably a Starbuck’s half-caf grande ventichino machioso with a single scoop, extra froth. With a Joel Osteen quote on the cup.

Alright, medals… NYT has the best-ever map of medal standings, including past games. But I guess it’s worth mentioning that Canada does have one athlete who has beat out all competition to take top of the podium — in the list of hottest athletes in Beijing, alexandra-orlando.jpg according to WebTVHub. Hey, it isn’t trashy — The Independent covered it, saying that we’ve reached the age when a gold medal in glamour does count for something. Turns out 21-year-old rhythmic gymnast Alexandria Orlando (just call her Alex) gets the honours.

beijingwatercube.jpg But isn’t that “Water Cube” something else? What an amazing piece of architecture. I mean, even if all those aerial shots do turn out to be from a sound stage in Hong Kong.

I watched a bit of the NBC coverage of the women’s gymnastics… it’s different than the CBC coverage. When the Chinese gymnasts would pull off a good routine or execute some manoever beautifully, the anchors would say something like, “Oh, that’s not good!” (for the US-ian team, implied). The Canadian coverage in a similar situation would instead have comments like, “Oh, that’s beautiful execution! The Canadian team will be seeing their medal hoped flicker out, but this is such a good performance, they really deserve full credit.” Meanwhile, the US-ian cameraman was getting in the face of the near-tears gymnast who just came off the beam and was clearly blaming herself for a lost gold medal for the team, burying her face in her hands. I guess they didn’t get the hint? Lots of pressure on those young kids though. I’m starting to think that in Canada, a silver Olympic medal is a silver Olympic medal, whereas in the USA, a silver Olympic medal is not a gold Olympic medal.

On the other hand, the CBC coverage includes reports by Sook-Yin Lee, host of DNTO (which I’d say has pretty much sucked since she took it over from Nora Young). Now, I’m very happy for her finally being able to connect with her Chinese roots on this, her first trip to China. But when she began listing misconceptions of China and saying how they’re not true, she hit a new low in journalism. She provided filmed evidence that China is a clean place, showing images of people cleaning and sweeping up on the streets. Uh, yeah. Right. You’re filming the streets of Beijing and related tourist areas during the Olympics… and you figure it’s like that all the time? With 1.3 Billion people to employ, you can believe some were tasked to spruce the place up for the visiting Westerners. You can also believe they’ll be tasked elsewhere when the event is done and the Westerners go home. I just rolled my eyes. Then later, I told my friend who just got back from China a month ago. I think he rolled his eyes as well. I had the same reaction to her assessment that lack of freedom in China is a misconception… I don’t think she dug very deep for that one, particularly when praying gets you deported, activism on behalf of Darfur gets your visa revoked, and a Tibetan name will get you a revoked visa, a 16-hour interrogation, and then deportataion. And these examples are if you hold a Western passport. She probably knows nothing about China’s arms trade.

Oh, and I hear that Milli Vanilli has found a replacement for Rob Pilatus and is trying to book the opening ceremonies for the next Olympic Games. ;^)

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