22 August 2008

Olympics and related discussions.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics has been the best performance of India ever with a medal haul of 1 Gold and 2 Bronze. Apart from the results there have been many discussions in sidelines. Can India Host Olympics, Who is the best athlete etc ?

Can India Host Olympics ?
According to a Businessweek article there are three major hurdles
- The country's pathetic performance in Olympiads.
- There is the issue of upgrading the infrastructure on time in a fractious democracy.
- Indian voters have become inclined to driving incumbent governments out of power.

Olympic Telecast on DD sports.
Last Saturday evening I was glued to my TV to watch signature event of the Olympics i.e 100 meters sprint. It was an horrible experience to watch the telecast on DD sports. The Hindi commentator didn't had presence of mind. When Usain Bolt created world record by clocking 9.69 seconds, the commentator shouted Olympic record. Even in semis the commentator was not aware that Tyson Gray, one of the favorites to win the gold model, failed to qualify for finals.

Michael Phelps v/s Usain Bolt
Who is the greatest athlete of current Olympics. Should we evaluate a athlete only on medal count ? Because there will more events in swimming than other disciplines. Anand says in his newly launched blog that there should not be any comparison.
Bolt recently told to media
Phelps is fastest in the water, I am fastest on the ground!!, So you can't really compare

Cricket v/s Olympics
It has become a big debate, whether it is time in India to give importance to other sports w.r.t investment ? Not an easy question to answer. Manish discusses about this in his Desigiri blog. My opinion is that Cricket is a game and most of the Olympic disciplines are sports. Generally entertainment quotient will be more for Games. What would people like to see on TV? Yuvraj scoring 6 sixes in a over OR Abhinav Bindra shooting a target from 10 meters ? So I feel there will be more viewers for Games and hence more investment. Also we have discussed several times ... why so many follow cricket in India ? because only 8-9 nations play cricket at professional level. Chances of India getting to top are more :) Same cannot said about Football where we are 150+ in FIFA ranking.

DNA factor in sports.
I was wondering about this for last few days.
All finalists of 100 meters sprint were Afros! Is it something to with DNA ? My curiosity was quenched by an article which came in TOI yesterday. Some exceprts from it.
  • There's no white man world's most exclusive club — who have ever run the 100m dash in less than 10 seconds. All 64 members of this club, led by Usain Bolt, are black!
  • In 200m, only 37 runners have ever finished below 20 seconds, and 35 of them are black.
  • In the middle distance races of 400, 800 and 1,500 metres, you may find a few whites.
  • But in the long distance endurance races like 5,000 and 10,000 metres, again there are no whites among those holding the top 50 timings.
  • In events that involve sheer strength, like shot put, discus, javelin and hammer throw, the situation is exactly the opposite. There is not a single black in the top 50 records in hammer throw and javelin, while there is only one black each in shot put and discus.
  • The association of skin colour with a genetic structure suited for athletics has not been established. This is more so because among the black athletes, there are two very distinct categories — those from East Africa, who dominate long distance running, and those of West African ancestry who dominate sprints. Most athletes from the Caribbean and North America belong to the latter category as their ancestors were taken to the New World as slaves between the 15th and 19th centuries.
  • All elite Kenyan and Ethiopian runners have grown up in locations that are up to 2,500 meters above sea level. Among the Kalenjin people in the Western Highlands of Kenya, people run practically all their lives, starting from going to school.
  • [source]

    Not only DNA and physiology .. but also psychology matters.
    The TOI article which I have referred above also mentions.
    Gertrud Pfister, professor, department of exercise & sports, University of Copenhagen points out that even motivation, the way of thinking and orientation are important in determining performance. "In some societies, like India, with a more contemplative orientation, physical skills and sporting performance do not seem so important".


    1. Good Topics Shande! Keep it up. Rang De Basanthi poster edited with Olympics logo is good too :).

      I have a question like does performances in Olympics matter for hosting it. It does not make any sense. But the thing is that hosting nation more often tops the medal tally.


    2. Hi Raveesh, thanks for the complements.
      U are right .. the medal haul of the hosts will be more usually. Greece had medal haul of 6-6-4 in Athens Games, but in current Beijing Olympics as of now their tally is 0-0-2. A huge difference!