10 August 2008

Olympics 2

I love the US coverage of the Olympics. You can see almost anything and anyone you want. MSNBC, USA, Oxygen...they all have different sports and different perspectives. Yesterday by flipping amongst those channels I saw equestrian events (yea!), fencing, swimming, volleyball, beach volleyball (Russia's first two-woman team vs. Australia)...

When watching in the UK, I got to see rowing. ROWING. The same race over and over...because that's where they medalled. (sp?) Really. The Olympic games continued, but we'd get to "have another look at" the. same. race. that we'd seen over. and. over.

(Language note: Things that Americans take--a shower, a walk, a look, a nap, etc.--Brits have. Interesting, huh? I think it all goes back to the British empire and the sense of ownership that gave. Americans are more active, conquering the wilderness and taming the frontier. We're a younger country and it's reflected in our speech.)

Even if you're only following the primetime US medal contenders, you get to see a wider range of sports and more competitors.

Team handball and boxing have been very big on the Russian channel, Sport. (Seriously, I do have questions about the sports that are in the Summer Olympics. Handball? Beach volleyball? Come on.)

The women's gymnastics qualifier is on live right now (on Russian tv). This round has (I think) Romania, China, Spain, Venezuela, and Canada. Guess who the Russian sport channel are covering to the exclusion of everyone else. China. I would've thought we'd get to see Romania...The only way I know Canada is even in this round is that I heard the announcer in the background. Interesting...

I was encouraged to hear the way the Chinese crowd and teammates cheered on a fallen gymnast. If you read this post, you'll remember thet Russian audience that would have nothing to do with skaters once they'd fallen. There were no encouraging cheers, no rooting for them to overcome the mistake and finish the routine. It really was powerful.

In the book Two Worlds of Childhood, Bronfenbrenner notes that one of the most commonly used disciplinary methods used by Russian mothers (it was in the Dr. Spock equivalent here) is withdrawl of affection. I've seen this and it's so much more, much deeper, much...colder than just ignoring an unwanted behavior. And, that seems to be the way they cheer for their athletes.

Also interesting was that once the Chinese gymnast fell I got to see Romania on floor and Hungary on beam.

(There must be a group competing right now who aren't with a team, but are wanting to qualify for individual competition.)

Final parenthetical supposition proved correct by the following diagram showing mixed groups three and four in the first subdivision:

Off to take a shower before subdivision two starts in half an hour. Wonder if and who we'll see on Russian television...


Cindy said...

Hi Kate,

Interesting Olympics coverage you're getting there. But, what caught my attention most....mention of Urie Bronfenbrenner. I just finished two courses this summer where Bronfenbrenner's Bioecological Theory was a major focus. I acutally dreamed of Bronfenbrenner for two months (sad, I know). This is cracking me up!! Hopefully now my dreams will be occupied by hot guys competing in the Olympics.

Enjoy the Games.


Kay B said...

I love watching the Olympics too! I don't know why, I don't watch these sports at any other time. I think it is just so cool all the cultural coming-togetherness. I know it is a bit head-in-the-clouds idea, but I still like to watch. I absolutely loved the opening ceremonies!

PS, I'm back to my blog after a summer-vacation.

Tina in CT said...

After the Winter Olympics, I suffer from Olympic withdrawal. In the Summer Olympics, I especially enjoy the gymnastics and diving. I also enjoy watching just about all the sports even though I never watch them during other times.