Sunday, August 10, 2008

Summer Olympics

Does anyone know why horse riding (technically Equestrian) is in the Olympics? Honestly this is not a sport. While the same could be said about gymnastics and diving, at least those take athletic skill of some sort. Equestrian on the other hand prefers that you compete well wearing a top hat.

The only reason I found this of course was due to and their streaming video of a ton of sports. The time zone difference of the games being in China, makes viewing hard, but the video viewer that nbc is offering is really cool. Not all sports are offered (swimming and volleyball are noticeably lacking) but it allows me to watch stuff like badminton and handball which would never be shown on tv.

The video player that nbc made works well (even on my slow internet connection), and really is only lacking a full screen mode. The other thing is it uses Microsoft's Silverlight. They have been trying to get people to download it and this may do the trick. I last downloaded a beta version of it, and was instructed to download a version 2.0 to view the video. Better still, it works fine in Firefox, which was a welcome surprise for me. No word yet if there is a working version for mac or linix, but I somehow doubt it. The other big surprise is the lack of advertisements. I'm not complaining, but if they wanted to place some adds between halfs instead of an empty field I really wouldn't hold it against them.

Right now I'm watching men's Field Hockey (Germany is up on China 2-1). I never knew that they even had field hockey for men. I watched part of a woman's game the other day and even that was far different from field hockey on the high school level. While they still use sticks that are way to small, the fact that they play on turn rather than grass, means that they can hit the ball a long ways, so the game plays more like soccer than the hackfest that it turns into when played on real grass. The men are getting almost constant breakaways on this fast surface despite the wetness, if this were real grass the entire field would just be mud.

I also saw woman's team archery yesterday (why is that a team sport?). The Italian team lead by Pia Carmen Lionetti (who is kindof cute) beat Chinese Taipei (which is what they say for Taiwan in these olympics). I'm glad I can get the oppertunity to watch this type of stuff, and to be honest this is what I expect all tv to be like in the future.


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