Steve Hooker the Olympic highlight for Harms

Harms set tongues wagging with his comment on Offsiders that Steve Hooker was his Olympics highlight, saying instead of withdrawing with “injury”, Hooker faced his demons in the glare of the world spotlight, showing a “magnificent nobility”.

Some words from Harms:

I knew this choice of moment was FWD (fraught with danger). And the two criticisms raised by you Pam and you Dips were also raised in twitter and email converstaions after I mentioned it on Offsiders.

No, I was not trying to be clever.

It was my genuine emotional response.

As I hoped to explain in the Emily Seebohm piece I am interested in how the moment is received and how it is understood. What it means. And not just in sporting terms.

Victory is such a simple symbol. Yes, Bolt: brilliant. All of the winners.

But there are so many stories.

I loved the 5000 m because of Farah. Simply brilliant. Skill. Determination. Intelligence. Some good fortune (the on-heels moments could have been disastrous). But I also loved that event because the first dozen runners did what they did because that course of action gave them what they thought was the best chance of winning the event. Some kicked at the 600. Some at the bell. Some hung on until the bend. Some came at him in the last 70. But he was the victor, a true victor. He defeated his rivals in the true sense of the word. Farah is the simple story. The other stories are there to be observed and considered and valued as well – as stories. We always celebrate the win – that is what we strive for. That’s what makes sport sport. No striving and sport is meaningless. But how do we understand the more common experience – loss?

Hooker certainly didn’t conquer his demons but I would like to think he didn’t run away from them. I relate to the struggle element of that. As someone who has been unable to take the putter back from behind the golf ball I wonder why some of us become so consumed by self-doubt. And then I wonder how Hooker must have felt as the defending champion. What a huge fall.  (And I think he was entitled to be supported to defend his title.)

Imagine how he felt at the top of the runway. I don’t believe he was taking us for a ride.

Imagine how Ian Baker-Finch had to re-assess things – and has. I would love to talk with him.

Imagine the experienced writer hunched over the page. Paralysed. Not the pull yourself-together-and-just-get-on-with-it paralysis. But the I-cannot-do-this paralysis.

It happens to most of us, if not all. What if our strength and weakness are entwined?

People have experienced this and observed this forever.

Just a few thoughts.

 

 

Comments

  1. Just my natural pessimism, but I have the feeling this will be a “Shades of Montreal” Games. I thought there was a problem when they took on Terry Wallace as a coach.
    Go the Olympic Tigers!

  2. Andrew Starkie says:

    Very rude of our cyclists not to allow Mark Cavendish to win gold in the road race.

  3. Andrew Starkie says:

    Another thing: our 4x100m men’s relay team were punished by the sporting gods for their complacency. How will James M respond when he has to back up for the 100m individual event? Big test of character.

    On the ch 9 coverage, don’t know if I can cope with two weeks of Carl Stefanovic, James Brayshaw at the rowing and countless fillers, slow mo’s and commercial breaks.

  4. I agree AS, wouldn’t get out of his way so he could win Gold on his home turf. HIS HOME TURF! Disgusting behaviour by our blokes. (Perhaps he could have had a chat with Our Cathy about home Olympics pressure before he raced – that may have been more beneficial than a post-race whinge.)

  5. Andrew Starkie says:

    cyclists are a weird mob. A team sport yes, but when the chips are done, it’s all about the individual.

  6. Highlight for me so far has definitely been the men’s cycling road race (unfortunately I missed the women’s race). Stuart O’Grady’s gutsy effort in leading and organising the breakaway group was outstanding. His finish of sixth was an enormous effort.

    And even better, Cavendish didn’t win. Vinokourov’s victory was masterful.

  7. Mark Doyle says:

    The Olympic games is always a great sports festival. Unfortunately, we have to tolerate the garbage crass heroworship parochialism of the Australian media and particularly the ABC radio and TV, channel 9 and the Age newspaper. It is particlarly galling to hear people whinge that James Magnussen is blamed for the Australian swimming relay team not winning a gold medal; they swam a good race and the French team swam an excellent race to win the gold medal. It is also no surprise that Stuart O’Grady rode a good race in the cycling road race and Alexander Vinokourov rode an excellent race to win the gold medal. However, the whinging Australian media likes to be negative and report the whinging Cadel Evans, who claimed sickness and fatigue for not performing well and then spits the dummy and withdraws from the time trial event.
    The best events to watch at the Olympic games are team events such as Volleyball, Handball and badminton.

  8. Andrew Starkie says:

    Heroic effort by O’Grady – he shaped the road race which was a brilliant event. I spent the last two hours wanting to go to bed but couldn’t take my eyes off it.

    The media response to the men’s relay is ridiculous but not unexpected. You’d think J mag had killed someone. After midday today on ABC radio, some bloke from the Comm bank was interviewed and asked if they were considering pulling the ads featuring J Mag. Incredible!

    Hope Nick D’arcy goes well tonight. Something good must come from the disaster of the last few years.

    Ch9’s coverage is bad and our media is parochial but definitely no more than other countries. I lived through Euro 96 in LOndon. The media coverage was the most jingoistic and xenophobic I’ve ever seen. The build up to the semi against Germany was scary. The tabloids were recalling WW2 which of course whipped up hysteria. Hope I never see things get that bad here.

    I might be getting carried away here, but I believe Bernard Tomic should never play in the Games again. In his pre-match media conference he couldn’t even name his opponent, let alone anything about his game. He thought it was a big joke. Lleyton, sitting with him, glared at him. Naturally, Tomic was flogged in straight sets. This on the back of a first round exit from Wimbledon after which he admitted he hadn’t done the hardwork in preparation. Soon he will be complaining the media/public don’t like him (like the cops). He needs to grow up and appreciate the opportunities he has.

  9. Craig Down says:

    Andrew,

    I must admit that I’ve been enjoying Dwayne Russell (alongside Lucinda Green)
    at the equestrian.

    Barely says a word.

    CD

  10. David Downer says:

    Stark,

    I saw the Tomic presser too. Opponent disrespecting karma bit him on the lemonade big time.

    Weird sense of humour the boy. Tends to bellow out a rather pronounced goof-ball laugh prior to any evidence of a punchline. And then the punchline doesn’t arrive.

    Still a kid so I’ll cut him a little slack, but a lot of growing up to do. On the surface at least, behavioural comparisons between him and the Scud are uncanny.

    DD

  11. Andrew Starkie says:

    CD, really enjoying equestrian tonight. The cross country stuff is sensational. Cmon Aussie.

    DD, you’re nicer than me. His presser was disgusting and so disrespectful. Did you see lleyton’s face? He wanted to kill him.

    Go Roos and Saints!

  12. David Downer says:

    Stark, not cutting him slack re behaviour at the presser, but that there’s perhaps hope for him yet down the line and his attitude in general. Did not see Lley Lley’s reaction this time.

    The Equestrian is a fairytale setting. Feel like I’m back at Ascot walking up towards the course! I think it’s true one of the jumps is directly on the GMT line? – horse and rider leap from one side to the other! Happy Dwayno’s on hiatus over there. Brushed up on his equestrian homework on the flight over no doubt (like Slats at the diving).

    Now speaking of disgusting, continuing on with media/commentators, where shall we begin, how about…

    – M.Cowley (Fairfax)
    – R.Wilson (Foxtel)

  13. Stephanie Holt says:

    And Hewitt’s at least managed a first round win. I never really understood why the fans disliked him – there was often such evident respect (though never deference) to opponents and to the game’s institutions and traditions.

  14. Phantom says:

    This is our worst start to an Olympics since Montreal.

    It is un-Australian; heads should roll.

    The only cause I can think of is that bloody carbon tax.

  15. Stephanie, re Hewitt, I think it was because he was a Crows supporter.

  16. Andrew Weiss says:

    After reading the story about the 15 year old Lithuanian swimmer it is a wonder that the British have not said that she is one of them and that they have equalled the gold medal tally of Australia in the pool. Just look at their cricket team. Is there actually a native born Englishman in it.

    Biggest whinge of the game would have to be Cavendish blaming everyone else (including the Australians) bare his own teammates for not winning the road race.

    I must admit that i am so glad that i have got Foxtel to watch the games. All events live with no dodgy Olympic ads to interupt events. By the way how insulting is it to have that Nicholls bloke (a Pom) hosting Channel nines London Gold 2 hour wrap of each days events and trying to convince us how disappointing it is when Australia doesn’t win a medal. You can see the smirk on his face as he is saying it.

    Highlight for me so far happen last night watching the 58kg womens weightlifting. The antics and pumping of fists and shouting that occurs to help them lift these weights above their head had my wife and I in stitches especially the lass from Germany who looked a bit like an Ompa Lompa from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

  17. Andrew Starkie says:

    Emily Seebohm, silver medal winner, conducts an interview immediately postrace with G Hackett and cries because she feels she has let her parents and coach down. Not a hint of self pity shown by her. Actually, an interesting insight into the pressures felt by young athletes.

    She is then hauled into the ch9 studio to endure another interview with Leila McKinnon and her male side kick. They ask the usual questions before replaying the race and the Hackett interview. The camera goes to close-up on her reaction as she sits on the couch. Of course, she bursts into tears again. The interviewers can hardly contain their joy at this show of emotion and on cue call her mother in to join them. Naturally, she rushes in to comfort her daughter. The whole thing is a set up – a deliberate attempt to make Emily cry again. Nasty behaviour from ch9. But not unexpected.

    I gave up on the tv coverage last night and tuned into ABC digital radio coverage. It was quite good, they broadcast live from the hockey and rowing as ch 9 were replaying events from two days ago and showing countless slow-mo fillers.

  18. Didn’t see it Andrew. She wasn’t hit by any flying furniture was she?

    I can’t wait for the poncy commercial commentators to start some sensationalised witch hunt.

    PS, I think Lisel Jones is one of the truely great Australian Olympians and has a hot body.

  19. Skip of Skipton says:

    Belinda Snell sinking that three-pointer from beyond half way with less than a second on the clock to tie the game was crazy. They lost in overtime with their big units Jackson and Cambage fouled out by that stage.

    There was a jump at the cross-country on the meridian. It had east and west with arrows etc. That posh woman who commentates is always good value.

  20. The multiple channels on Foxtel make it much easier to avoid
    Channel 9’s coverage. It makes for some enjoyable Olympic
    channel-surfing.

    When Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen thrashed everyone in the
    heats of the Women’s 200m IM, Susie O’Neill alluded doping
    and said that China had a “history” of it. A disgraceful slur by
    O’Neill, she should be ashamed of herself.

    Stuart O’Grady’s performance has been my highlight thus far.

  21. Not looking forward to the post-games navel gazing: “Where did it all go wrong?”

  22. Does O’Neill have form in raising drug taking? I seem to recollect she accused another swimmer at a previous Olympics of cheating.

  23. Danielle says:

    Ladies, if you haven’t noticed him already check out Swimming Frenchman Camille Lacourt! Quality lucious!

  24. Phantom says:

    Non ma cherie Danielle. Il est n’est pas un spunkie homme. Il est un ozzie relay partie poopooper.

  25. Danielle says:

    In English please Phantom lol

  26. Andrew Starkie says:

    Don’t have foxtel. have turned down volumn on tv which I’ve been doing for years with footy coverage.

    ABC radio excellent as usual.

    Still seething over Emily Seebohn’s treatment.

    Have vowed to ignore media and concentrate on beauty of sport and the heroic performances all olympics produce.

  27. pamela sherpa says:

    The equestrian events are enjoyable because of the discipline and pure performance of the horses and we don’t have to put up with any whingeing or self indulgence afterwards!

  28. I agree, Pamela. The relationship between horse and rider is both delicate and strong and displayed to perfection in dressage.

  29. The Black Prince says:

    Is that right that Dean Baily was recently appointed coach of China’s national Badminton team?

  30. Mark Doyle says:

    Another great day at the Olympics with excellent swimming performances by Daniel Gyurta, Rebecca Soni, Nathan Adrian and James Magnussen. However, the best performance on this day was Brad Wiggins’s performance in the cycling road time trial – it was sensational and culminates in a great year with wins in Tour De France, Paris-Nice and the Dauphine; I was almost brought to tears at seeing his joy of sharing the occasion with his children. Hopefully, he can now take it easy and reflect and enjoy the year with his family and Sky team-mates with good food and wine.

  31. MD, a Tour de France yellow Jersey and an Olympic time trial gold medal within a month. That could be a very hard one to better. Does it stand alone at this time?

  32. So what’s the twist there BP?

    One reason could just be that, if Emperor Bailey was the Sino badmintion mentor, their game plan was simply too defensive and they didn’t score enough to win.

    Or were you contemplating something a little more sinister?

  33. The Black Prince says:

    Phantom, something certainly smells fishy here…more precisely a crayfish from the pristine waters of Rocky Cape, but I’ll have to describe it to you as I’m aware it has been a while! Indeed the Chinese were very much aware of the tanking exploits of Messrs Baily, Schwab and co and the subsequent benefits of not playing to one’s fullest ability. What he didn’t count on though was the IOC coming down on them far far harder than the AFL ever did. Apparently he was just expecting them to beliive they were just experimenting with a new game plan by continually serving into the net!

  34. Andrew Starkie says:

    just on the tanking issue. Brock does realise he’s now playing at Carlton, doesn’t he? Do you think Sticks and Ratts might just ask him to cease this line of conversation in the media in case it gets turned back on the Blues?

  35. Wow, what a turnaround from recent Olympics. We’re actually looking to the athletics for more medals after the perceived failures of our swimmers. And is it just me, but how many bloody 4th placings have Australians got? 4th must be the hardest position to finish for athletes who’ve worked their butts off for four years (I see a pattern emerging).

  36. I predicted this.
    Will we be singing “as long as we beat New Zealand”?????
    Kazahkstan is a bridge too far.

  37. Uh oh – I post this and turn on the telly only to see another Kiwi rowing triumph.
    What the????

  38. Andrew Starkie says:

    We’ve punched above our weight on the Olympics since 1896 and have finally assumed our rightful position back in the pack.

    But it still bloody hurts to see our athletes under perform and GB and NZ clean up. Mitchell Watt’s silver, as commendable as it was, is a classic example of not stepping up to the plate. He jumped half a metre short of his Aust record. What’s gone wrong? Are our athletes not having enough international competition in the lead up?

  39. Steve Fahey says:

    Two spine-tingling moments in the men’s 400 metres semi-finals.

    Our own Steve Solomon making the final at the tender age of 18. He has class on and off the track that Steffenson could only dream of.

    Grenada’s 19 year old Kirani James cruises in his semi and then asks to swap name tags with South Africa’s Blade Runner Oscar Pretorius. James will become Greanada’s first ever Olympic medallist barring accidents, and I think it will be gold.

    Well done to both young men, and to Pretorius. Three great stories in one event. Sport can, and always will, show off the best and worst of humanity. This was right up there.

  40. Just saw Usain Bolt execute perfectly in the cauldron of an Olympic Final. No false or slow start today. Half a metre behind at the 50 and just starting to stretch out. You knew it was ‘put down the glasses’. Whoosh (and that’s the first time I’ve said that with glee lately).
    On the Aussies there is no disgrace being beaten on your merits by the best in the world.
    But the number who have done worse than their PB (how could they do worse than me?) and worse than their heat and semi is disturbing.
    Clearly their preparation has been wrong. The discussion on Outsiders yesterday was insightful. 2 thoughts resonated with me. Not enough international competition to experience pressure and tapers, in the lead up to London. Magnusson is the clearest example. Flat track bullying in training and a few comps is no substitute for the seasoning of years of top level competition.
    The suggestion that athletes like Nick Darcy had pushed themselves over the top in training to the point where they were flat or injured – rang true to me.
    We need Bart Cummings timing the preps – not Terry Wallace.
    But I’d settle for 9th.
    The men’s hockey are my best hope for what must surely be a better second week. Ric Charlesworth has the nouse to get the grounding and timing right.
    Interesting that some of our best coaches make more money working for other countries. That brain drain and loss of experience has cost us in the ability to ‘finish off’ off talented young athletes.
    In my considered lounge room opinion.

  41. Usain’s run was magnificent. Extraordinary stuff. His middle 50m is just amazing. I didn’t think his start was too bad but he still put in that funny wobbly step early (about his third or fourth step usually). Get that bit right and he runs 9.48.

  42. Steve Fahey says:

    In many Olympic sports, including my favourite, track and field, PBs are hugely dependent on conditions, particularly for sprinters and jumpers.

    It is simply unreasonable to expect that most of your athletes will record PBs at a single meet, no matter that they are all trying to peak here. Our qualifying and selection requirements demanded that athletes peak twice within a few months and this is unhelpful to say the least.

    It is reasonable to expect that many will perform to their best given the conditions and their preparation, but in the words of JTH’s very wise father, the athlete will know when he/she has given their best, while the rest of us will only guess.

  43. Mark Doyle says:

    Usain Bolts 100m gold medal win was excellent – the time is irrelevant in olympic competition, which reminds me of the Australian middle distance runner Ron Clarke, who was a champion when running against the clock, but a dud in olympic competition.
    Australia are doing well in these olympics and are 9th on the total medal list. The obsession by media buffoons for gold medals is ignorant and ridiculous and their comments in hindsight are illinformed and speculative. I am also not sure that comments by people such as Don Talbot and Susie O’Neill are informed – excuses such as coaches focusing on foreign athletes because of money and a lack of work ethic by Australians is simplistic. The bottom line is that the current Australian olympic team is not as talented as those that competed in the last 3 or 4 olympics, especially the swimmers, track cyclists and various teams.

  44. Mark – last time I looked Australia were 24th on all the Medal Counts I could see.
    Oh you were referring to the number of medals not the type.
    Didn’t know you preferred quantity to quality.

  45. DBalassone says:

    For mine, Usain’s gold in the 100 metres today means more than Phelp’s 18 gold medals over 3 Olympics. Nothing compares to the 100 metre sprint.

  46. pamela sherpa says:

    Bolt’s run in his semi final really set the scene for his performance in the final. Glad I got up early to watch the semis before I saw the final.
    I love watching all the athletic events, in particular the middle distance events

    And how staggering is it when the triathlon and marathon come down to a sprint? Amazing athletes.

  47. Andrew Starkie says:

    Bolt needed a second 100m gold for immortality. Despite doubts about his form and fitness, he produced. It was beautiful sport that will never be forgotten. His start is usually a bit ‘slow’ because he is so tall. Once he hits the 40m mark, he’s in full flight. I loved seeing him run the race out.

    What I love about the Caribbean runners is that they carry on like Americans but unlike them do it with smiles on their faces. As if they’re taking the piss. Bolt’s a showman and smart as well; he’s always thinking about his image and the bottom line. Everything he does is chereographed, even the little fist pump to the teenage girl volunteer behind the blocks for his semi. ‘Look, I’m a champ and a nice guy’.

    Liked the post race cheerio to Punter and others by ‘The Beast’.

  48. Andrew Starkie says:

    Big call, DB. But some of those swimming relay medley events are mickey mouse

  49. Andrew Starkie says:

    Heroic performance by Willis, the Aussie who completed the marathon despite torn hip ligaments. In pain the whole race, she refused to surrender. That’s what the Olympics are about.

  50. Just a couple of comments hot off the press.

    How many medals has England won, I can’t find them on the ladder?

    South Africa one are doing quite well against South Africa two in the cricket.

  51. DBalassone says:

    When was the last time India won a medal in track & field?

  52. 1900. That could change in about 15-16 hours.

  53. DBalassone says:

    Brilliant Glenn.

    15-16 hours? Who would that be? The discus thrower? Have know idea what’s going on with Ch 9 coverage times?

  54. Discus final at 7:45 p.m. London time. The time difference helps us here in the States — everything runs from 4 a.m. until about 7 p.m. — but it’s got to be difficult to follow in Australia,

  55. Andrew Starkie says:

    i know, shouldn’t be worrying about the medal count, but if we take two golds tonight as expected, we should slip into the top 10-12.

    Cmon Sally and sailors.

  56. DBalassone says:

    I hear you Starks …just so long as Nicholas Willis doesn’t win gold for NZ in the 1500m.

  57. Andrew Starkie says:

    DB, i try to stay impartial/aloof from it all, but I can’t. Blood hell, i hope Sally wins. She ‘s a big race performer, I think she will. I Love her attitude, she loves her sport and sets a great example.

  58. John Harms says:

    Huge second half from Liz Cambage – who barracks for Geelong. Lauren Jackson was attacked from all directions which helped free up the big centre, but she was up for it, and went looking for the rock and delivered. Was she recruited from the Falcons?

  59. There will always be someone on this site ready to drag a Geelong reference into the discussion!

  60. Andrew Starkie says:

    There’s no more deserving Olympic champion that Anna Meares: broken neck in the lead up to Beijing; told she would never ride again; just out of hospital, her husband holds her head up with a coat hanger while she rides an exercise bike; grabs a courageous silver in Beijing; now gold in London against the hometown hero. Sensational. True Olympic spirit. And what a smile.

    What can you say about Sally Pearson? Leave the words to her. Post race, she said to Tony Jones, ‘I said to my coach, “This is mine tonight. This can go other way”.’ A champions’ attitude.

    Two great Olympic champions.

  61. Anna Meares would be a very good on baller.

    She is tough, determined, fit, experienced and highly skilled.

    Doesn’t mind going toe to toe at the big dance either. Wonderful performance, and young Sally was teriffic as well.

    Love those girls.

  62. Mark Doyle says:

    It is curious and bemusing how sports fans often articulate their interest with either heroworship, ‘cheap shot’ banter about other countries and their representitives or some bias. The quality of genuinely funny wit at sports events these days is not as good as in previous years.
    I was very pleased to see both Anna Meares and Sally Pearson win their events, but to say there is no more deserving gold medallist than Anna Meares is silly. Sally Pearson’s performance and attitude in both the semi-final and the final was very impressive and she continues a great tradition of great Australian women track performers – Shirley Strickland, Marjorie Jackson, Betty Cuthbert, Maureen Caird, Raelene Boyle, Debbie Flintoff and Cathy Freeman. It was also pleasing to see the gracious and good sportswomanship of the American silver medallist, Dawn Harper, in acknowledging Sally Pearson’s performance. The Australian swimmer Emily Seebohm should take note.
    There was a good program on Euromaxx this morning about the public and street art currently exhibiting in London, especially in the East End. It is unfortunate that most of the Australian media and their philistine presenters pay little attention to this aspect of the olympic games.
    Re Peter’s comments few days ago about quantity/quality: if you think that performing at the olympic games and making semi-finals, finals and winning silver and bronze medals is not quality, you are kidding yourself.
    To John Harms – Which team does Lauren Jackson barrack for and are you implying that Liz Cambage is a better basketballer because she is a Cat supporter?

  63. Further Mark,

    I noted on radio this morning that there is disappointment expressed throughout the great wide land at our athletes lack of success.

    To quote the great Bob Dylan “it ain’t me babe…no, no, no it ain’t me babe”. How can I be disappointed with those who perhaps indirectly represent me have an absolute crack and do their best.

    I am both envious and proud of them all.

    (Perhaps we could have Graffiti as an event at the next games. That would be colourful)

  64. John Harms says:

    Mark, Liz Cambage is a better person for being a Geelong supporter, and in th eVenn diagram of life I was see basketball prowess as a subset of poverall prowess as a person.

  65. John Harms says:

    Question to all and sundry:

    who are the people who are disappointed? I haven’t spoken to anyone who has volunteered such a position, nor have I been able to extract one.

    Why do I feel as if the Olypics coverage is like Street Talk on Tour?

  66. Andrew Starkie says:

    ch9 coverage is appalling: one long ‘Today’ show. Lazy, amateurish, low cost, disrespectful to viewers, poorly prepared and presented, lacked content (replay after replay), has failed to showcase London, one of the world’s great cities.

    A number of our athletes have under performed by not equalling or bettering PBs or qualifying times, J mag and Watt are obvious examples. Some are ‘just happy to be here’ which is surprising. But in big picture terms, the rest of the world is simply catching up. With our comparatively small population, economy and bugdet, we shouldn’t finish top 5. We’ve been punching above our weight since 1896.

  67. Basso Divor says:

    Uh oh, Plough has apparently expressed an interest in the vacant Port coaching position. Surely, even Port, with their track record wouldn’t entertain this?

    My highlight was gymnast Lauren Mitchell, who missed a medal in last night’s women’s floor final despite a superbly executed routine. Within the last week, she battled to overcome a recent abdominal strain and recurring shoulder injuries, but in a field stacked full of world champions was only 0.066 points from snaffling a bronze. Typically chirpy after the event, Mitchell explained that she was “pretty damn close (to winning bronze). I did everything in training but the other girls were better than me.” No sooking there!

  68. Peter Flynn says:

    Loving Peter Donegan’s work.

    A frequent visitor to the supermarket here in balmy Kyneton (5 degrees today).

    Loving the absence of Bruce.

  69. Stark / Harmsy

    All I know is that I am thankful for being able to enjoy Foxtel’s coverage.
    I may not always like what is on offer, but at least there are 8 channels
    offerring a variety of choices.

    Channel 9’s roll-call of the same old faces (Ken Sutcliffe, Karl Sefanovic,
    Leila, etc etc) is just so predictable. And very few of them know about
    sport. Even Eddie did a runner to Foxtel.

  70. Andrew Starkie says:

    Sorry, love Donegan too. BTV 6 Ballarat boy. Veteran of many Stawell Gifts. Smokie, Eddie is doing the marathons and triathlons for 9.

  71. Basso – Plough can’t take the Port job. We need him for the Swimming team. 4 year rebuilds a specialty.

  72. Mark – you are an asset to the site.
    You make all the other Almanackers look generous and smart.

  73. What a win by Sally Pearson this morning, her consistency over the last four years has been outstanding, she deserved this Gold medal. Foxtel coverage is brilliant, avoiding Nine’s cringeworthy coverage as much as possible! The Kookaburras and Jamie Dwyer have been great to watch, they and him deserve much greater recognition from the Australian public. As does Peter Donegan, what a great track athletics caller, would be a better option on the footy than several channel 7 commentators.

  74. Andrew Starkie says:

    Great work by our sailors, hope the success continues. Would be a nice way to spend a week as a spectator – sitting on the hill watching the sailing during he day, followed by a few beers in a cosy pub of an evening.

    Just watching the Boomers against USA – getting a bit ugly. We aren’t converting, they are. Opals may go one better.

    Hoping men’s hockey can do the business.

    And our bmx riders also (and pick up milk and bread on their way home, please).

  75. Water Polo boys faded against Serbs. Pity; they looked (sounded on ABC radio) ok up till half time but were out scored 7 – 1 in the last half.

  76. Dave Nadel says:

    ABC commentators on both the Water Polo and the Basketball said post game that the scoreboard did not represent how well Australia had played. Both Australian teams had been overwhelmed in the last quarter. I’d like to remind the ABC commentators that both these sports, like Australian Football, go for FOUR quarters. You have to play well for four quarters.

    If I tried to justify a Collingwood loss with the statement that they had had more of the play for three quarters, Phantom and others would (justifiably) pour scorn on me. The Aussie Water Polo and Basketball teams have had a good Games. But you have to beat the best in the world to win gold.

  77. No arguement there Dave.

  78. Russel Hansen says:

    Steve Solomon … two personal bests on his way to the 400m final … take a bow young man !

  79. Is it a worry or a nice and accurate reflection on Australia and our style that the majority of golds we’ve won so far are being won (and done) sitting down?

  80. Mark Doyle says:

    The ABC and Channel 9 coverage of the olympics is pathetic and jingoistic; most of their coverage is about meaningless statistics such as medal tallies and celebrity nonsense. The Foxtel 8 channel coverage plus the Eurosport news channel provides a far superior and comprehensive coverage. The best and most entertaining events are team events such as the handball and the volleyball plus the gymnastics and rhythm gymnastics; these events demonstrate excellent skill, athleticism and competition.
    The olympics is also a great international festival for both competitors and spectators and a force for peace and human rights. My best olympic experience was in Sydney in 2000 and meeting many international visitors in Hyde Park and the bars in and around the Rocks and Circular Quay areas. This year I have heard some interesting human rights stories, such as a story on Palestinian olympians on Euromaxx and a North Korean olympic story on Late Night Live about the totaliltarian and inhumane North Korean government.

  81. Andrew Starkie says:

    SUper effort by canoe team last night. Beautiful sport to watch.

    Shame about the men’s hockey.

    Let’s hope the sailors get away tonight.

  82. The best of the Olympics can be summed up in two words

    Usain Bolt.

  83. For sheer calling of the race from gun to finish, I would back in Bruce but overall I would go for Peter Donegan. No fawning to high profile “colour” commentators, instead an easy banter. No overdose on stats either. I thought the Ray Hadley/Rebecca Wilson pairing at the swimming was disgusting and poor Susie O’Neill looked too embarassed to say anything at all.
    How good is Usain Bolt! Also the best showman since Ali. How can you not love him? Perhaps other athletes (cricketers, footballers, etc) will take notice that people actually warm to nice guys!

  84. Neil Belford says:

    So we’ve gotto the ribbon twirling part of the Olympics – 9 year old talking to the television

    Dude seriously – do we have to keep watching this – I’d prefer to watch equestrian.

  85. Andrew Starkie says:

    Phill Liggett calling the BMX is like Sinatra doing a 3 year old’s birthday party. Can’t image Ol’ Blue Eyes being as gracious and professional as Phil.

    ‘What kid, ya don’t like it?! You know who I am? Why you little punk!’

    Games highlights: Aussie marathon runner named Willis who tore hip ligaments a month out yet insisted running and completed the 42km; the athlete who finished last and crossed the lines in tears, sensational spirit; Meares; Pearson; Bolt and whole of Jamaican sprint team; 800m men’s final – can’t recall his name; Grenada’s first ever gold medal.

    Lowlights: badminton cheats; treatment of Emily Seebohm by media; British track cyclist falling deliberately in order to get a restart; family members of Austn track cyclists being abused by flogs in crowd;ch 9.

  86. Another lowlight.

    Seath Afrikan breast stroke swimmer who joked about getting away with his tripple underwater dolphin kick at the start and winning Gold.

  87. One ‘p’ in triple – perhaps a few more in the pool.

  88. Andrew Starkie says:

    yes, good one, Phantom. why doesn’t swimming use under cameras to police that sort of thing?

  89. What a relief it’s over.

    Now we can get on with the main event; The Premier League starts on Saturday.

    The final verdict ‘victorious, happy and glorious’. Stick that in yer warm beer and kippers Seb. Sydney is still the best ever.

    And my biggest disappointment was no Clash live at the Opening Ceremony singing you know what. A great song, unique to that part of the ‘Old Dart’ and a wasted opportunity to have it performed by the masters again before it is bastardised by hip hip mixers.

    The lack of London calling is still a long way off my greatest Olympic disappointment which was the failure of the Sydney organisers to have the Warumpi Band sing Blackfella Whitefella at our closing ceremony. The way all the athletes were moshing was fantastic and that song with the late George out front would have been one of the worlds greatest and broadly viewed single event anti racist statements.

    Go QPR. (or up the R’s)

  90. Andrew Starkie says:

    EPL is starting already!? Does it ever end?! Like Masterchef, it’s back to back series!

    Where was Sir Elton at the CC? Bowie? Stones?

    Was George M the first choice, do you think? I really like old Wham! stuff, but seriously, George is reminding me of actors on Days of our Lives characters – he won’t allow himself to age. Must have been difficult to see with those shades on.

    Too many highlights from the Games to nominate just one or two, but Anna Meares’ gold will stick in my mind for her perseverance and courage overcoming her injuries.

    I can see Harmsy’s point regarding Hooker, he had a crack. But, I think he conned his way into the final on Friday night by persuading officials to take 14 not 12 in because I suspect he didn’t have the confidence to jump 1.65m to qualify.

  91. As soon as an athlete starts talking about PBs instead of winning I get concerned. We also need to remember that these athletes take public money so they need to be at least somewhat accountable.

  92. pamela sherpa says:

    I don’t think Steve Hooker faced his demons at all .It was pretty obvious he didn’t want to jump. Poor effort I thought . If his confidence was so shot why was he selected in the team to compete?

  93. Mulcaster says:

    I share JTH’s admiration of Steve Hooker, there is a nobility in facing demons. Perhaps the search for redemption is also noble, in one sense it is more so. Nick D’Arcy would have gained so much more than a gold medal had he succeeded. I question why anyone could think that his attempt at personal redemption was any less laudible. There is no equality in failure. I have not read anywhere a comment that Nick D’Arcy’s work rate was poor or that he lacked dedication. Why were his efforts dismissed? For some failure is noble for others it is just deserts. I get the sense that there is nothing Nick D’Arcy can ever do to get himself equal billing with Steve Hooker. I suspect in truth Nick D’Arcy knew that before he started.

  94. Andrew Starkie says:

    Pam, again, I agree to an extent. Steve’s last two years have been difficult to watch (obviously harder for him). I thought on Wedy, he just wanted out of there, while on Friday night, he didn’t attack the mat with any conviction. Pole vault must be one of the most difficult sports/disciplines. Such skill, courage and fitness required. And confidence, which he didn’t have.

  95. Mark Doyle says:

    What is all this fuss about the mickey mouse event of polevaulting and the pole vaulter Steve Hooker? Pole vaulting is nothing more than an irrelevant and trivial event designed for TV. I have never seen kids or adults do pole vaulting in any athletics club or school sports competition. Steve Hooker is not an athlete – he is a TV celebrity.

  96. Mark,

    If (and its a big if) Hooker is a TV celebrity it is only because he won a gold medal as an athlete.

    Plenty of more “irrelevant and trivial” events in the Olympics than the pole vault.

  97. pamela sherpa says:

    John what bothered me about Hooker was that he looked like he didn’t want to have a go. He was prepared to do more talking than jumping to get himself into the final. I didn’t think it was very sporting of the vaulters to be negotiating with the officials into letting more of them go through to the final which they did. I think Hooker would have been better off having had a second jump in that first round and finding out where he was really at instead of putting more pressure on himself and then hoping that somehow it would all work out out in the final. I think he created more demons than he got rid of.

  98. pamela sherpa says:

    p.s Didn’t see Offsiders or any of the other comments you mentioned. My comment above is just my impression from watching the event.

  99. John Harms says:

    Demons are not choosey.

    I suspect you can have them as a tiddly-winks player.

    They are still demons.

    The point is about the demons, and about what to do.

    Hooker’s book will be interesting. Indeed a book of stories of those who never overcame their demons would be interesting. IBF. Johnny MIller. Cam Mooney?

  100. Daryl Cullinan. Phillip Hughes. Tom Hawkins???

  101. I saw little of the Olympics finals live due to the time difference. I don’t have Foxtel so it was hard to follow events closely via just the CH IX highlights shows.
    Over the course of the Games there was a lot of talk about brave Aussie battler/losers. There was JTH’s fave Steve Hooker in the pole vault; the female marathoner who struggled against injury to complete the race; and I heard radio references to a number of swimmers/rowers/athletes who went into the Games on limited preparations due to injuries since their Olympic trial qualification.
    I understand the desperation to make it to the Games to compete after a life time of preparation. And there is no shame in losing in an elite competition like the Olympics.
    But when I heard all these excuses/explanations for ‘brave failures’ being trotted out I had an uneasy feeling. What is the role of the team versus the individual? Do we applaud footballers who go into a Grand Final carrying an injury to fulfil their childhood dreams? They mostly break down or underperform.
    I think the heroes are the Presti’s who acknowledge they will be a liability that damages the team’s chances.
    Was there another athlete with a lesser qualifying time who could have performed better on the day than the injured ‘star’.
    Personally I never thought Hooker could seriously compete given his repeated inability to put up a credible performance in competition in the year leading up to the Games.
    I understand Hooker’s feelings and motivations but I thought he was selfish, and that diminished rather than enhanced him in my eyes.
    I always step on the first tee hoping to break 80 (I have once or twice over a lifetime). These days I mostly struggle to keep it under three figures. I don’t think my hopes and ancient history qualify me for a place in the club championship.

  102. pamela sherpa says:

    I agree Peter -more of a problem was created by and for Hooker by not qualifying properly in the first place.

  103. John Harms says:

    Yes, Tom Hawkins had spiralled into a situation which was going to be hard to retrieve. The evidence from the Hawthorn match is that he has retrieved it pretty well. Whether that is lasting is a good question. He may well have altered his technique through practice. To re-build a technique is very very difficult, but the trajectory of his kicks – weak fade has become a punchier draw – suggstss something has changed. And whether he develops confidence rather than retaining the fear remains to be seen. Unfortunatey we didn’t get to see lon Friday night. YOu could tell from his responses along the way that the yips were with him.

    PB, reaking 80, while important to you, is not central to your life at the moment. (maybe it is?) And had you won last year’s club championship your analogy might work.

    One of the things this discussion shows is how differently people see tthings – both in terms of what they are looking for and is important to them (in terms of meaning) and on the basis of the philosophical posiiton that underpins their thinking and being.

    I love sport for many reasons. If I had to choose one I’d say I am most interested in what it tells me about being human.

  104. Is Kancker banter sport John?

  105. JTH – your views on Steve Hooker reflect a generous spirit. I can see why you think that he confronted his demons and I agree that he was entitled to support in trying to defend his crown. But my view is that he didn’t confront his demons. He was beaten before he began. His three attempts at getting deeper into the final were, quite frankly, pathetic.

    This is not to say that I didn’t feel for him. I think most people did, but I reject the notion that his effort was brave or somehow profound. I actually found it a bit sad – Ian Baker Finch sad. And the taxpayers of Australia should wander why a bloke so off the pace was there.

    To see bravery, to watch dignity, to observe a person confronting her demons I think we should look no further than Lauren Mitchell in the women’s gymnastics. She was injured not long before the Games but stepped into the heat of battle knowing victory was almost impossible; no mention of injury, no backward step. She simply competed. She had a go (unlike Hooker who was lost in the changerooms) After her loss she graciously said that the other girls “were just better than me”.She could have highlighted her difficulties, but she didn’t.

  106. Mark Doyle says:

    The olympic games in most first world countries has become an exercise in individual selfishness and crass nationalism, which includes the talking head media buffoons who see their own participation as celebrities as being as important as the athletes. Talk about bravery, facing demons and sadness in sport is trite compared to facing serious illness, death, poverty and war.
    There is also very little focus by the media on human rights issues in various countries. Where was the story on the Saudi Arabian woman who was the first woman to represent her country in track and field; her result was irrelevant. A lot of the media focus in Australia before these games was directed at the performance of a number of retired celebrity swimmers who were trying to qualify for their own selfish reasons.
    It is ironic that most of the athletes get most enjoyment from meeting athletes from all countries and other sports as well participating in the opening and closing ceremonies. Athletes also seem to get as much enjoyment from sharing success in team sports and relay events.

  107. Mark – talking about bravery, facing demons and sadness in sport is indeed trite compared to facing serious illness, death, poverty and war, but surely we’re allowed to do it?

    Regarding human rights matters you are correct that the focus is often wrong. I’ve heard almost nothing of the local Orthodox and Coptic Christians who are currently being tormentedand in some cases killed in what our gushing media calls “the new Egypt”.

  108. pamela sherpa says:

    John, I also love the study of human behaviour that the Olympics and other sports provide The most interesting article I read during the Olympics was about Michael Diamond in the shooting. He was ahead and didn’t need to take any risks to win . But he did something inexplicable. He anticipated and moved his gun before the target was released instead of following his usual routine of waiting for the target to be released first then moving the gun to aim at it .By anticipating and moving the gun first before the target was released he judged it wrongly which of course was disaster because he didn’t have time to correct and adjust to hit the shot.I just found it fascinating that he did this and he couldn’t explain why he did it either.

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