Olympic Games armchair observations

Olympics graphic

The Olympic Games, a time to settle down and watch a host of sports you only care about once every four years.

It’s a time when if challenged as to why you’ve remained seated in the armchair for the best part of a day, you can freely apply the excuse: “Because it only happens once every four years.”

But the need to devour all things Olympic Games can lead to forcing yourself to watch all manner of different events. After the first full weekend of action, I realised hours had passed while I watched a Ukrainian woman called Pavlova in the archery.

It’s been fascinating to watch the rowing, mainly to see titans of sport struggle with extreme winds and sometimes even sink. It’s way more exciting than the boat race for spectacular sinking potential.

In fact a challenge of Olympian proportions can actually be found attempting to circumnavigate the BBC’s Rio 2016 coverage.

It can be quite a mission finding something that’s a) actually live and/or b) features a Brit. Freesat, freeview, freefrom, whatever.

Another appeal for tuning in is to see who BBC presenter John Inverdale might offend next.

I must declare that since awarding me a degree ten years ago, Invers has gone downhill. Perhaps dishing out the honours to a bunch of graduates was the highpoint.

With past victims including Marion Bartoli and a rude word during last year’s Cheltenham Festival, he seems to be on the verge of tipping over into dangerous territory pretty much every time he begins a discussion. One of those people who would be fine if he just halved his amount of analysis before it gets sticky.

Such a gaffe looked like it was about to happen at the Rugby sevens event.

When Inverdale started to discuss the size of women’s rugby players with Sir Clive Woodward it was edge-of-the-seat stuff. Where’s he going with this? Just stop talking man! By accident rather than design he’s become must-watch viewing.

There’s certainly a fun game to be had, a bit like playing Andy Townsend bingo. Perhaps a sort of ‘Inverdale Russian Roulette’.

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While we’re on all matters BBC, what’s with the Get Inspired campaign flashing up every so often? Having watched some beach volleyball (more below), let’s say I was inspired to go out and play the sport.

I stumbled upon a nearby ‘court’ the other day. Backing onto a car park, a herd of cows would have more fun playing around on that. The UK isn’t Brazil so let’s not con people.

As a man, trying to convince people you’re watching women’s beach volleyball for any other reason than the lack of kit is difficult. Particularly when one of them is called Brooke Sweat (yes real name). But normal bog-standard volleyball just doesn’t cut it. There’s too many players involved and you can’t see the sun shining.

Plus the time it takes to get your head around the rules and understand the scoring system, it’s already time for another sport.

Which brings me on to fencing – like jousting without the horse. Jousting is being petitioned for inclusion in future Olympic Games.

I last watched fencing when Madonna did it in Die Another Day.

Olympic fencers and their attire remind me of beekeepers, very patriotic ones. The action happens so fast, there are lights on their head guards, lights on the floor – the whole set-up looks like some fantastic night at the disco.

Watching action from Team GB’s Laurence Halsted against Chinese fencer Chen Haiwei, the commentator uttered: “My way or the Haiwei’. Entirely predictable yes, but this is also what the Olympics means to an armchair fan and writer. Proper punning. On the piste, foiled again etc …

That and whiling away hours in front of obscure sports.

Pic: CC0 Public Domain

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