Thoughts from the first week of the Beijing Olympics:

  • I really like the type treatment of “Beijing 2008” in the official logo.
  • I like the idea that the picture of the man in the emblem is based on the Chinese character for the “jing” in “Beijing”, but the picture itself doesn’t look that cool to me.
  • I can’t take volleyball seriously. Sorry. I won’t go as far as Slate does and call it not a sport, but it doesn’t look Olympic to me and, bikinis aside, I don’t think it merits prime time coverage instead of, say, bastketball.
  • I wish instead of showing entire volleyball matches they’d use the time to show highlights from less popular sports. They seem to want to fool us into thinking everything is live, but viewers are pretty used to highlight reels. I think we’d be okay with it.
  • I finally figured out why I don’t like women’s gymnastic floor routines: they’re forced to pretend to dance, but aren’t forced to do anything on beat. If there’s music playing, I want them to have to hit landings on rhythm. I admit I’m mostly uneducated in gymnastics, but I know music pretty well and don’t like it being there just for mood so a nymphet can prance around. In this regard I think the men are treated much more like adults who are respected athletes. Why not just let the women do actual gymnastics?
  • Once you figure it out, NBC’s Olympic coverage website has lots of good stuff on it. You will have to install the Silverlight plug-in, which doesn’t run on non-Intel Macs.
  • The Michael Phelps stuff really was exciting. The interview with him and Mark Spitz was amusing because it contrast Spitz, who’s clearly made a life of making inspirational speeches to young swimmers, with Phelps who could only muster cliches like “if you put your mind to it you can do anything”. I wonder how he’ll handle the burden of role modeling. Anyway, the best of his racing was the 4×100m freestyle relay, but the photo finish from Friday night was damn exciting. Sports Illustrated has a good set of pictures of that, and this piece discusses how the timekeeping technology works.
  • Despite all that, Phelps’s last event couldn’t match Golden Girls spin-off Empty Nest in ratings.