The Olympics random thoughts thread (may contain spoilers) (Read 1310 times)

    I think that Phelps racked up so many goals in part because of the overlap between events, but also because of the lack of competitive depth in swimming.

     

    There are opportunities in track and field. A guy as dominant on the track as Phelps was in the pool in 2008 could win golds in the LJ, 100m, 200m, 400m, 4 x 100, 4 x 400 -- a total of 6 golds. An extremely dominant athlete might be able to add the hurdles, 110m and 440m for a total of 8. But the depth in T&F is such that this feat would be much more rare.

     

    Also, the impacts in running make recovery much more of an issue in track than in swimming. Surviving all of those heats in track would be totally ridiculously impossible, but that's just the nature of the sport. An athlete like Carl Lewis was probably just about as dominant as Phelps and likely could have won golds in all 8 of those events had he been able to survive the grueling schedule and recover.

     

    Anyways.


    Feeling the growl again

       

      Then there is the 10k "marathon" which is in open water.

       

      I'm going to have to seek out coverage of that one.  That IS interesting, thanks.

      "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

       


      Feeling the growl again

        I think that Phelps racked up so many goals in part because of the overlap between events, but also because of the lack of competitive depth in swimming.

         

        There are opportunities in track and field. A guy as dominant on the track as Phelps was in the pool in 2008 could win golds in the LJ, 100m, 200m, 400m, 4 x 100, 4 x 400 -- a total of 6 golds. An extremely dominant athlete might be able to add the hurdles, 110m and 440m for a total of 8. But the depth in T&F is such that this feat would be much more rare.

         

        Also, the impacts in running make recovery much more of an issue in track than in swimming. Surviving all of those heats in track would be totally ridiculously impossible, but that's just the nature of the sport. An athlete like Carl Lewis was probably just about as dominant as Phelps and likely could have won golds in all 8 of those events had he been able to survive the grueling schedule and recover.

         

        Anyways.

         

        IMHO you nailed it with the bolded part.  Even if they did work out the timing of all of the heats, I don't think even a dominant athlete could recover enough to do it.  Swimming is simply fundamentally different.

         

        I will resepectfully counter the opinion on depth in swimming -- I don't think there is a lack of competition in swimming at all.  You do indeed get dominate athletes in track -- especially in the sprints, however because of the fundamental differences between the sports you don't see the runners accentuating it by doing 6-8 events.  Bolt was/is(?) dominant, M Johnson was, Lewis, that Chinese hurdler, etc.

        I would point out how many events/medals Marion Jones did in Sydney but...well....yeah.  Smile

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

         

          The other thing that seems odd to me is the frequency which the WR or OR is broken in swimming. You don't seem to see that as much in other sports. Could this be related to what Jeff said regarding the lack of depth in competitive swimming? In my little corner of the world, there aren't that many kids that continue to swim once they get into MS, once the more popular sports become year-round endeavors (i.e basketball, football, and to a lessor degree soccer).

            Ha ha, good point about Jones.

             

            I guess in T&F seems to me that you've got a much larger percentage of the global population involved, but maybe that's all the more reason to suggest that truly dominant athletes might get selected more often.

             

            I agree though, I think it is the nature of recovery in the events that makes it so difficult.

             

            One thing that impresses me and sort of confuses me is how much volume swimming sprinters do. It's sort of odd -- the training is very different from how track sprinters train.


            Feeling the growl again

               I guess in T&F seems to me that you've got a much larger percentage of the global population involved, but maybe that's all the more reason to suggest that truly dominant athletes might get selected more often.

                

              One thing that impresses me and sort of confuses me is how much volume swimming sprinters do. It's sort of odd -- the training is very different from how track sprinters train.

               

               

              You're right on the percentages, however the representation by various countries does show it is a serious sport in a large share of countries.  Despite a few stand-out athletes like Thorpe and Phelps, when my eye (relatively naive from a swimming perspective) watches those events it seems that most of them are very close, with a lot of athletes in the running and often very close to records in the final.

               

              If it were not competitive, I would think that you'd rarely see people approach established records and you'd have 1-2 really good people and the rest of the final strung out decently behind them.  I don't perceive to see that scenario all that often. 

               

              But what do I know about swimming. 

               

              As for training, I think a lot of it may have to do with the differences between running and swimming.  Yeah, maybe there is less benefit from doing all the volume but you know what, they CAN do it, and get those benefits, and still get recover.  Also, while the events are relatively short they do not swim with the same sort of musclular explosiveness that sprinters use on the track.  So perhaps that volume still gives them good benefit to the fiber types they use even in short races.

               

              Regarding the records Tom, I second your thoughts.  It's not like these are new events with soft records.  I must also eat a couple bites of crow.  I've commented to a few people how untouchable the "suit era" records were, and how after they banned the suits the same athletes could not approach them.  I predicted we'd see far fewer records this time around.  That may still be technically true (final count will tell) but a couple of those suit-era records have already fallen.

               

              I think there is also some very unperceived technology at work, at least as compared to say the 80s.  I think it was at Beijing they did a piece on pool technology, and how the pools have advanced over the years to cut down on waves and make the swimming as unimpeded by the actions of others (therefore faster).  I'm not sure when these changes kicked in but I'd bet 20-25 years ago the Olympic pools were not very different from what most universities have, a box filled with water and strung with lane markers.

              "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

               

                

                 

                I think there is also some very unperceived technology at work,

                 Yes, and some very visible technology: new-style starting blocks.


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                  The other thing that seems odd to me is the frequency which the WR or OR is broken in swimming. You don't seem to see that as much in other sports. Could this be related to what Jeff said regarding the lack of depth in competitive swimming? In my little corner of the world, there aren't that many kids that continue to swim once they get into MS, once the more popular sports become year-round endeavors (i.e basketball, football, and to a lessor degree soccer).

                   

                  In my part of the world, there are plenty of kids who continue in swimming.  We lose a lot to other sports once the kids hit high school, but isn't that true in all sports?  Once they get to that age, if they're good at a sport, they start specializing.  But plenty of kids swim in high school and on their club teams (which are USA Swimming affiliated) in these parts and it seems that a number go on to swim in college.  

                    here be a cool geographical infographic for all the medalling action:

                     

                    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/9436640/London-2012-Olympics-dynamic-world-medal-map.html

                     

                    it updates quicker than a gnat's chuff.

                    I bought my nephew an elephant for his room. He said, "Thanks". I said, "Don't mention it".

                      I always found "alternative" medal counts interesting....medals by GDP, population, etc.

                      One example.


                      day after day sameness

                        Here's a pressing London Olympics question....Who in their right mind signed off on the hot mess of a logo...Shocked

                         

                        There's some wacky stuff going on down in the city:

                         

                        Choosing my words carefully has never been my strength I've been known to be vague and often pointless

                          Is this the issue created by the logo looking like it's Lisa Simpson giving oral pleasure?  Or the issue about it looking like the word Zion?

                           

                          That Torygraph link is very cool as is the grauniad one.

                           

                          Now I'm off to read about swimming pool technology and look at medal stats.

                           "Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow.  Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.  Just walk beside me and be my friend."

                          xor


                            So i get that the (pink!) logo is a zig-zaggy 2012.  What I don't understand is the extra diamond/dot polygon in the middle.  Does it mean something?

                             


                            Feeling the growl again

                              Is this the issue created by the logo looking like it's Lisa Simpson giving oral pleasure? 

                               

                              LOL.  That didn't take long to see.

                              "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                               


                              Menace to Sobriety

                                Is this the issue created by the logo looking like it's Lisa Simpson giving oral pleasure? 

                                 Milhouse finally got lucky.

                                Janie, today I quit my job. And then I told my boss to go f*** himself, and then I blackmailed him for almost sixty thousand dollars. Pass the asparagus.