Thursday, August 26, 2004

Olympic Medals.

How to make more athletes and fans happy?! We make a new medal category :)

Sports games have become so competitive that now we measure times and scores in a hundred and even a thousand of a point in order to determine the winners. Over time the gap between a new WR or OR will become even more diminutive. So, what should we do to give credit for the rest of the athletes who compete?! In many sports for kids there are ribbons for up to 8th spot, maybe this will show some gratitude. But we could also introduce new medals ? the PLATINUM for first spot. It seams that this works for credit card holders, so why not here?

Than we will see appeals for the platinum, but oh well..


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Our big fat Greek Olympics.

The correlation between Greek Medals and event attendees. How to increase Olympic attendance- Simple; give more medals to the Greeks.

OK, you are the IOC and see that hardly anyone in Greece goes to the games, so what do you do? The sponsors are not getting their message across, the networks can?t find an angle with spectators in it, and the Olympic machine is not making money! Disaster? Wait, you can fix it. Yes, it?s simple; you let the local players get some glory and some medals.

Well, this may be my conspiracy theory only for now, but I don?t think I am too far from the truth. Let?s look at some facts and history here. Now, I grew up in Bulgaria, a small country (7.5 mil), which has embraced sports through its history. I also come from a professional sports family. Many of my values for life have been thought on the tennis, basketball and volleyball courts by my grandfather, father and coaches. For me fair play has only one meaning ? play fair and be jugged fair. Keep in mind that my small country has 105 qualified athletes at the Athens and for those who like to keep score, in our glory days during the 1988 Olympics, that same small nation finished # 4 (four) by total medal counts behind US, USSR and China (or Germany). Enough with the sport history.

So, last night I was watching NBC and their limited coverage on NON-US participation games ? Man?s gymnastics and individual rings. The main reason, NBC chose to show this particular segment, was because Greece ?WON? a gold medal. Did the Greeks disserve to win the gold?! I think not, and I am not alone here. The commentators were stunned, I was stunned, (even my wife agreed with me for once) but the 14,000 Greek spectators loved it. Who was robbed, we all were. The Bulgarian and the Italian gymnasts performed so much better. Their composition was more complicated; clean and just so much more, jet the Greek got the gold with shaking feet, short stands and bouncing landing?! We even had to watch the Greek national hymn on TV. I mean no disrespect to the Greek nation or its athletes, here, but it?s a bit ironic the way this works. How many times has NBC done that, hardly any for non-us athletes?! What happed here, why did the IOC do this? We all lost a lot last night; the Olympic Games lost the faith of millions of Bulgarians and Italians who loved the games for its fairness. It is heartbreaking to see that NBC and the Olympic games have sold themselves to the corporate sponsors and care for nothing else than money at the end of the day. Most Bulgarian athletes and Olympic medal winners will never get a multi-million dollar endorsements; they play for joy, national pride and glory.

To top this, right before the ring competition, NBC had a special segment on another Greek athlete Leonidas Sampanis a ?Greek? weightlifter who got a bronze medal and who was like NO the other Greek athletes and was clean of drugs and loved the sport so much. We watched a portrait of a true Greek national hero, a real sportsman, his lovely family and the Greek nation who loves him mo much. Blah, blah , blah. Did the NBC producers or any of their thousands of assistants care to check the IOC?s press release earlier that day? I think not. The IOC took away the same bronze medal from the Greek ?hero? (I believe the NBC commentator even made some references to Hercules). So, why are we watching this IOC/NBC propaganda here, come on. What happed to our values?

I am deeply saddened by all of this. I have not watched any of the other 4 gold Greek medals, or any other Greek medal winnings, so I can not speak of their fairness, but I do think that the IOC should investigate itself and take some measures. Until recently NBC was simply not showing us much of the non-US winnings. I know they will argue that they can?s show it all, but than why now all of the sudden we get all of this?! And how about the US gold medal we got on gymnastics, which should have been given to the Koreans? All this shows how much power TV media has over our opinions, and what a simple editing and some B-roll can do for the bottom line of corporate earnings.

Vassil Mladjov

P.S. For those interested, I can provide you with a private link of streaming media of the ring?s competition, and trust me even in the small 320x240 pixel streaming video window you will be able to see why the Greeks should not have won the gold.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

video blog