Monday, September 03, 2007

osaka 2007 - side notes

Couple of notes from the World Athletics Championship that finished yesterday in Osaka:
1. I noticed some people in the stadium watching their mobiles (with the screen twisted in the horizontal position) while the events were taking place in the track. They were probably watching TBS' broadcast in their mobile TVs. It's pretty cool to be there and feel the excitement of watching the live events, and at the same time being able to check the details and interviews on your 1seg TV.
2. Carl Lewis and Mike Powell were interviewed on TBS. Of course, Lewis is one of track's greatest stars to this day, but the local reporter (sorry, don't know his name) seemed to refer the questions only to him, ignoring the fact that it was Powell who won their event in Tokyo back in 1991, arguably the greatest long jump competition ever, when Powell broke Bob Beamon's long-standing record of 8.90m and established the current world record of 8.95m. Lewis couldn't be more generous towards Powell though, always acknowledging Powell's presence and praising his performance on that evening 16 years ago. He said: "I think this (Powell's record) will last longer than Beamon's record".3. TBS's anchors Oda Yuji and Nakai Miho should be praised for doing a great job. It's not easy to anchor an event like track & field for 9 straight days. What they may lack in technical expertise they more than compensated with an infectious enthusiasm for the sport. I've watched lots of technically correct broadcasts that utterly lacked passion. No wonder many people think track is boring. With their enthusiastic comments, peppered with word such as "sugoi" (amazing), and "subarashii" (spectacular), Oda-san and Nakai-san have won the sports many fans.4. No world records, but some great performances. Couple of athletes to watch in the next couple of years:
- Jeremy Wariner is getting closer and closer to Michael Johnson's record.
- Allyson Felix. Watch her out not only in the 200m but also in the 400m (she ran a superb 2nd-leg in the 4x4 relay)
5. It's great to see athletes from Panama, Sri Lanka, and Ecuador winning medals.
6. One of the greatest upsets in the championship was Bahamian Donald Thomas' victory. He took up high jump a year ago (!) and his unorthodox style (to say the least) is easily noticeable as his legs move frantically in mid-air as if trying to climb an invisible ladder. It seems to help him as he jumped 2.35m to beat the best high jumpers in the world. It was priceless to see Olympic champion, Swedish Stefan Holm's face of disbelief when Thomas cleared 2.33m.
7. As a preview of next year's Olympics in Beijing, it seems there won't be too many surprises: the US, Russia, Kenya and Ethiopia seem poised to dominate the events. I had thought that China would've come up with a stronger performance but apart from Liu Xiang no other star appeared.
That's it. Can't wait for Beijing 2008.

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