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How we Ice Skate

Yes, the Olympics might be over (don’t worry, I’ll get you the over view and report in a day or so), but that doesn’t mean we can’t sit back and learn a thing or two about the science behind the sports.  It’s surprising, but I’ve never seen something like this before.  I knew most of the theory behind it, but never actually saw it in high speed like that.

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The Skeleton

This Olympics I’m all about the sliding sports – Bobsleigh, Luge, Skeleton.  One thing that I didn’t know about Skeleton is that the athletes can choose to decorate their helmets with awesome designs.

Here’s my favorite:

Katie Uhlaender

Katie Uhlaender’s Eagle and Stripes helmet.

The Brain helmet is pretty cool too:

John Fairbairn

John Fairbairn is from Canada though, and as of today, I don’t like them that much.  It will pass, but today they and us are not friends.

 

Another Canadian, Mellisa Hollingsworth, has what looks like a T-Rex on her helmet:

Mellisa Hollingsworth

 

Here’s an album containing a bunch more helmet art.

Noelle Pikus-Pace

 

Finally, here’s the Silver Medal winner from the USA, Noelle Pikus-Pace.

{jugglu}

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Curlers in their Natural Habitat

Sir David Attenborough, the younger brother of eccentric billionaire John Hammond, has worked his magic on the sport of Curling.  You know David Attenborough’s voice, you’ve heard it many times over the years narrating all sorts of things.  His voice is one of those that you could listen to forever.

His overview of Curling is not exactly 100% accurate, but it’s well worth the watch.

{reddit}

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Meteorite Medals

One year ago today a meteorite entered the atmosphere over Russia traveling at about 42,000 MPH.  It was labeled the Chelyabinsk meteor, and in honor of the anniversary, all Olympians who win a Gold medal in today’s events will be given a special commemorative medal containing a piece of that meteorite.

Gold medal events today include:

  • Men’s 1,500m speedskating
  • Men’s (1,300m)’s & Women’s (1,000m) short-track speed skating
  • Women’s relay cross-country skiing
  • Men’s ski jumping (K-125)
  • Women’s giant slalom
  • Men’s skeleton

Here’s them making the special meteorite medal:

Meteorite Medal

Here’s the regular Gold medal that athletes have the opportunity to win:

Gold Medal

I gotta say, that’s a pretty nice looking medal.  I like the cutout in the middle with the prism.  Apparently making these medals takes upwards of 18 hours.  On the front is the Olympic Rings, while on the reverse is the English name of the event, and along the edge is the official name of the Games in English, French, and Russian.

{space.com|National Geographic|sochi 2014}

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Winter Olympics of Yesteryear

1924 was the first dedicated Winter Olympics.  In previous games, some of the events were held in the summer games if the weather permitted it.

The games were held in Charmonix France, at the base of Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in the Alps.  You can see the peaks in the background of some of the figure skating.  Impressive.  I wish they had some outdoor events at the current Olympics.

Fast forwarding 8 years, not much has changed.  Here is a video of The III Winter Olympic games (1932 Winter Olympics) from across the pond over in Lake Placid NY USA:

http://youtu.be/kKcycSJzXHI

That bobsleigh looks damn right deadly.  It’s not covered, it’s just a sled.  However it doesn’t look nearly as fast as the current ones, or Luge for that matter.

Ski jumping also looks dated.  Bare snow to go down instead of a nice track to keep you straight.  Still looks easy, toobad it’s probably one of the more scary events, at least if you’re afraid of heights that is.

WTF is that stilts figure skating thing though.  That looks dangerous, but also impressive in it’s own right.

One thing that you’ll notice about these games, (and that I pointed out above) is the outdoor events.  It just makes everything look more fun, and more spur of the moment.  I’m not talking about the bobsleigh, more of hockey, or figure skating, or speed skating.

Now figure skating probably shouldn’t be contested outdoors, it would be dangerous, and unfair because of the sun glare.  But I think that speed skating could benefit from one event outdoors.  Take like the 1,000m, or 5,000m event, and double it but make it an out door race.  That would be so cool.  I’d watch that.  Especially if it were snowing out.  Yea, that’d be sick.

{1924 reddit|1932 reddit}

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Luge POV

The Luge is my  favorite sport of the 2014 games.  In 2010 it was Curling, but in that defense it was because a a stellar looking Russian team.  Anyway, I’ve been watching all of the Luge events.  Doubles is pretty crazy, 2 people laying on top of one another hurtling themselves down an ice track at 80+ MPH.  Where can I sign up?

I’ve always wanted to try Bobsleigh, because well, The Jamaican’s , but luckily, the same course is used for Skeleton, and Luge.  Honestly, I want to try all three of those events.  Yes, even after watching the above video which is a First Person point of view of going down the actual Luge track at Sochi.  Top speed so far has been 140 KPH which is just under 87 Miles Per Hour, which is almost fast enough to travel back in time.

In case you were wondering how they resurface the ice of these tracks.  This is how:

They showed this in between Women’s runs of the Luge last night.

{reddit}

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Welcome to Sochi

Olympic Flag

 

Officially, the XXII Olympic Winter Games start now.  The Opening Ceremony is now.  But US Americans will  have to wait ~8 hours due to NBC though, apparently they didn’t learn anything from the bad press of the unnecessary delays of the London Games.  Whatever.

I don’t plan on watching much of it on Television anyway.  I’ll be streaming it.  After all, I have to beat my records from the 2010 games.  I think that’s do able.  If only because more things will be in HD.  However, I do have the benefit of a full time job now.  So I’ll need to be staying up late watching these games in order to catch up.

It’s still a shame that I won’t get to be there, despite all the controversy that’s going on right now.

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The Olympics

The Olympics are over, man, was that a good 17 days.  The Winter Olympics are really the one sport I love to watch. Every sport in it.  I watched almost every event.  Yes that includes curling, which I watched every (women’s) match.  There were some good ones, and some sad ones, but the Gold Medal game was up there for my second favorite.

All in all I watched countless hours of video.  Often times having 2 events going on at once.  One being streamed on NBColympics.com, one watching on TV.  Once I watched 3, that was alittle too much, mostly because I had to constantly mute them when they went to commercials (more on that, and NBColympics.com in general below).

Total though, I streamed gigabytes of data to my computer.  Don’t believe me, take a look at these beautiful graphics:

That’s the stats recorded by my router.  The highest day as you can see was the 23rd, with 33.8 GB.  The reason for that.  Curling.  There were alot of curling matches that day, only one of my favorite Russian team, but still at least 3 different matches which I watched live, and another 5 or 6 that I streamed throughout the rest of the day.

And to back it up, here is a shot of my Windows Task Manager:

The number of bytes received is: 238,385,189,425  that equals 222.013 GB.  That’s alot.  And, all of that came from Olympic coverage, as I restarted my computer the Friday of Opening day.

Yes, I’m crazy for watching so much.  But let me ask you this.  Am I more crazy for recording it all, and then being excited about all of it?  I don’t know, personally I think they’re both pretty bad.

Now.  Onto my favorite sports, and my favorite moments, and my favorite people.

Curling

I watched curling back in 2002, didn’t understand it, and forgot about it right away almost.  I didn’t watch it at all in 2006, but in 2010, I got addicted.

I’m pretty sure I got so involved in curling for 2 reasons:

  1. there were dozens of games on every day.  That and hockey were the only things streamed live on NBColympics.com.
  2. The Russian women’s Curling Team

Mostly that second point.

How can you not like that smile of Anna Sidorvoa?  With Liudmala Privivkova behind in the background also with a gorgeous smile.  Beautiful picture credit goes to Flickr user RyAwesome.

But I’ve grown to understand the sport, and am going so far as to actually go try playing it this weekend.

Hockey

I love hockey.  It’s really the only sport that I really truly love.  It’s the one sport that I can get into and just forget I spent 20 minutes watching.  Anyway, there were alot of hockey games, and, I tried to watch all of them, (This time the men’s cause women’s hockey isn’t as interesting as men’s (no checking)).  But both were equally enjoyable.  Of all the goals though, 2 stand out in my head as just memorable:

  1. The breakaway goal by Kristaps Sotnieks (number 5 on this list) that’s just textbook awesome right there
  2. Jocelyne Lamoureux’s against China, watch this, just watch it.  Even if you don’t like hockey, or don’t get the sport, you will realize that this goal was good

Of course the two final games bronze medal and gold medal in men’s hockey were just phenomenal.  For a minute it looked like

Speed Skating

I’m not much of a speed skating fan, but I like to watch it just cause of crazy awesome wipe-outs like this.  And it’s really not a wipe-out as much as the most unique way to win.

In the women’s pursuit Anni Friesinger just stumbled and ran out of energy on the last couple hundred feet of the race, and she swam across the finish line.  The look on her face was priceless as it changed from sorry, distress and anger to sheer joy and happiness.

Snowboarding

Ok.  I watched no snowboarding.  I just don’t like the sport.  Not much else to say about that.  But I did have various things streaming constantly, and one snowboarding event caught my eye.  That’s Callan Chythlook-Sifsof willpower to continue her race, even though she fell.  That right there, that’s what the Olympics are all about.  And in 4 years Morgan Freeman will be narrating a Visa commercial with that clip in it.

Like this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwApphZ3dpQ

Figure Skating

I watch figure skating, but I don’t follow it, and don’t really understand the difference between all the different jumps, and crazy things they do.  But that being said, I watch it cause it’s fun.  And Elene Gedevanishvili made her Ladies’ short program great.  I think she performed flawlessly, but I’m no Official Olympic judge.  The smile on her face when she finished alone would have been enough for me to give her a medal.  Doesn’t matter which, but she should have had one.

NBCOlympics.com

Oh how I loved you, and hated you, and enjoyed you, and cursed at you.  You provided me with (in theory) uninterrupted live HD coverage of each and every curling match, and very soon HD coverage of every other event.

Here’s the problem though, you had alot of problems!

In order to watch full replays you had to perform some weird connection to prove that you actually get Cable to your house.  Or something.  I don’t know cause I checked off Cablevision, and then the whole thing just refreshed and I was able to watch everything.  Multiple other people though said they had to actually loginto their various cable provider accounts.  A.  Why did I not have to do anything (I bet it’s cause Cablevision is awesome, cause it is).  B. Why do you have to do it to begin with?

Advertisements, you had alot of them.  And there was no rhyme or reason to them either.  Some events (most notably the full event replays of ski jumping, and downhill) had no interruptions at all, just 2 hours of straight uncommentated skiing.   That was great cause I was able to have those open in one window, and do work, or watch something else at the same time.

Other times though you had 10 minutes of commercials.  And you didn’t even jumble them up.  If P & G and Audi were the sponsors for this event, those are the only commercials shown.  I liked the commercial, but come on.  Watching it 5 times in a row, and then watching the spinning NBC Olympics Icon for a further 2 minutes is just annoying.

Now, if you had Progressive as a sponsor, I wouldn’t mind watching Flo 7 or 8 hundred times.

Silverlight needs to die.  Sure, it was nice watching HD coverage in full screen and not using 100% of my processor.  But the system hangs, the ammount of RAM used, and various other problems I discovered about it are too much to be worth it.  Here’s just a list of things wrong.

Spacebar does not pause/play the video.  I don’t know what it does.  Sometimes it goes full screen/not full screen, sometimes it does nothing.  The spacebar is to pause or resume play of the video/audio.  That is one of the oldest standards in video.  I don’t know if it was Microsoft’s fault for not making it that way, or NBC’s fault for not implementing it in the code, but it must be fixed for 2014.

When in full screen mode there is far too much going on.  For starters, the entire controls stay visible.  They never disappear into the background.  Next there’s a giant ad on the top.  I get it, you want to make money NBC, but that’s just ridiculous.  Also, full screen is not black like it should be, its blue.  That really adds to the distraction of watching it.  Especially since the mouse does not disappear either.  It just stays visible.  That’s another full screen video standard that is not in use here, not sure who’s fault it is, but it must be fixed.

Also, I can’t embed anything.  Why?

I want to share these moments, I have to force people to go to their site, and watch it, that’s the opposite of social NBC.

This last part is just something I want to add, but no one’s fault really.  I’d like playlists.  So I could just queue up some different events, and not have to worry about it.  I can’t, you should fix that.

Hopefully they can get these issues fixed in time for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi Russia.  But what about London in 2012, I don’t watch the Summer games, they are not nearly as fun, or interesting.

Now I think that’s all I wanted to say. about these Olympic games.  I’m probably missing some things, or some awesome things that happened in the games, but whatever, onto other stuff.

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Watch the Olympics

I address you this afternoon not as a ruler of this blog, not as the member of the elite, but as a citizen of humanity.  We are faced with the very gravest of challenges, The Ancient Greeks called this time the Olympiad, the challenge of challenges.  For the first time in the history of the planet, a species has the technology to show these events live all over the globe you can know who will win the curling match.  Our inner thirst for excellence and knowledge, every step on the ladder of progress, even the wars get put on hold so we our nations can provide the tools to win these honorable battles.   Through all of the chaos that is in our world, through all of the wrongs, and mistakes, there is one thing that has elevated our species above our origins, and that is our  desire to win.  The fate of the world rests in the hands of these 2,629 flying into Canada. May we all citizens the world over see these events through, Godspeed, and good luck to you

Yes, I did spend all night coming up with a speech to match the President’s speech in Armageddon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCJeR0UebR8

Yes, I do think that movie is one of the best ever made.

Also you should totally watch the Olympics.  I’ve been streaming them non stop to my computer since Saturday.  There’s nothing like live curling action.

I do have one thing to say though, there are far too many commercials on the non-live games.  Its kinda frustrating, but whatever, I have like 3 different events going on at once, I’m crazy I know.