Thursday, February 25, 2010

Olympic Fever!

My thoughts are becoming more and more random these days, and this is being exemplified with mental exhaustion that has pretty much put me in a very sullen mood this past week. Combined with the never-ending stream of coursework to deal with, I find myself slowly devolving into a one-man party, having conversations with myself and sometimes not just inside my head.

So earlier this week I was waiting for the 210 bus at Finsbury Park, and at the terminus there was a parked 210 with the doors shut and light off, but with the driver still inside. Outside the bus gathered 15 or 20 people, myself included, in the cold and patiently waiting for the bus to start running. Interestingly, the driver was inside at his seat sipping at a cup of hot coffee waiting for his next shift.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I didn't expect myself to be let into the bus before it started running just so I could get out of the cold. Bus drivers all have a timetable to adhere and stick to, though a fair number of them just simply couldn't be bothered. What I was bemused at, however, so the driver's strong yet perverted sense of resolve, where he had the courage to sip coffee within the warm interiors of his bus in front of dozens of waiting passengers. Positive or not? Admirable in a way? I can't really decide.

Almost my entire past week has been mostly preoccupied with continuous watching of the Winter Olympics. I guess part of the reason is because I'm catching up on all the ones I missed previously -- Singapore never ever had TV coverage of the Winter Olympics, up till 2006 as far as I know. I guess we can't be bothered with keeping up with an international sports meet in which we know we will never win in a hundred lifetimes. Then again, watching something as exciting as the Olympics wouldn't make a lot of sense if you didn't have one or two teams to root for, so I've been paying particular interest to Team GB's progress especially in curling and the sliding events.

Still, nothing beats the exhilaration from watching the South Korean team on the short track -- it's hard not to root for them indeed. Apart from their obvious blazing speed, their style, race strategy and signature tactic of skating from behind in the last few laps make it even more exciting. On the other hand, the US team for short track has been quite rubbish to watch, to be honest. A lot of pushing and shoving from J R Celski and Katherine Reutter, with Apollo Anton Ohno taking the cake for being rough on and off the track. Who can forget the unpleasant verbal comments he had for the South Korean team after winning through lucky circumstances in the 1,500m finals!

I was just watching the 500m qualifying races earlier just now and the commentators were just talking about how Simon Cho, representing the US, could be from Korea "given his name". He placed second behind South Korea (of course) for that particular race, and I couldn't help but think of how Singapore is doing the same -- "poaching" Chinese table tennis players then fielding them against China under the Singapore flag, only for them to lose to their former fellow countrymen and women. This is most recently exemplified in Beijing two years ago. Must be quite the lousy feeling!

I've becoming quite a fan of curling as well, and have been tracking Team GB's progress quite closely. The men's team just crashed out just shy of the semifinals, which is a shame. And of course, Eve Muirhead skipping the women's team was quite the feat, given the fact 19-year-old's debut at the Olympics has been wrought with heaps of pressure. Very good effort! In the meantime, it's the women's bobsleigh that's under way as I'm typing this, and Great Britain 1 just crashed at the notorious (but admittedly very exciting) track at Whistler Sliding Centre. Those who've been watching the sliding events will remember how Dan Money and John Jackson crashed at the infamous corner 13 last week. Tonight two teams have already crashed at corner 11, and not all teams have finished their fourth run in the heats, with Great Britain 1 being one of them.

Well, it's only a couple days left for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and I must say I'm going to miss it -- and eagerly anticipate the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi! Then again, I should stop staying up till 3am everyday watching the Olympics...

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