Tuesday, July 13, 2004


It's only a month before the Olympic Games start in Athens.

Yesterday's power cut in the Greek capital led to further press prognostications of "it'll all end in tears". We'll see.

Doomsayers may wish to allude to the start date of the Games start - Friday the 13th of August. (However, I learnt today that Friday the 13th is not an unlucky day in Greece - but, Tuesday the 13th is. Er, that's today.)

It was 40 deg C in Athens yesterday. Just imagine what it's going to be like in August. Those poor British track and field souls qualifying in Manchester's rain and cold over the weekend will find conditions a wee bit different. But, in past Games, athletes have had to suffer the heat and altitude of Mexico City, the humidity and chronically bad organisation of Atlanta and other indignities.

"Official" web sites usually leave the Donut cold. But, go and have a look at the excellent Olympics web site. It's certainly refreshing compared to say the Euro 2004 walking advert. You'll struggle to find out much about the official Games' sponsors though I understand McDonalds(tm) are sponsoring defibrillators (boom, boom).

Apart from the usual history of each Olympiad, there's a full database of medal winners and potted bios of heroes over the years. I've come across some pretty bizarre stuff. Did you know that tug-of-war featured in early incarnations of the modern Olympics? Deer shooting was an event in the 1908 London games. And, cricket was an Olympic sport just once, Paris in 1900. As you'd expect, Britain won the gold. But, who do you think won the silver?

I had only a short time to surf through the site today. For novelty value you would be hard pressed to top the 1908 Games. And, I'm not talking about the famous marathon runner who was disqualified for receiving help from officials. No, check out American 110 metre hurdle champion, Forrest Smithson, who ran with a bible in his hand.

:: Posted by pete @ 13:02