Saturday, August 20, 2016

Rio Olympics 2016 II

The surprising highlight for me so far in these Olympics was the Womens Hockey finals where the Dutch  team was the favourite to win. In fact the Dutch were indeed in my humble opinion the stronger team and had the Team GB girls on the defensive for most of the game although against the run of play, Team GB scored the first goal.

I do not recollect ever watching  women's hockey teams playing the sport at high level before and was reminded of the first ladies football match which I saw with friends at Wembley Stadium during the London 2012 Olympics. The match was the final between Japan v USA as I recollect and one of the fascinating traits there, was that of the  children in the supporting crowds particularly the Japanese, being dressed in national costume  making the whole event extremely colourful and quite unusual.

Women's football is  rather different from men's however as there is often less power but more strategy whereas I surmise that  in hockey men's and women's games are more or less similar.

In any event the  Dutch  ladies who are the world champions almost won last night but conceded a goal late in the game leading to a penalty shoot out. The Team GB goalkeeper Maddie Hinch, had played extraordinarily well throughout the match and helped substantially in keeping the Dutch lead down to only one goal in the 4th quarter. However Team GB scored just before full time but then won the penalty shoot out and gold medal with more fine goal keeping (if that is the right expression in hockey).

Sadly though some of the issues relating to Olympic Games management and a few participants are coming to the fore once more. Doping scandals before the Games resulted in many Russian athletes being banned and possibly even the whole of the Russian paralympic team will not be able to participate. The high jinxs of 4 US swimmers after their sessions were one thing but their pretence later that they had been at risk of being robbed at gunpoint was quite another. The abject apology tendered by the US team to the Rio mayor  sadly shows where the serious fault lay. The arrest of the senior Irish Olympic official for allegedly making or trying to (which he denies) millions out of illicit ticket sales, is a further reminder of the need to reform the Olympic management in much the same way as is said to be required for FIFA and indeed arguably for some world motor racing organisations.

Another sad aspect affecting the Rio Olympics at this stage at least are the financial shadows being thrown over the forthcoming Paralympic Games there. Hopefully these shadows will be dispelled before the Paralympics actually commence.

Meanwhile so far at least, well done Team GB.

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