After smashing 13 goals past Taiwan and Thailand, Australia will confront a resolute China as they fight to avoid an Olympic qualifying play-off with South Korea.
This week’s Top 5 should probably focus on sport – Citius, Altius, Fortius, and all that. However, the Internet is not currently large enough for me to express my admiration for Stephanie Rice in full, so I’ve decided to focus this week’s effort on the show behind the show.
1. Coronation of a King and Queen (c)
The King and Queen shall be searched for, and the King and Queen shall be found. Easy job this time around, with S Rice mixing talent, good looks and killer instinct to strike gold. Phelps has done the same minus the good looks – although I suspect he’ll do ok regardless.
2. Random time-shifting
Sure Channel 7 messes around a bit, and all ball sports are broadcast in 97 parts, but NBC are the true masters of the time-shifting art. I boarded a flight in Sydney last Friday as the Opening Ceremony was starting; when I disembarked 14 hours later the broadcast was just beginning in San Francisco. They also described events (such as Liesel Jones’ first gold) as live when they were only live on the East Coast – where I was trying to watch were on 3 hour delay. Then again, they pay for the Olympics so I suppose they can do whatever they want.
3. Dissing the Host City because Sydney 2000 was better
Pre-2000 Aussie hacks would take a view on the Host City early on and then stick to it. So Barcelona = Flaming Arrow + European Sophistication = Everything Is Great, whereas Atlanta = Pipe Bombs And Coca-Cola = Dump In Georgia Russia Can Have If It Wants To. Since the Sydney Games, however, the mission has been refined. Now journos must find Reasons Why This Games Is Not As Good As Ours. Luckily Beijing has delivered its own imposing Top 5:
* Smog of Death
* Faked Opening Ceremony
* Ugly Girl Boned In Favour Of Someone Cuter
* Sold Out Events With No Crowds
* Every Tourist Murdered or Run Over
* And all of the above disguised by shameless propaganda.
Lucky we have fair-minded people on the case, right?
4. Taking the SBS Lucky Dip
SBS’s Olympic value proposition is the TV equivalent of the denominator: sports you never watch, not featuring Australia. Last night it was the vital clash between Denmark and Russia in European Handball. Fantastic.
5. Use of the phrase “Surprise Packet”
I confess there have been no confirmed ‘sightings’ of the phrase this week; indeed I heard an NBC commentator refer to one swimmer simply as the ‘surprise’ of the meet, not realising that the unexpected comes in packets. Nevertheless I am confident Bruce McAvaney busted out the phrase at least once in my absence, and am looking forward to increased usage as action switches to the track.