Judged Sports, and the Gymnastics Medals
I am fortunate that I'm not hanging out in the wrong forums. Otherwise, I'm sure I'd be completely sick of people pointing out that the judging controversy in the Men's Artistic Gymnastics All-Around competition was proof that judged sports should be eliminated from the Olympics. However, I'm going to post my counter arguments anyway.
First, there is no sport known that cannot have its outcome effected by human misjudging. A few sports, such as the Track races in athletics, are trying to reduce the human factor as much as possible by using mechanical detectors and timers. But most sports don't have that ability. Unless the rules of the sport allow for an indefinite period where someone can protest non-malicious misjudging, than once the results that include that misjudging are final, they should be final and nobody, or no body, should attempt to alter them.
In the case of the Korean gymnast's parallel bars routine, there was sufficient evidence that the pool of judges that sets the start value, the maximum score that a perfectly executed routine can get, made a mistake. However, there has been no credible evidence, at least that I've heard, that this was anything other than human error and incompetence. However, I think that the NBC commentators did make a credible case that there were other scoring errors that missed possible deductions equal to the lowered start value. The bottom line is that I'm convinced that if a new pool of judges that were somehow unaware of the original outcome were to judge the entire competition that there is a very good chance that the scores would be different, and that the outcome might be. However, this is not how the sport is played. The judges make tier decision, and once they've scored the meet, the meet is scored.
US Men's Basketball team looses in the semi-final
I'm not a big fan of basketball. I will still enjoy a UNM game if I get a chance to see one, but I've quit going out of my way to see the Lobo's play. Beyond that, I usually pass by the basketball games, including the games at the Olympics.
However, that didn't stop me from thinking about why the failed to win the Gold Metal for only the third time they've been in the Olympic Basketball tournament. I only saw a few minutes of the games, but I think I know why. Most of the team was made up of NBA players, and they weren't really a team. Many NBA teams are more a collection of stars, and an "All-Star" team will be worse. These guys weren't used to playing on, or against, teams that think and act like teams.
On top of that, the NBA, from what I've heard, doesn't allow teams to play defense, or at least not zone defense. So the US NBA players weren't used to having to attack a zone defense. Finally, this result has convinced me that the NBA doesn't encourage its players to have good fundamental skills. As long as they can score lots of showy points past a one-on-one defense, they can be an NBA player or star.
If we really want to be competitive in the arena of world athletics, we should play by their rules. If I could be made Basketball Czar for the US, I'd make the NBA, the NCAA, the high school associations, etc. play by the same rules used in the Olympics and other international tournaments. Further, I'd make sure that the team for the Olympics and the world championships wasn't a "Dream Team" but was the winner of the most recent NBA or NCAA tournament, with only the players who were ineligible to represent the US replaced with players from other teams.
After watching the Olympics this year, I've decided that I really would like to actually go to the games some time. Of the scheduled games, I might be tempted to go to Vancouver for the 2010 winter games, except I'd prefer to go to the summer games (warmer, more sports I'd like to see).
Therefore, I've become interested in who hosts the 2012 summer games. Given the likely host cities (Paris, New York, London and others) New York would be the easiest to get to. Therefore, I'm in favor of New York winning.
However, if the games go to Paris, and then the 2016 games come to Chicago (or Phoenix, Seattle, Dallas or another US city), I'd be happier. Actually, I think Chicago would be a good host for the Olympics, and better than the other's I've listed. (Phoenix would probably be too hot, and I have no idea where they'd do sailing anywhere near there). Of course a Chicago Olympics would have at least one distinction over nearly every other host city. I think it would be the first time that Olympic sailing was held in fresh water.