Sunday, July 29, 2012


When you live in another country during the Olympics, you really develop a better understanding for national pride and interest in athletics - or at least in Olympic sports.  French coverage of the Olympics focuses heavily on events featuring French athletes.  I can't complain about this, but it means that so far we've seen a fair amount of handball, table tennis, and judo.

A French athlete, Priscilla Gneto, won a bronze medal in judo today - and I'm pretty sure I've seen the replay of her medal-winning match four times today.  And I've only had the Olympics on for 2 hours.  The French seem VERY excited about this judo business. 

Handball is a sport that I can honestly say I have never watched before this weekend.  The French, however, must really like handball (or they have another reason perhaps for featuring the Denmark versus Sweden women's match - think tall, leggy, blond girls running around in shorts for an hour).  They like it better than swimming, which is our favorite, but every opportunity to cut away from swimming for even five minutes, there is either an update on handball, or a replay of the afore-mentioned judo match.

Of course, the other downside for me is that French coverage of the Olympics is all in French.  We found a site that streams BBC, and the British are really into swimming. I now know more about Becky Adlington, the British swimmer who won bronze tonight in the 400m free, than I really ever needed to.  To be fair, I don't think the British are any more interested in their athletes than we are in Michael Phelps or other headlining US Olympic athletes.  Yet because she's not from my country, I can't say that I was moved to root for Adlington.  Go USA. 

At the Hotel de Ville in Paris, there is a huge screen that is showing live Olympics throughout the Games.  They've even put out huge pillows and lounge chairs to encourage comfortable viewing.  It's actually pretty great, except you're still stuck watching judo repeats and handball games.

Hotel de Ville. On the screen is a French girl who won silver in some shooting event.