Further update on the Sydney Olympics: The medals show the Colosseum, Rome, instead of the traditional Greek architecture. The artist has defended himself, saying it's just a colosseum, not the Colosseum, but that doesn't wash. The Australian Olympic medals clearly depict the scene of the slaughter of tens of thousands, the great Arena. It's now too late to melt down and re-cast the medals, so if you win a medal in Sydney, you'll take away a symbol of human blood sport.

Final standings:

Rank  Country                               G  S  B  Total
----------------------------------------------------------
 1    United States                        39 25 33    97
 2    Russian Federation                   32 28 28    88 
 3    People's Republic of China           28 16 15    59
 4    Australia                            16 25 17    58 
 5    Germany                              14 17 26    57  
 6    France                               13 14 11    38 
 7    Italy                                13  8 13    34
 8    Netherlands                          12  9  4    25
 9    Cuba                                 11 11  7    29
10    Great Britain                        11 10  7    28        
11    Romania                              11  6  9    26   
12    Korea                                 8  9 11    28
13    Hungary                               8  6  3    17
14    Poland                                6  5  3    14
15    Japan                                 5  8  5    18   
16    Bulgaria                              5  6  2    13
17    Greece                                4  6  2    13
18    Sweden                                4  5  3    12
19    Norway                                4  3  3    10
20    Ethiopia                              4  1  3     8 
21    Ukraine                               3 10 10    23   
22    Kazakhstan                            3  4  0     7
23    Belarus                               3  3 11    17
24    Canada                                3  3  8    14
25    Spain                                 3  3  5    11
26    Islamic Republic of Iran              3  0  1     4
26    Turkey                                3  0  1     4
28    Czech Republic                        2  2  3     7
29    Kenya                                 2  3  2     7
30    Denmark                               2  3  1     6
31    Finland                               2  1  1     4
32    Austria                               2  1  0     3
33    Lithuania                             2  0  3     5
34    Azerbaijan                            2  0  1     3
35    Slovenia                              2  0  0     2
36    Switzerland                           1  6  2     9
37    Indonesia                             1  3  2     6
38    Slovakia                              1  3  1     5
39    Mexico                                1  2  3     6
40    Algeria                               1  1  3     5
41    Uzbekistan                            1  1  2     4
42    Latvia                                1  1  1     3
42    Yugoslavia                            1  1  1     3
44    Bahamas                               1  1  0     2
45    New Zealand                           1  0  3     4
46    Estonia                               1  0  2     3
46    Thailand                              1  0  2     3
48    Croatia                               1  0  1     2
49    Cameroon                              1  0  0     1
49    Colombia                              1  0  0     1
49    Mozambique                            1  0  0     1
52    Brazil                                0  6  6    12
53    Jamaica                               0  4  3     7
54    Nigeria                               0  3  0     3
55    Belgium                               0  2  3     5
55    South Africa                          0  2  3     5
57    Argentina                             0  2  2     4
58    Morocco                               0  1  4     5
58    Chinese Taipei                        0  1  4     5
60    DPR Korea                             0  1  3     4
61    Saudi Arabia                          0  1  1     2
61    Republic of Moldova                   0  1  1     2
61    Trinidad & Tobago                     0  1  1     2
64    Ireland                               0  1  0     1
64    Uruguay                               0  1  0     1
64    Vietnam                               0  1  0     1
67    Georgia                               0  0  6     6
68    Costa Rica                            0  0  2     2
68    Portugal                              0  0  2     2
70    Armenia                               0  0  2     2
70    Barbados                              0  0  1     1
70    Chile                                 0  0  1     1
70    India                                 0  0  1     1
70    Iceland                               0  0  1     1
70    Israel                                0  0  1     1
70    Kyrgyzstan                            0  0  1     1
70    Kuwait                                0  0  1     1
70    Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 0  0  1     1
70    Qatar                                 0  0  1     1
70    Sri Lanka                             0  0  1     1
This is:         Olympics 2000 - Sydney
Go to:           Olympic Summer Games   Olympic Winter Games   Ancient Olympic Games
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Olympics 2000 - Sydney, Australia
No. of countries: 200
No. of athletes: - ( m + w)
No. of events: 296

Swimming replaced track and field as the main event this time. Most noticable from T&F: a white guy wins the sprint distance 200 meters. The first Olympics that didn't have a world record set in track and field. Cameroon has declared a public holiday to celebrate its national soccer team's Olympic gold medal.

Inge de Bruijn set three new world records and won three gold medals. CJ Hunter made a fool out of himself. Marion Jones, Michael Johnson and Cathy Freeman won expected gold medals.

Most medals: Alexei Nemov of Russia, Men's Gymnastics, 2 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze.

2001.12.07@13:33 Catchpole says Steve Redgrave becomes first modern olympian to win gold in 5 consecutive games

Lessons on human behavior from the Sydney Olympics

Today 17 world class gymnasts did miserably on the vaulting horse during the all-round section of the womens gymnastics in the Olympic games here in Sydney.

The horse had been set 5cm (2 inches) too low. This was only discovered after the second rotation had ended, when more than half of the gymnasts had already done their vault, most doing miserably, some falling on their butts, on their bellies or simply flying off when they should have performed brilliantly.

As a result of this, many great gymnasts were disillusioned and lost confidence in themselves. Svetlana Khorkina, the crowd favourite for a gold medal and reigning world champion in the uneven bars was so shaken that she fell off during her routine on the assymetric bars and finished 11th*. Elise Ray slipped and fell off the balance beam.

What irks me is how the officials managed to allow so many gymnasts to stumble so badly before checking the equipment. The automatic reaction from everyone concerned was that it must have been a fluke or that the pressure was getting to these girls.

"... they were dropping like flies and nobody could figure what was the problem on vault."
Why did it take so long before the problem was identified as being the equipment rather than the humans involved?

Did the officials think the ones who slipped were just uncoordinated or unlucky? Did the other gymnasts who had not yet had their turn also think so? These were women who had trained for years to represent their country and nobody thought that it was weird that they were all performing worse on this vault than expected?

Worse still, some of these same gymnasts had performed the exact same vault several days earlier during the team event and had performed admirably well. Why didn't the danger bells go off in the officials heads when they started dropping like flies?


Strangely enough, I can relate to this incident. Not on the same scale as the Olympic games, of course, but significant nonetheless to my life. About seven years ago, when I first took the driving tests for obtaining a driver's license, I managed to somehow fail the multiple choice exam on road safety, road signs and driving rules. This was preposterous, of course, as the questions were ridiculously easy and it would have take either someone with language problems to not understand the questions or some serious cognitive impairment not to be able to choose the correct options. In fact, the sample paper I had a gander at before the actual exam was so simple that I refused to study for the exam.

The passing mark was 47 right answers out of 50 questions. I got back a result of 7. My parents were shocked and questioned why I did not study for the paper. Friends of my parents tried to calm me saying that I might have misunderstood the questions. Personally, settling down after a few minutes of shock, I figured that they must have marked my (multiple choice, A/B/C/D) answers against a different wrong set of questions (the exam questions are different depending on which set of questions you got, ranging from set A to set Z and possibly beyond).

I protested that this was the most likely cause of my low score. That it was unthinkable that I could score anywhere near that low for such a simple paper. My parents' friends continued to tell me to take the book and study and try again soon. Even my parents did not come to my side immediately but instead scolded me for a short period.

To cut a long story short, I stuck to my guns and they retrieved my answers and marked it against the question sets adjacent to what they had done before (I think they marked my answers against set S originally and they remarked it against set R and set T) ... and lo and behold ... I scored 49 out of 50 against one of the other question sets. They had stuffed up on recording which question paper I had been given.


I think the point I am trying to make here is that there is a human over-tendency to blame the person under pressure when something stuffs up. More consideration should always be taken when someone does not perform as well as should be expected.

More so when several world class gymnasts do not perform as expected. On the same routine on the same vault.

Apologies were offered and a re-vault was offered to all gymnasts who were affected before the error was discovered. By then, some had already done other routines, having been shaken by their performance on the vault. I think the least the officials should have done was to offer a restart of the entire evening, to put everyone back on equal footing. This was not done, to the benefit of all the other gymnasts who had not yet gotten to the vault in their rotation yet.


Moral of the story? Listen and see - do not ignore the bloody obvious.


News articles:
http://www.abc.net.au/olympics/news/2000/09/item20000922080404_1.htm
http://abc.net.au/olympics/GYMNASTICS/news/2000/09/item20000920093730_1.htm
http://sports.yahoo.com/oly/news/reuters/20000921/reu-gymnastics_vault.html
http://www.freep.com/news/latestnews/pm305_20000921.htm


* Update: Svetlana Khorkina has gone on to win a gold medal in the individual event for the uneven bars in the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Sydney 2000 Olympics IT Facts and Figures

As many people know, IBM is the worldwide technology sponsor for the Olympics and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games is their last one. Having followed the efforts of IBM in providing the IT resources for the Games, I hereby present some facts and figures that I have gleaned from a multitude of newspaper, website, radio and press releases.

Olympics Web Site Traffic (www.olympics.com)

Facts & Figures

  • 7,300 IBM PCs and ThinkPads connected to the Olympic Games IT network.
  • 4,300+ IT volunteers worldwide worked on the Olympic Games IT systems.
  • 2,000 INFO workstations and kiosks located throughout the Olympic venues in Sydney.
  • 1,500+ IBM technology specialists worked on the Olympic Games IT systems.
  • 200 IBM technology specialists and volunteers needed to run the technology at the Olympic stadium alone.
  • The equivalent of 50 laps of cable (10km) was laid in the stadium to handle the data feed to scoreboards, officials and media.
  • 815 network switches
  • 540 Netfinity Servers supported the Games Management System storing massive amounts of data (4.7 terabytes) generated throughout the Games.
  • 50 RS/6000 PC and 3 RS/6000 SP servers managed and organized data generated by Olympics.com and INFO.
  • 38 international test events for Games systems held prior to Sydney Games.
  • 13 million lines of software code written for the Games (1 line of code needed to be fixed during the Olympics).
  • 3 S/390 Parallel Sysplex systems powered the Central Results System responsible for processing results for the 300 medal events in all 28 sports.
  • IBM software that helped pull all the Games technology together included: Lotus Notes, Lotus Domino, MQ Series, Tivoli, DB2 and VisualAge Team Connection.

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