The other night I was watching some tape-delayed primetime Olympic swimming drama, and a thought occurred to me. It was a semi-final race, and the commentator was remarking that a particular swimmer needed to save their legs and 'only' swim a certain time here in order to qualify for the finals. They had other races to swim, and there was no need to burn out a world record when they would have to do the same again tomorrow, or even later that day.
While I've been watching the Olympics, I haven't been up on all the news. Despite my dad accusing me of watching one stream on the TV and another on my iPad (I wasn't, I just had what was streaming online via my iPad plugged into the TV to make the picture bigger), I'm focused mostly on the tennis, with the primetime coverage in the background while I knit and draft blog posts in the evening. I also want to catch some women's soccer, but that's another story.
So I only vaguely remembered hearing about this badminton scandal, where people were up in arms and players were retiring from the sport altogether because teams were deliberately losing matches in qualifying rounds because they didn't need to win them to advance, and losing would actually give them an advantage in later rounds. They were disqualified for not performing to their best ability, and it's been a huge scandal of sportsmanship.
I'm just not sure how the two things are so different. A swimmer only swims fast enough to make it to the finals, a team only wins the matches that help them win the tournament. They are both examples of holding back. I can see where it's not really fair to the audience, to watch something that isn't a competitive ideal. But in my mind, this is a fault in the organization of the tournament if teams can extract so much advantage from this.
Just another thing to ponder this Olympics as I knit furiously. Because I'm always putting forward my best crafting efforts, I have completed one of the lace dishcloths in a planned pair. Can you see the hearts?
The Union Jack Monster is nearly done, by the way, there are just some finishing touches to be decided and done before he's ready for his close-up.