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Beijing Olympic Games 2008

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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 34 ✭✭✭ Valter


    rrpc wrote: »
    It's unusual in shooting because apart from the fact that betablockers are the only thing that could improve performance, the amount of training required to get to that level should have eliminated any tedency to shake in the first place.

    The Korean was incredibly stupid to try it seeing as all medal winners are tested and since betablockers are tested for specifically.

    Two Olympic medals is a very high price to pay for that stupidity.

    Its not just unusual, its a huge pity, I've only recently joined the sport of target shooting and even I know how much hard work is required, what sort of a plonker is he?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    Bit of a surprise in the men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event. Oleksandr Petriv of the Ukraine won the gold medal with a combined score and new final Olympic record of 780.2.

    Second was Ralf Schumann with a combined score of 779.5 and third was Christian Reitz with a score of 779.3.

    Img214548873.jpg

    The leader going into the final was Keith Sanderson of the USA with a score of 583 and a new Olympic record, but he was only capable of a 193.6 in the final leavng him 5th overall.

    Young Christian Reitz is quite obviously the new Ralf Schumann, being only 21 years of age. He was on the same score as Schumann going into the final but was pipped by .2 of a point.

    Img214548781.jpg

    The aptly named Bruce Quick of Australia was the oldest competitor in this event being almost 49 years of age. He came 17th out of a field of 18. There were initially supposed to be 19 competitors, but the Chinese shooter Zhang Pengui was disqualified before the event started.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    Final Scores below, apologies if it's a bit cluttered there's a lot of information there.

    Rank|Name|||||NOC|Stage|Series|||Sub Total|Total
    ||||||||8|6|4||
    1|PETRIV Oleksandr|||||Ukraine|Stage 1|96|99|94|289|
    |||||||Stage 2|98|96|97|291|580
    |Final shots:|10.1|10.3|10.4|10.1|9.9|10.8|10.3|9.6|10.4|9.1|
    ||8.4|10.2|9.6|10|10.2|10|10.5|9.8|10.3|10.2|200.2
    ||||||||||||780.2
    2|SCHUMANN Ralf|||||Germany|Stage 1|97|99|92|288|
    |||||||Stage 2|99|97|95|291|579
    |Final shots:|8.4|10.7|10.5|9.3|10.3|9.6|10.2|10.3|9.8|9.6|
    ||10.1|10.3|10.3|10|9.5|10.8|9.7|10.9|10|10.2|200.5
    ||||||||||||779.5
    3|REITZ Christian|||||Germany|Stage 1|97|100|92|289|
    |||||||Stage 2|99|97|94|290|579
    |Final shots:|9.9|10.3|10.7|10.1|9.8|9|10|9.5|10.3|10.3|
    ||10.7|10.6|10.4|9.9|10.8|10.5|7.9|9.9|9|10.7|200.3
    ||||||||||||779.3
    4|EKIMOV Leonid|||||Russian Fed.|Stage 1|99|95|97|291|
    |||||||Stage 2|99|96|95|290|581
    |Final shots:|8.8|8.9|9.4|10|9.5|9.7|10|10.4|10.1|10.7|
    ||10.7|10|10.3|10.2|9.8|9.6|9.1|9.8|10.2|10|197.2
    ||||||||||||778.2
    5|SANDERSON Keith|||||United States|Stage 1|97|98|94|289|
    |||||||Stage 2|99|99|96|294|583
    |Final shots:|9.7|9|10.5|9.9|9.5|9|9.2|10|9.3|10.5|
    ||9.9|10.2|8.1|9.7|9.6|9.7|9.9|10.1|9.9|9.9|193.6
    ||||||||||||776.6
    6|BONDARUK Roman|||||Ukraine|Stage 1|96|94|96|286|
    |||||||Stage 2|100|97|97|294|580
    |Final shots:|9.8|9.8|10.5|9.9|9.4|10.3|8.3|10.2|10.4|10.4|
    ||9.2|9.2|10.3|10.5|9.8|7.2|9|10|10.9|9.6|194.7
    ||||||||||||774.7

    The final is shot in the 4 second series only. That means that one shot has to be fired at each of five separate targets inside 4 seconds :cool:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    If anyone's wondering what pistol Petriv is using, it looks very like a Feinwerkbau AW93, but I suspect that it may be a Khaidurov of some sort. The AW93 is based on the Khaidurov HR86 and they look very similar, but Petriv's pistol is different enough from both these to be more likely a later Khaidurov design.

    Petriv's gold is the second for the Ukraine for shooting in as many days after Artur Ayvazian won gold in the men's 50m Prone rifle.

    Zhang Pengui was disqualified for breaking ISSF rule 8.6.1.4 (raising the pistol too early - three warnings) in the second qualification round:
    8.6.1.4
    If a shooter raises his arm too soon, or does not lower it sufficiently (see 8.5.2.5 and 8.6.1.3) in the 25 m Rapid Fire Pistol Event or in the Rapid Fire Stage of the 25 m Pistol or 25 m Center Fire Pistol Event, or in the combined 20 seconds and 10 seconds stages of the 25 m Standard Pistol Event he must be warned by a Jury Member (see 8.5.2.5), and the series must be recorded and repeated. In the 25 m Rapid Fire Pistol Event the shooter must be credited with the lowest value hit on each target. In all other 25 m events, the shooter must be credited with the five (5) lowest value hits in the two series (or three series should a malfunction be involved). If the fault is repeated in the same stage of 30 shots, the same procedure must be applied and the shooter must be penalized by a deduction of two (2) points from his score. If a third infringement of this Rule occurs, the shooter must be disqualified (see Malfunction Rule 8.8.0).

    Bit too eager it seems :eek:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 34 ✭✭✭ Valter


    Guys, any idea where the link to videos of the 10m Air Rifle final might be, I thought I saw a link on this thread a few days ago, am I mistaken?


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    They're here along with all the other shooting events: http://www.airgunbbs.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2893629&postcount=1

    Roughly about 100Mb each.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    Oh dear me! Emmons had a replay of his Athens final but in a different manner. He was second behind Debevec going into the final and needed a minimum of 6.7 in his final shot to win the gold.

    He had a high 4.4! :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Img214553902.jpg

    Rank|Name||||NOC|Position|Series||||Sub Total|Total
    |||||||1|2|3|4||
    1|QIU Jian||||China|Prone|98|98|99|99|394|
    ||||||Standing|95|94|99|99|387|
    ||||||Kneeling|99|98|99|96|392|1173
    |Final shots:|10.2|8.8|10.5|10.6|9.3|9.4|10|10.3|10.4|10|99.5
    ||||||||||||1272.5
    2|SUKHORUKOV Jury||||Ukraine|Prone|99|100|99|100|398|
    ||||||Standing|98|96|94|96|384|
    ||||||Kneeling|99|97|98|98|392|1174
    |Final shots:|9.5|9.5|9.8|9.9|10.1|9.1|10.2|10.1|10.4|9.8|98.4
    ||||||||||||1272.4
    3|DEBEVEC Rajmond||||Slovenia|Prone|100|100|100|99|399|
    ||||||Standing|95|96|97|98|386|
    ||||||Kneeling|97|98|99|97|391|1176
    |Final shots:|7.7|10.2|7.9|9.5|10|10.5|9.2|10|9.9|10.8|95.7
    ||||||||||||1271.7
    4|EMMONS Matthew||||United States|Prone|100|99|100|100|399|
    ||||||Standing|97|99|96|97|389|
    ||||||Kneeling|99|95|98|95|387|1175
    |Final shots:|9.7|10.2|10.5|10.1|10.5|10|10.1|10|9.8|4.4|95.3
    ||||||||||||1270.3
    5|FARNIK Thomas||||Austria|Prone|98|98|99|96|391|
    ||||||Standing|97|99|93|97|386|
    ||||||Kneeling|100|98|99|97|394|1171
    |Final shots:|10|9.4|9.7|9.4|9.8|9.9|9.9|10.1|9.4|10.3|97.9
    ||||||||||||1268.9
    6|KNOEGLER Mario||||Austria|Prone|99|96|100|100|395|
    ||||||Standing|95|98|97|96|386|
    ||||||Kneeling|98|99|96|96|389|1170
    |Final shots:|8.2|10.1|9.4|10.2|10.2|10.3|10.4|10.2|10.1|9.3|98.4
    ||||||||||||1268.4
    7|SAUVEPLANE Valerian||||France|Prone|99|99|100|98|396|
    ||||||Standing|98|95|97|94|384|
    ||||||Kneeling|99|98|98|97|392|1172
    |Final shots:|8.8|9.2|10.3|10.1|10|10.1|7.9|9.5|9.2|10|95.1
    ||||||||||||1267.1
    8|BERG Vebjoern||||Norway|Prone|100|98|100|100|398|
    ||||||Standing|92|99|95|97|383|
    ||||||Kneeling|96|98|99|98|391|1172
    |Final shots:|9.4|8.8|8.6|10.6|8|10.2|9.5|9.6|10|9.8|94.5
    ||||||||||||1266.5

    He ended up fourth, better than eighth, but still heartbreaking.

    Img214554052.jpg

    China was yet again the beneficiary of Emmons' mistake albeit with a different shooter. Ukraine won yet another shooting medal with Jury Sukhorukov. Debevec was the real beneficiary of Emmons head melt, getting third.


  • Registered Users Posts: 37 ✭✭✭ Bobby_1


    the Beijing Olympics is just another chineese take away at this stage with all the medals their winning:)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 34 ✭✭✭ Valter


    rrpc wrote: »
    They're here along with all the other shooting events: http://www.airgunbbs.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2893629&postcount=1

    Roughly about 100Mb each.

    Cheers rrpc!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    From USA Shooting.
    Reminiscent of the final shot in the same event in Athens when Emmons was on his way to a gold medal, then cross-fired finishing in eighth place, he was once again in the same situation. Heading into the final shot standing comfortably in first place by 3.3 points, Emmons accidentally hit the trigger prematurely with his finger and fired a disappointing 4.4 to finish in fourth place.

    “I didn’t feel my finger shaking, but I guess it was,” Emmons said after his match. “I realized it went off and I hoped it made it into the black. I call it a freak of nature; I felt normal in this match, maybe just a little bit more nervous. If it had made it to the bullseye, it would have been great.”

    Emmons had an excellent final, shooting seven 10s in a row, but the 4.4 on his last shot just wasn’t enough to keep him in medal contention. “In an Olympic final to shoot that many 10s in a row, that’s as good as it gets and I am happy with it. I would love to have a medal around my neck right now, but I had 129 really good shots today and a phenomenal final, so I really can’t complain. I don’t know why I am not supposed to win this event, but everything happens for a reason and it will be good motivation for me for the next four years.”


    I have to say my respect for the guy just gets higher and higher. This is the man who said 'sh1t happens' when told that he'd shot at the wrong target in the final in Athens.


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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 13,035 Mod ✭✭✭✭ It wasn't me!


    That is a phenomenally sporting attitude. Fair fecks to him, and may it not go arseways in future. :p


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    I just watched the video a few minutes ago, and although he looked stunned he was straight over to congratulate Qiu afterwards.

    Watching his previous shots it was obvious it went off prematurely because he hadn't settled properly when the shot went off. You can see that he uses his breathing to bring himself onto the ten and the muzzle was still moving down when the shot was fired.

    He knew immediately, I know the feeling :), you could see the apprehension on his face when he went to look at the monitor, hoping that he'd got into the centre. Those are the moments when you pray for an eight :D

    It wasn't to be, but his attitude is incredible. To my mind he's the best shooter in the world of the last four years but also the unluckiest.

    He has an incredible raise on his sights. They must be at least an inch above the barrel.


  • Subscribers Posts: 4,072 ✭✭✭ IRLConor


    rrpc wrote: »
    Watching his previous shots it was obvious it went off prematurely because he hadn't settled properly when the shot went off. You can see that he uses his breathing to bring himself onto the ten and the muzzle was still moving down when the shot was fired.

    That's very similar to what earned me a 7.1 in the 50m prone nationals this year. It's a horrible feeling in the middle of a match, but for it to happen on the last shot of a final...
    rrpc wrote: »
    It wasn't to be, but his attitude is incredible. To my mind he's the best shooter in the world of the last four years but also the unluckiest.

    Definitely. To shoot as well as he does after his crossfire the last time is unbelievable. Hopefully he'll get over this mistake too and London will see him getting a medal.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    For anyone doing 3P or Air Rifle, it's well worth watching his set up before a shot. His standing position is second to none and to come from one behind to 4 ahead after 6 shots gives you an idea of how good he is.

    He appears to have changed his hold lately and uses a very deep fore end raiser and seems to hold it the same as you would in prone (in the web of the hand). He looks incredibly steady.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks


    obr_7_365_2789.jpeg
    It is a good position, and it seems like a fairly standard postition amongst the high-level shooters these days (or at least as close to a standard as you get in these things), but what works for Emmons doesn't work for Gonci and what works for him doesn't work for Bindhra and what works for him doesn't work for Debevec, and so on. These guys have customised their positions to their own unique physiologies.

    They're definitely to be studied, but beware of cargo cult shooting - just mimicing a shooter isn't going to work unless he or she is your identical twin (and sometimes not even then). The thing to do is to take the things they do, figure out the reason why they do them, and then figure out something you can do to produce the same effect. For example, Emmons has a deep fore-end riser to keep his hand low so his elbow has good contact with his ribcage and he's stable. But you could do the same thing without the foreend by having the rifle low down and the sights raised up on blocks like Debevec does, or by having the rifle low and the head canted over like Gonci does (be prepared for years of intensive training to make that particular approach work though).

    If you get a chance to look at video of these guys though, take it - the number of things you can learn if you analyse what they're doing and why, it's just enormous.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks


    Meanwhile, away from the actual sport end, the postmortem and recriminations have started :rolleyes:

    From the Herald:
    Why Ireland doesn't win at Olympics
    FIGHTING CHANCE: With €30m of funding, our athletes should be bringing home Olympic medals
    By Eoghan COrry
    Friday August 15 2008


    Michael Phelps is going to win as many gold medals in a few days as Ireland has in its entire sporting history.

    With that sobering thought we should stop celebrating the progress of every boxer through every preliminary bout of the Olympics as if it was a triumph.

    When our losers return from Beijing it is likely that yet another committee will be put in place to prevent more embarrassment for Irish sport.

    The recommendations will be the same as the previous committee following the disaster of Athens (one gold medal, which was returned unused) and Sydney (one silver medal).

    Funding

    Money used to be the primary gripe for our athletes. About €30m of funding was spent on elite athletes during this Olympic cycle.

    At a going rate of somewhere between the bargain basement rate of €2.82m per medal enjoyed by Canada or the €3.07m for Australia in the last Olympic cycle, or the €6m per medal spent by Britain, we should be bringing home between five and 10 medals.

    But the system we have put in place seems more capable of gobbling up funds than delivering the success that this country might expect.

    Like the health service, the more money we spend, the more pointless the exercise seems. Expensive sports like sailing seem to be capable of saddling the whole elite spending project with big bills and a maximum return of what looks like eighth place.

    Even our boxers looked incapable of delivering anything until three months ago, and arrived in Beijing with lowly world rankings. Most of them left it very late before qualifying for the games at all.

    Our only top-three ranked sports personality, Jessica Kurten, didn't go to the Olympics. Just two of our Beijing team travelled with a top 10 world ranking. Derek Burnett was expected to finish in the top six and finished sixth last. Eileen O'Keeffe, if not injured, would have been delighted with a top 10 place.

    Instead of a serious podium prospect for our €30m we are grasping at straws, hoping someone like Eoin Rheinisch or Ken Egan would snatch a medal out of turn from their mid-teens world ranking.

    Money doesn't automatically translate in to Olympic medals but it sure helps. You can chart spending on the medals table. Cutbacks in sports spending have sent some of the champions of 20 years ago tumbling in the medals table.

    Bounty

    Because of our small population we are paying a high Olympic bounty, €7.80 per head of population compared with €1.17 in Canada and €2.54 in Britain but considerably less than the €9.42 per head they spend in Australia.

    But it shows; seven days into the games Australia is in sixth place on the medals table, indicating just how irrelevant population is. India, whose population increases by the population of Australia each year, has just won its first-ever gold medal.

    Finland and Norway, our nearest equivalent in geographical, economic and population terms, have two medals each and can reasonably expect two more.

    Britain is claiming, mainly in their own media, that their programme is delivering good results and indeed they are loitering around the medals table in 10th place. After the disaster of 1996, when they finished behind Ireland for the only time in Olympic history, the British won 28 medals and spent €151m on their athletes for Sydney.

    Their Public Accounts Committee moaned in 2006 that "10 sports... won no medals, despite receiving nearly £14m in total," in the tones of a disappointed fund manager. Their spending is to increase in the run up to 2012.

    What to do? Other nations can turn to commercial interests to become involved in Olympic preparation projects. That is not an option for us. We have to look to niche sports, which have little commercial appeal, for our potential medals.

    Most of the commercial money in Irish sport (as well as a lot of state funding) goes into racing, soccer, rugby, GAA and golf. They are the sports receiving TV coverage and the guys in the corporate marketing departments demand TV coverage.

    Trap shooting or even slalom canoeing is never going to be prime time viewing. Knitting has a better chance of making the TV schedules than dressage.

    While it is realistic that Eoin Rheinisch can train abroad on slalom courses, the jump up from the courses we have in Ireland to international level will prove a formidable barrier for any young canoeists inspired by his performance last week.

    Like the stock market, nobody wants a slow-growth portfolio to deliver an Olympic medal in 12 years time, just a quick return.

    From the Indo:
    Time to raise bar in pursuit of medals
    Sunday August 17 2008

    Measured against our low expectations of medals, the first full week of the Olympics should probably be declared a qualified success for the Irish Olympic team.

    There have been national records and personal best performances in the pool, Ken Egan, Darren Sutherland and Paddy Barnes carry the flag in boxing, Eoin Rheinisch (right) battled his way through to the final of Kayak K1 Slalom, narrowly missing out on a bronze medal to a Togan who has visited his country once, Rob Heffernan came eighth in the 20km walk and Roisin McGettigan eased through to today's final of the 3,000m steeplechase.

    It may not be the stuff of dreams, but set against Ireland's performance at the Olympics since 1960 (an average of one medal per games, and that average is somewhat boosted by Michelle Smith's extraordinary performances in Atlanta), this is relative success, Irish style.

    It is also what we have been conditioned to expect. A disappointing and acrimonious Sydney was followed by yet more disappointment at Athens where not a single Irish athlete managed to record a personal best.

    The message to Irish sports fans and athletes from the Sports Council, the post-Olympic review groups who always wonder why we didn't achieve more and from almost anyone with a well-paid job in sports administration is clear: forget about medals, rejoice in participation. It may be deemed a realistic approach, but it sets the bar too low.

    When pressed, they will talk about the 'numbers game' -- Ireland's population is claimed to be too small to produce consistently high-achieving athletes -- and about money, yet there has been no shortage of funds. The evidence shows, however, that a large population is no guarantor of sporting prowess and a relatively small population is no inhibitor.

    The Australians are renowned for punching about their population weight on the medals table and the Chinese are showing what happens if you throw vast amounts of money at a large population, but countries with populations not dramatically dissimilar to Ireland (Denmark, New Zealand, Finland) deliver better performances than we manage.

    Just as importantly, countries with relatively small populations and far less money than ours deliver better performances. Even at the half-way stage, the disparities are startling: Georgia (population 5.5m: 3 medals so far, 2 gold), Azerbaijan (pop. 8m; 4 medals, one gold), Slovakia ( pop. 5.4m; 4 medals, 3 gold), Cuba (pop. 11.3m; 8 medals, 1 gold), Belarus (pop. 9.6m; 4 medals, 0 gold).

    Quibble if you must about the sports in which they win those medals -- judo and Greco-Roman wrestling figure prominently, as does shooting -- but the point is that with limited resources many other countries manage to deliver Olympic champions.

    We, in truth, have given up on that. If a boxer manages to win gold for the first time since 1992, put it down to an individual performance of excellence, not the result of 16 years of careful planning.

    The bar could, and should, be set much higher. Great Britain, too, had an awful Sydney but it has subsequently transformed its Olympic preparations. Money was better targeted, elite athletes were chosen with care and outstanding coaches were recruited. The results, particularly in swimming, rowing and cycling, are exceptional, and will improve further for the 2012 London Games.

    Ireland does not lack the money -- we have spent hundreds of millions of Euro over the past dozen years on sport -- but we still lack the facilities and the focus to deliver champions.

    Sporting politics have played a dispiriting (though diminishing) role in holding us back, but the key problem is desire. If we want to win against the best, then we must set our sights higher, and we must focus more ruthlessly on those athletes, and sports, where that success can be achieved.

    The goal is not just Olympic gold, but the creation of sporting icons who can inspire Irish children to run, paddle, jump, ride and box, coaxing them off their ever larger backsides and away from the sedentary pursuits of eating, binge drinking and playing video games.

    But whenever we despair too much about our medal prospects, it is worth stopping an Indian in the street and commiserating.

    Despite a population of one billion (of whom half are under 25), a booming economy and a fanatical sporting culture, India is an Olympic black hole. Last week Abhinav Bindra won his country's first ever individual gold medal.

    There is no lack of sporting talent -- India's cricketers are among the best in the world -- just a lack of focus and a sporting administration that Indian writers say is riddled with corruption.

    It proves, though, that the numbers game is a sham. The right attitude, a good talent identification programme, well-directed money, well-targeted athletes and a belief in excellence matter far, far more than the size of your population or your wallet.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    That's his air rifle Sparks. Have a look at his Anschutz and especially look at the fore end raiser he uses and then look at the way he was shooting about two years ago.

    He used to rest the rifle on his closed fist, but now he uses the web of his hand and a deeper riser.

    Tbh, I would have felt that the web of hand approach was more stable, especially with the heavier free rifle.

    There's not many doing it that way, so it's interesting to see.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks


    There's a fair few doing it in air - I'm guessing that's where he got the idea from. I'm not sure it's such a great idea myself, it keeps the rifle higher up than it has to be. I think Debevec's way of keeping the rifle low in his kneeling position and building up the sights is a better approach to take, even if you have to watch your cant consistency more.

    On the recriminations end, I though our lot were bad but the Korean Archers have been crucified in their press for "only" getting silver...
    http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/sports/2008/08/253_29367.html
    Women Archers: Streak Ends
    China's Zhang Juan Juan humiliated South Korea's women archers as she won a gold medal in the individual competition at the Beijing Olympics Thursday.

    The Chinese archer defeated defending Olympic champion Park Sung-hyun of South Korea 110-109 in the final at the Olympic Green Archery Field in Beijing.

    Her victory ended South Korea's streak of six straight gold medals in women's individual archery. Before Thursday's debacle, the country had won every possible team and individual women's gold in the sport since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

    Zhang, 27, beat two other Koreans earlier in the day. She defeated Joo Hyun-jung in the quarterfinals and Yun Ok-hee, the No. 1-ranked women in the world, in the semifinals.

    In the final, Park, who was seeking her fourth Olympic gold, was one point behind Zhang after the third end.

    The defending Olympic champion hit the bull's eye twice in the final end, but it was not enough to deter Zhang, who was surrounded by local fans.

    Yun took the bronze medal match 109-106 against Kwon Un-sil of North Korea.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    Just one point in that Indo article I'd like to quibble with and that's the fact that Bindra won his gold medal outside his countries sports infrastructure and not because of it.

    If his dad hadn't been wealthy enough to fund his son's sporting ambitions, India would still be waiting for its first individual gold medal.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks


    More knocking of the olympic athletes - and this time from the GAA (via their "media partner"). :mad:
    http://www.europeanirish.com/news_details.php?news_id=707
    2008-08-18
    Some Irish Olympic Perfrormances were quite dismal - Why?
    Written by Siasy

    If you are not going to perform at the Olympics, then when are you hoping to perform?

    This is a question I'd like to put to some Irish athletes and competitors who performed well below and outside their best at these Olympic Games.

    Some complain about being too tired - some had the wrong strategy, some just had an off-day.

    Doesn't it sound too familiar from the Irish camp?

    Would Kilkenny play in an All-Ireland Hurling Quarter Final or Semi-Final and say - we were tired, or had an off day?

    Training is meant to peak your performances at games of this level.

    But in sports - shooting, rowing, eventing, badminton, athletics - 3000m Steeple chase, 400m hurdles, 100m hurdles, 400m sprint,
    the athletes compete against other competitiors who they know they can beat, and have defeated already this year, but the irish are not peaking at these games.

    Why is that?
    Hearing from Scott Evans that he knows he should have won that first round match, from Michaelle Carey, that her legs were just tired and that she just did not perform on the day, from Burnett in the trap shooting that he has defeated all of the finalists recently, but he failed to qualify, to watch Gillick, Derval O'Rourke, Eileen O'Keeffe, the 2 rowing teams - all performing well below their best - the Irish equestrian eventing team - 8th place before their best event Show-jumping, after show-jumping still in 8th place - out of 11 teams, delighted at being in the top 21.
    irish 470 class sailing team, winning 2 of 10 races, but coming 2nd last of 26 boats in other of those 10 races...
    It just makes you wonder, what is it about the lack of belief in the psyche of the Irish competitors, that fail to make the grade, when it really matters?

    Is reaching the Olympic Games enough and the dream reached for most Irish Athletes. Can Irish people expect no more than that?

    Is it another Saipan, where reaching the Finals is enough? And then, sure we're irish we can show the world how to party - but not how to win!

    We do fortunately have some exceptions,
    Irish boxers, Paul Hession, Irish Swimmers Bree and Noche (Irish records), and Irish canoeist Eoin Rheinisch, and Denis Lynch with Lantinus still in contention in Show-jumping.


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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks


    The Times is a little more balanced....
    Athletes take rap for now but real solutions are long-term
    Ian O'Riordan on why failing to properly prepare, in terms of facilities, is only preparing for failure

    WHEN AN athlete steps on to the track at the Olympics it's not simply show time. It's something they've worked towards for years; it's life-defining as, with the whole world watching, their Neil Armstrong moment arrives. Yesterday, David Gillick didn't even step out of the spaceship.

    One small step back for Gillick.

    One giant leap backward for Irish athletics.

    That's the danger of coming to the Olympics with any sort of expectations. If you fail to reach them, and those around you have failed as well, you better be ready to take the rap.

    "This is the Olympics," said Gillick. "Every race is tough, but I had aspirations of making the final, and now, my Olympics are over. That's another four years. But I'm not going to make excuses. That's not me. I'm shell-shocked. Gutted. I'll hold my hands up and say I ran crap. And I'm out."

    So who is to blame? Should he have been sent up there in the first place? Was he properly prepared? What is Athletics Ireland playing at? Who really cares, because he's going to take the rap anyway, and has at least four years to realise that.

    When things go wrong at the Olympics, there is nowhere to hide. You can't blame your team-mates and the manager won't get the sack. You can say you felt tired or your knee hurt and that will sound like an excuse. You can hold your hands up and say you ran crap.

    Or else you could have stayed at home, and joined the chorus of disapproval watching the Olympics through their TV guide. There are multiple facets to Olympic participation, but the one that matters is on the small screen.

    So all our athletes are crap. We deserve better than this. This is taxpayers' money. We want to see finalists or personal bests and maybe even some medals.

    And of course we do. There comes a time when an athlete's failure deserves some hard questioning, and Gillick's failure was certainly one of those times.

    Is he training hard enough? Has he bulked up too much? Has he fallen into the comfort zone? Has he got too high an opinion of himself? Gillick didn't even step out of the spaceship yesterday and that demands some answers.

    It doesn't matter that he's won two European Indoor titles for Ireland. That he left his family and friends to base himself at Loughborough University in England, because the facilities and coaching simply aren't available in Ireland. That he's put four years work into getting it right at the Olympics, only to see it go inexplicably wrong.

    That demands some answers.

    And what about Derval O'Rourke? She was miles off her personal best - which is actually a bit of a cheap argument, because less than 10 per cent of athletes run personal bests at the Olympics. The bottom line is she looked a shadow of the athlete that won World Indoor gold and European outdoor silver, and that demands some answers.

    And where have all our distance runners gone? Róisín McGettigan made the final of the steeplechase and bombed. Why aren't more athletes coming through the US scholarship system anymore, like Delany, Murphy, Coghlan, Treacy, O'Sullivan, O'Mara, Sonia, etc?

    We've pretty much agreed by now that Alistair Cragg is a loser, but then he's not really one of ours anyway, and Pauline Curley was practically an embarrassment in the women's marathon - even if she epitomised the last remnants of the Olympic spirit.

    Who wants to see a 39-year-old amateur finishing the marathon when we have Michael Phelps chasing eight gold medals in the Water Cube, all carefully orchestrated for NBC and their 2,000 broadcasters in Beijing (only one of whom, by the way, is staying on for the Paralympics)?

    But that's drifting off the point. There are real and difficult questions facing Irish athletics and it can't go on like this. Like where is the proper indoor track Ireland has been crying out for since around 1980? Where are the proper coaches - the hard, demanding coaches - like every serious athletics nation has? What is the point of giving athletes any more grant money when they're clearly wasting every penny of it?

    Radical change will require some radical action, and there are several model examples. Britain have spread their investment far and wide and are cleaning up in the cycling velodrome and down in Qingdao. Sweden don't fund their athletes but built 23 indoor training tracks and have one of the best teams in Beijing.

    They are the long-term solutions. We can blame the athletes for now, or else we should have kept most of them at home to begin with, because as things stand, that's the only alternative.

    © 2008 The Irish Times


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks


    ...but they're also making daft comparisons, like comparing the olympic athletes to Padraig Harrington without noting that Harrington's first British Open win was worth about as much as this year's entire Sports Capital Grant fund (and that's in an olympic year). And that his most recent win was worth about €200 million to him between prize money, endorsements, speaking fees and so on.
    How you can compare the performance of someone who has that much to play for and has so much money to fund his training; to a group whose highest-paid member wouldn't clear €100 thousand a year is beyond me.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    They make one good point in the IT, but should have expanded more on it:
    Radical change will require some radical action, and there are several model examples. Britain have spread their investment far and wide and are cleaning up in the cycling velodrome and down in Qingdao. Sweden don't fund their athletes but built 23 indoor training tracks and have one of the best teams in Beijing.

    We have the square root of F all in terms of sporting infrastructure here. It's all very well for the GAA to make snide comparisons with county hurling, but the GAA swallow up the lions share of money spent on sport here on an annual basis, in addition to that they also swallow a huge percentage of young athletes leaving very few to pursue other sports.. Ironically they chose hurling as an example which is a bit of a glass house for the GAA seeing as hurling has become at best a nine county sport in terms of excellence.

    China spent 46 billion on the Olympics, we couldn't even dream of 1% of that. In fact the ISC budget is 0.1% of what the Chinese spent.

    The worst thing about those articles is how they blame the athletes. It's as if these people spend years of hardship and training building up to these games in order to underperform. Perhaps the media should look to themselves and the unremitting pressure they place on so few shoulders for the sake of a soundbite and a few column inches.

    I watched David Gillick last night and was horrified that he was dragged up to an interview immediately after the race before he had even realized that he was out. It was obvious watching him run that he had worn himself out with anxiety; he looked tired and was struggling all the way through the race.

    This is the price our athletes pay for the greater glory of some overfed hacks who keep upping the ante in order to outdo their competitors in the 'predict our medal winners' stakes. Unrealistic expoectations are landed on shoulders that would have been able to take the weight of their own realistic ambitions, but in the end are forced to take on board the vicarious glory hunting of those whose input is minimal and whose scorn is unbearable.

    It's no coincidence that those athletes with the least expectations of success, perform the best.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks


    We have the square root of F all in terms of sporting infrastructure here.
    Amen to that. When Harrington can win one match and make more money than all of Irish sport put together got for capital spending in the entire past four years, there's something wrong, and not with Harrington.
    the GAA ... swallow a huge percentage of young athletes leaving very few to pursue other sports
    To be fair though, the GAA don't really swallow up young athletes. It's just that in most places, there isn't any other sport to do. Of course they're going to go to the GAA, the GAA is the only game in most towns. If you look to archery, which has a schools programme, they hoover up all the young athletes within range just as efficiently. There just aren't as many schools with the programme as there are with GAA pitches. If target shooting got a schools programme, we would do about as well as Archery. You can't sit back and blame other groups who go out and do the legwork just because they succeed in an empty market, you have to go chase after the kids yourself. And yes, there are problems - legislation, insurance, etc, etc. and they're non-trivial; but they are solvable. And if you can't get the kids at age 12, try them at age 18 when they hit college and get hoovered into DURC or UCDRC.
    China spent 46 billion on the Olympics, we couldn't even dream of 1% of that.
    Ironically, we spend nearly 20% of that on healthcare last year; and most experts are pointing out that a lot of what the healthcare system now has to cope with is caused by a lack of sports. :(
    Perhaps the media should look to themselves and the unremitting pressure they place on so few shoulders for the sake of a soundbite and a few column inches.
    Or even cover them once or twice before suddenly calling for them to be torn limb from limb for failing to perform in an event that the journalist hasn't even gotten the details right on :mad:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    Well the GAA do swallow up something:
    From the Irish Independent


    Friday December 21 2007


    GAELIC players look set to get their government grants quicker than they expected in a big pre-Christmas boost but several other Irish sporting bodies are muttering 'bah humbug' after discovering their grant aid in 2008 is being frozen.

    With the Beijing Games just eight months away, many sports expected their government funding next year to be improved, as is the norm in an Olympic year.

    But despite an extra allocation of €3.3m to the Irish Sports Council (ISC) in the recent Budget, none of it is going to fund Irish international sport and it has been set aside for the new GAA players grant scheme.
    Ireland's traditionally successful Olympic sports like athletics, rowing, boxing and cycling have been forewarned that their 2007 'high performance' budgets will not be improved in the 2008 allocations.
    The Sports Council says this is because of the economic climate and a slow-down in public funding.

    But there is serious disquiet among other sports that they are not getting their usual increase in an Olympic year while, at the same time, €3.5m has been found to placate the GAA and players.

    Athletics Ireland's Olympic team manager Patsy McGonagle said: "My understanding is that athletics will only get the same as last year -- maybe marginally less -- because the grants to GAA players will come out of the same 'high performance' pool. "We are not the only ones going to be affected," he added. "The whole international dimension is going to be affected by the grants to GAA players."

    Neither the GAA or GPA expected their new grant scheme to be up and running until the 2009 Championship but it emerged yesterday that the Sports Council hope to have it up and running for the coming Championship.

    The Indo must have forgotten that they wrote that :(


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks


    Yup. I've no problem with the GAA intercounty players getting funding like other high performance athletes because the level of training they go through is just as high; but when Olympic atheletes are held to a higher standard by the media than their better-funded GAA counterparts, it does get under the fingernails quite effectively.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    Sparks wrote: »
    To be fair though, the GAA don't really swallow up young athletes. It's just that in most places, there isn't any other sport to do. Of course they're going to go to the GAA, the GAA is the only game in most towns.

    That may have been true in the past, but most towns now have a swimming pool in near proximity, a sports complex of some sort with badminton, basketball, squash, tennis etc. Gym's abound as do golf courses and sailing clubs.

    I'm not blaming the GAA here; they do what they do and they do it well. What I'm pointing to is that when people refer to our athletes using a per head of population comparison with other countries, they neglect to subtract the ones doing Gaelic sports.

    But because the numbers are smaller, the available funds are also smaller and the end result is that the sports can't fund the infrastructure, the Government won't because they're working on a 'results' basis which is a catch 22 and when someone gets up off their ass and goes where the infrastructure is, they get hammered when they don't live up to the unrealistic expectations that the press ascribe to them.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    Sparks wrote: »
    Yup. I've no problem with the GAA intercounty players getting funding like other high performance athletes because the level of training they go through is just as high; but when Olympic atheletes are held to a higher standard by the media than their better-funded GAA counterparts, it does get under the fingernails quite effectively.

    Especially as the GAA can always be successful no matter what, because there's no effective international yardstick to measure them by.

    I know that sounds like knocking them again, but if they're going to knock our athletes in public that way, there's a certain amount of 'leading with the chin' about it.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks


    rrpc wrote: »
    That may have been true in the past, but most towns now have a swimming pool in near proximity, a sports complex of some sort with badminton, basketball, squash, tennis etc. Gym's abound as do golf courses and sailing clubs.
    I think you must be living in a more affluent area than me :D
    Large towns, yes, you find that sort of thing, but we're talking Cork, Kilkenny, Tralee, that sort of size of a place. If you look at small towns, places like Wilkinstown for example, granted there's WTSC, but apart from that, there's a sports hall (ie, a largish empty room which gets used for everything from amateur dramatics to yoga and is heavily booked as a result) and a GAA pitch which is used only for GAA and which is paid for by the GAA (at least in part). So Wilkinstown produces shooters and GAA football players. It doesn't produce runners or cyclists or any other kind of athlete really.
    And with the exception of the shooting, Wilkinstown is not that odd a place, it's very close to a statistical norm. There's just no infrastructure out there for any sport bar GAA.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,244 rrpc


    Sparks wrote: »
    I think you must be living in a more affluent area than me :D
    Large towns, yes, you find that sort of thing, but we're talking Cork, Kilkenny, Tralee, that sort of size of a place. If you look at small towns, places like Wilkinstown for example

    Wilkinstown's a town? I would have thought it classed as a village. Rathdrum is classed as a village. Arklow would be a town as would Navan or Drogheda. Cork is a city as is Kilkenny (I thought you'd know that :D).

    So looking at towns as opposed to villages, and in Ireland most people aren't more than 20 miles from a town, what I'm saying is quite true. Many larger villages also have some sports infrastructure as well.


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