fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (beautiful)
Today's Olympic hero is without a doubt Benjamin Boukpeti. Those of you with TVs have probably heard all about him, but he's worth talking about some more.

Boukpeti took bronze for Togo in the men's single kayak event yesterday, becoming the first black man ever to medal in a slalom event and winning Togo's first ever Olympic medal in a Summer Games.

When he finished the race he snapped his paddle in glee.



I'm beginning to think bronze medalists are the best kind. ;)

You can read more about Boukpeti's story here.

And, predictably, I made icons.

Rules:
[x] Comments are nice. :)
[x] Credit me
[x] No hotlinking!
[x] Textless icons are not bases. Please do not alter.

Samples:

.:..:.

the rest under here )
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Olympics)
Here are some icons of my Olympic heroes. Park Tae-hwan, the women's 400m freestyle medalists, and lots of the US men's gymnastics team.

Rules:
[x] Comments are nice. :)
[x] Credit me
[x] No hotlinking!
[x] Textless icons are not bases. Please do not alter.

Samples:

.:..:.

the rest under here )
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Olympics)
The Chinese took a well deserved gold, and the Japanese certainly worked hard for their silver. But, perhaps predictably, what I want to talk about is the US men who took bronze.

There's a number of reasons why the US men's gymnastic team is my Olympic story for the day. (And yeah, I do have an Olympic story per day. Sad, I know, but I'm not ashamed.) For one thing, they weren't exactly favored to win, or even to be much of a factor, and I always like that in a team. But what I really loved about them was their attitude.

See, the only thing I love more than seeing a dark horse take gold is seeing a silver or bronze medalist absolutely ecstatic about their win. So often you see medalists who think that they lost gold, instead of winning silver or bronze, and it's just so refreshing to see people who are wild about winning, no matter what the color of the medal is.

And let's face it - the US team was superb. Jonathan Horton was the king of perfect landings, not only on his own team, but for the entire competition. Alexander Artemev on pommel horse absolutely blew me away.

But I think my Olympic hero for the day is actually Raj Bhavsar. He wasn't the most showy of the US gymnasts, and he even had at least one less than stellar routine. In fact, he said himself that he knows he's not the best gymnast on the team. (And yeah, I'll admit, that kind of honesty gets me every time.) What he is brilliant at, though, is keeping cool even when things go wrong, and maybe more importantly, at helping his teammates keep cool too.

Raj was passed over for the 2004 Olympics, and almost passed over this year, too. He was selected as an alternate, and made it onto the team when the Hamms stepped down because of injury. He thought he'd missed out on the Olympics twice, but he still kept himself ready enough to perform at the Olympic level. And I can't help but admire that.

See more epic picspam here.
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Olympics)
Finally watched the men's 4x100 meter swim relay that everyone's been talking about. And may I say this: GREATEST RACE EVAR!

Check it out if you missed it.

Seriously, half the field was way ahead of the world record. And the neck-and-neck race between France and America at the end had me on the edge of my seat, even though I already knew how it ended! Way to go, Team America! ("Who's talking now?" seems to be the question of the night. LOL.)

[On a side note, though, is anyone else getting sick of hearing about Michael Phelps? Seriously, the commentators on this relay, immediately after saying that this was a team effort, proceeded to talk about virtually nothing but Michael Phelps and his chance at winning the most golds in one Olympics ever.]

EDIT: And check out the women's 400m free for a race that was every bit as close. Way to go Rebecca Adlington! Everyone was talking about America's Katie Hoff and Italy's Federica Pellegrini, and Adlington came out of nowhere to take the gold for Britain. :D Now that's what I like to see!
fialleril: [tea makes everything better] (tea)
After watching the floor exercise prelims in men's gymnastics, I have reached these conclusions:

- Men in toe shoes are awesome.

- Germany's Fabian Hambuechen is similarly awesome.

- It's truly amazing what these athletes can do. I don't think I've ever said "Wow" quite so often in such a short time span.

- A breakdancing competition between gymnasts would be EPIC.

I also reached a few rather geekier conclusions, of an Avatar/Olympics crossover persuasion.

- Clearly, all firebenders are also trained gymnasts.

- Prince "I'm A Failpot At Nearly Everything" Zuko is secretly a master of floor exercises. And I have proof. Compare:

cut for large graphics )
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Olympics 2)
Yet more Olympics spam. Sorry to everyone who's getting sick of it.

Everyone's talking about Michael Phelps and his win yesterday, and while I'm happy for him, I can't help but feel that people are missing the truly awesome story here. Namely, Park Tae-hwan in the 400 meter free style.

As a teenager at his first Olympics in Athens, Park fell off the podium before start time and was disqualified without ever getting to swim. This year, he came back to Beijing and "redeemed" himself with some serious style: not only taking South Korea's first ever swimming medal, but making it a gold and a world record breaker at that.

Now that's an Olympic story. :D
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Olympics 3)
Which I still have not found video of. At least, not for the show part. I have seen the Parade of Nations and the torch lighting. But I did find still photos of the show. And...it looks to have been epic. If anyone knows where to find video for the show part of the Opening Ceremony specifically, please link me!

EDIT: I finally saw it. It was...amazing. Yes.

Anyway, I made icons. For a show I have not seen. Also I made icons of Lopez Lomong, because he is just that awesome.

Y'all know the rules. Comment, credit, don't hotlink. I don't mind if you use these as bases, so long as you credit me. :) Have fun.

Samples:
.:..:..:.

the rest are under here )

Also, here is an icon of a Darfuri boy:

sweep the podium

Sunday, August 10th, 2008 01:16 am
fialleril: [By virtue of all I have done, may the pain of every living creature be completely cleared away.] (Aang)
Fencing rocks my world. I'm just saying.
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Default)
As many of you know, I don't own a TV, so I ended up watching the Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies a day late online. I'm not usually much of a sports fan, but the Olympics are the great exception.

As I watched the Parade of Nations in the Opening Ceremony, I was primarily struck simply by how beautiful all the people were. Here were all these people, from so many different nations and in so many different styles of dress, all gathered together and in peace.

It was one of those moments that really restored my faith in humanity. And made me think that, for all its issues, the Olympics really does live up to its purpose sometimes.

I'm sure most of you have heard something of the controversy surrounding this year's Olympic Games in Beijing. One of the best things that's come out of these Olympics is the renewed media attention to the ongoing genocide and humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan. China continues to be one of the leading purchasers of Sudanese oil, as well as a covert supporter of the Sudanese government responsible for the continuing genocide.

Over 400 Olympic athletes and former Olympians from around the world have joined Team Darfur, a coalition of athletes dedicated to raising awareness of the genocide in Darfur and to bringing it to an end. You can see a list of specific members and their home countries here. (They even have a member from China, which is awesome. The American team has 72.)

The American flag in the Parade of Nations was carried by Lopez Lomong, which not only restored some of my faith in humanity, but even some of my faith in my country. Lomong is a 1500 meter runner and a former "Lost Boy" of Sudan, and he was chosen by a vote of team captains to bear the American flag for his team, just 13 months after becoming a citizen himself. He is also a member of Team Darfur, and wants to use his visibility to bring attention to the suffering of people in his home country. (Check out his bio here and a more in depth look at his story in his own words here.)

It's been a while since I've felt really proud to be an American, but these athletes, our Olympic team...that's something I really am proud of.

Quote for the day:
" When we were in Africa, we didn't know what was there for us as kids--we just ran. God was planning all of this stuff for me, and I didn't know. Now I'm using running to get the word out about how horrible things were back in Sudan during the war. Sometimes these things are not on CNN, so if I put out the word, I hope people can get the information. Right now, similar terrible things are going on in Darfur; people are running out of Darfur, and I put myself in their shoes."
- Lopez Lomong

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