Olympics et al:

John Richardson writes: Re: yesterday’s editorial. Crikey wrote:

“Imagine a powerful, significant event at an Olympic venue in London on the scale of Jesse Owens’ protest against the Nazis at the Berlin Olympics in 1936.”

Imagine indeed. Talk about creating news.

While the International Olympic Committee might be overdoing its efforts to protect broadcast rights, at least its decrees only relate to real events.

Sadly this can’t also be said of the fabled “Jesse Owens protest”, which never actually happened.

John Smith writes: Re. “Rundle: Games a great British shambles as Python wins gold” (yesterday, item 2). I am not sure what planet Guy Rundle was on or whether in fact he is real or simply a spoof but from where I was sitting — in an armchair in north western China at 4am, I was impressed by what I saw. Being someone who has dual nationality, British and Australian and having watched the Sydney Olympics from Australia, the Beijing Olympics from Shanghai and the London Olympics from China, I have but a distant memory of the 2000 Games simply because to me they were uninspiring.

The 2008 Olympics were militaristic by nature with thousands of soldiers taking part and I believe, having practised for a long time. By comparison, the 2012 Olympics was simply about the British Isles and the development of the country and what it had done through the years. It might have been sentimental with music by Elgar and you might like to poke fun at the Brits and accuse them of wobbling but when it comes to ceremony, panache, style and colour, they might not have the crassness of the Americans or the aloofness of the French or perhaps the arrogance of the Germans but they do put on a bloody good show for all to see and it stirred the cockles of my heart when I watched the opening ceremony.

Could you imagine the President of France or the Chancellor of Germany doing what the Queen did? Could you imagine the President or the Premier of China doing what the Queen did?  Could you imagine the Governor-General or the Prime Minister of Australia doing what the Queen did without all the hullabaloo that they would wish accompanying them? The answer to all these questions would be a resounding no!

I rest my case, sir.

Greg Alford writes: Re. “Why Olympics coverage looks more like a slideshow” (yesterday, item 14). It’s even worse if you want to watch “less-popular” Olympic sports — like football (soccer), only the most popular sport on the planet. I spent a couple of futile hours searching numerous websites for any video coverage of Olympic football. But thanks to the spendthrifts of the IOC, it’s apparently verboten to have even two-minute video summaries of Olympic football matches on the London 2012 site (or elsewhere), even matches played up to a week ago.

And since there are no Aussies involved, you’ll never see it on Channel Nine’s nauseatingly jingoistic 1970s-style coverage, just more of Karl Stefanovic prattling to some Aussie athlete he’d never heard of yesterday.

Apparently the BBC has 24 (yes, 24) free-to-air channels showing Olympic sports live — Nine can’t even be bothered putting some Olympics overflow on their other useless digital channels. So thanks to the IOC for their pathetic non-promotion of sport, and thanks again to the rugby (sic) boofheads at Channel Nine for making the Olympics an infuriating experience.

Hamish Barker writes: I have been enjoying the stellar online  service from BBC, via a UK vpn node to get around the stupid regional restrictions. Three hours of my fave the whitewater paddling this morning, just awesome, although productivity is suffering …

Prices gouging:

Andre Snoxall writes: Re. “Price gouging: it’s all about consumer convenience, see” (yesterday, item 1). Having lived in New Zealand, the UK, and Qatar for the past 13 years I can tell you that almost everything in Australia is more expensive by a long shot than in these places.

Fruit, veg and meat (yes, even Aussie lamb is cheaper in Qatar and NZ than at home). A Dyson vacuum cleaner — same model, less than half price in UK. BMW, Toyota and Audi cars, much much cheaper overseas. Wine is cheaper in the UK. Beer is cheaper nearly anywhere. And phone calls. And don’t even talk about white goods or furniture — I bought an LG fridge in Qatar the same price in QAR (riyals) as it sells for in AUD in Australia — which has a normal exchange rate of 4.6:1.

Time zones:

Neil Hunt writes: Re. “Last night’s TV ratings” (yesterday, item 16). Can I please point out to Glenn Dyer in yesterday’s TV report that only Australia’s east coast is two hours ahead of Beijing. That is, the AEST time zone. AWST is in the same time zone as Beijing, and ACST is an hour and a half ahead. I know from television and everything else that it seems like there is only one time zone in Australia, but those of us in the west, and in the middle do have different time.

Peter Fray

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