Posts Tagged With: Olympics

The End of the London Games: Six Indian Medals, Six Indian Heroes

From the left: Gagan Narang, Vijay Kumar, Saina Nehwal, Mary Kom, Yogeshwar Dutt and Sashil Kumar

To summarize India’s Olympic results in London, the country has won 6 medals. Two silver medals and four bronze medals. No gold medal this time. The fact that India, – over 1.2 billion people as everybody knows – has never been really successful at the Olympics is still a mystery to everyone but I won’t try to solve it here; the last time I dared to ask myself why many Indian people couldn’t swim, I was bombarded with furious comments on a forum dedicated to India.  So, I’ll leave this issue to sociologists or Indian journalists.

Despite this, India has improved a lot this year: first of all, the number of athletes taking part in the Olympics is the highest ever seen in the history of India: 83 athletes in London whereas they were 57  in Beijing. Secondly, the amount of medals has increased significantly! (Yes, it has!) One can even say it has doubled! It is a real turning point in the history of Sporty India who seems to be ready to invest more and more.

 In addition, these modest results are an advantage when you write a blog about India, because I am one of the only bloggers on earth – besides people blogging about Montenegro or Tajikistan, of course…- who can introduce each winner from the same team in just one post! Can you imagine the difficulties if I were a China fan – 88 medals – or an American lover -104 medals! And think about the athletes themselves! How difficult it must be to become a star when you are a Chinese rower or an American archery champion among dozens and dozens of other medalists!

So, the Indian Olympic Heroes are:

Gagan Narang is an air rifle shooter and he has won the Bronze Medal in the 10 m event. He was born in Chennai but brought up in Hyderabad. Well, I don’t really know what to say about him except the fact that he is good at shooting but you already know that… He can sometimes be grumpy as he refused to take part in the Commonwealth Games 2010 because he hadn’t been given the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, a prize that he finally got one year later!

Vijay Kumar: Few people knew soldier Vijay Kumar before he won his Silver Medal in the 25 metre rapid fire pistol.  His name was written red on Wikipedia pages, which is an obvious sign of very little popularity. But now, things have changed. Vijay is talented and good-looking! The world is his oyster! But what about his career as a soldier? According to firstpost.com, he would stay in the army if he was promoted and received a position that matched the offer made by the Sport Ministry (a job in the Sport Authority of India).

Saina Nehwal is a lovely 22-year-old Badminton player from Haryana. She won her bronze medal thanks to Chinese opponent Xin Wang who had a knee injury. It doesn’t really matter because the young Indian girl is already a superstar in the world of badminton and she has an impressive amount of victories in her bag.  Among all the championships she has won, she got the Gold Medal during the Commonwealth Olympic Games in 2010. She is the 4th best badminton player in the world. And, above all, she has won the first Indian medal for badminton at the Olympics.

Mary Kom looks sweet but be careful! She’s a boxer! She is from Manipur, in East India. She has won the Bronze Medal in the Flyweight category and she has become a world champion 5 times. She was the flag bearer during the Closing Ceremony. Despite his great boxing career; she is married and has twins. They better not throw too many tantrums if you know what I mean!

Yogeshwar Dutt: He has won the bronze medal in the Men’s 60 kilo Freestyle Wrestling. He is from a village in Haryana. His parents are teachers. Despite his successful career as a wrestler, his great ambition was to win a medal at the Olympics. But now his dream has come true, it’s time for marriage, his mother said! A new difficult match for Yogeshwar!

Sushil Kumar: he is a World champion wrestler. He won the Bronze Medal in Beijing but this year, he has won the Silver one (66 kilos Freestyle) He was the flag bearer during the Opening Ceremony, (yes, he was the guy next to the lady in red ah ah!). Some people say he likes biting his opponents’ ears but that’s certainly just a sign of affection.

What about France?

As far as France is concerned, I am quite proud of my country. I’m not always proud of France, we don’t always show a good image of ourselves, especially because people of quality are often put aside and only big mouths are listened to. But today, I am proud, especially because these Olympic Games have proved that the French are not just a bunch of people who can only complain and show off. The French athletes have shown the beauty of sports which are not always the most popular, such as handball, swimming or pole jumping. The French are not just good at arguing and fighting about a football and I am quite happy with it*. The French can be good-tempered, hard-working and deserving. We are the 7th country, which is not so good if you compare to the UK or to Germany who have been really impressive but we have improved since Beijing where we ranked 10th. (*15 august: The French handballers have broken a table on TV to protest against a bad article written by a French newspaper… So stupid…)

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The Olympic Red Lady: a Storm in a Cup of Chai

Amul (Dairy Products) was inspired by the event…

Dozens of people have landed on my blog by typing « lady in red », « mysterious woman Olympics ceremony » on search engines. I didn’t know this little event would have such an impact on the net. This piece of news about the red-sweater girl marching with the Indian contingent during the Opening Ceremony seems to have been more discussed than the winning of medals by the Indian team.

On NY Daily News.com the whole mystery has been solved, at last!

This young ceremony intruder is actually called Madhura Nagendra and she is a student from Bangalore. She pursues MBA studies in London and had been hired to dance in Danny Boyle’s Olympic Opening Ceremony when she made the unrecoverable error!

When she gatecrashed into the parade, Indian press attaché Harpal Singh Bedi became really angry and talked about a breach in the London Olympics security but Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the London Organizing Committee tried to take the drama out of the situation by saying Madhura was just “slightly over-excited” and that she hadn’t walked in off the street since she was part of the show.

If you want my opinion, maybe I am a little too fashion-oriented, but I can’t help thinking that if our dear Madhura had changed her ugly red sweater for black or yellow clothes, she wouldn’t have broken the visual harmony of the India parade and she wouldn’t have stood out so much. However, I don’t think she deserved so much aggressiveness from people!

Indeed, even if this young girl has become one of the most famous Indian women recently, her fame seems to be turning into a nightmare. Moderate and lenient people didn’t hesitate to write “Shame on you” to their Indian sister. On Facebook, some of her own country fellows hope she will be expelled from her college for not being trust worthy. Others talk about “disgrace” for India and I’ll spare you all the gory details and the insults towards those who dare to defend her!

Actually, what is funny in that so-called disgraceful incident, is the fact that nobody from other countries has been shocked by the presence of this young girl. In any case, as far as the French media are concerned, the journalists’ attention has not been drawn by Madhura but by the slightly excessive reaction of the Indian authorities.

Well, hopefully, I watched the closing Ceremony carefully yesterday night; she wasn’t there! She didn’t sing with the Spice Girls; she didn’t steal Sushil Kumar’s silver medal…

…Indian medals…another burning subject I’ll talk about tomorrow…

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Olympics 2012: The Mysterious Lady in Red

As the Indian team was wearing yellow traditionnal clothes for the Olympic Opening Ceremony, a mysterious woman in red walked along with the Indian athletes for the whole lap. Indian organizers were puzzled and a bit angry as this woman nearly drew all the attention. According to Zeenews.com, she just had to guide the Indian contingent for a short distance but she was not supposed to march next to the flagbearer, World Champion Wrestler Shushil Kumar.

I understand the Indian organizers’ reaction.

This woman was a volunteer; she was wearing blue jeans and a casual red sweater which was eye-catching and had nothing to do with the yellow refined athletes’ garments. She wasn’t part of the team.  She was smiling proudly, she seemed to show off as if she had taken the opportunity to take part in the show and to be  on TV and other media worldwide.

Olympic Games 2012 is an important event for India, an opportunity to prove that Indian sportsmen are improving, especially in Great Britain, a country where they have historical and human  relationships. Maybe they don’t really feel like marching with badly-dressed scroungers!

Why didn’t she follow the Chinese contingent? They were dressed in red. It would have been better-matched!

The Indian Contingent London 2012

You may also like: The Olympic Lady: A Storm in a Cup of Chai.

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Olympics 2012: Opening Ceremony

Wonderful pictures! Gold medal for elegance!

Olympics Opening Ceremony

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Olympics 2012: Go for it, India!

I don’t know if India will win many medals, this time, but they have made a lot of supporting songs for the Olympics 2012.

I’ve chosen two of them. The first one is cute. It was written for Youtube by Shantanu Moitra and Swanand Kirkire.

The second one is interesting because you can see different Indian athletes; it is sung by Shanka Ehsaan Loy.

I don’t think these two songs are official but never mind, they are moving all the same.

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Anish Kapoor: The London Orbit Tower

Yesterday, Anish Kapoor unveiled one of his craziest works of art: Orbit. This twisted and red Eiffel Tower rival is one of the most criticized symbols of the London Olympic Games 2012. It has been erected in Stratford’s Olympic Park among electric wires, railways, poles and pylons. No wonder there has been such a controversy in the country of Shakespeare and William Turner. The British have been irritated not only about paying taxes for the organization of the Olympics in a period of financial crisis, but also about seeing such a crippled creature growing in the middle of east London.
However, Anish Kapoor and the Culture Department are much more optismistic.
During the Olympics, visitors will pay from £7 to £15 to climb up to the top of Orbit to admire the outstanding view of suburbian London! Stadiums, concrete, blocks of flats, train stations, car parks, supermarkets, an urban landscape that Constable would have painted joyfully if he had not luckily lived in the 19th century! Moreover, Kapoor can boast of building the highest sculpture in Great Britain! 376 feet (114 m)! Supported by steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal himself! Lakshmi! The goddess of wealth! That’s a sign!
Well, I guess that these arguments haven’t really convinced you yet.

But let me tell you that Kapoor has not always created metal towers in unexpected areas. He has also given birth to human-like beings in the cradles of less hostile places.
In Chicago’s Millenium Park, for example, the artist has dropped a huge mirrored bean-shaped sculpture named Cloud Gate. While having a walk, people can play with this swollen and generous pachyderm : they can go under its body, caress its soft polished steel skin, lean against its belly, and look at their reflexions into it. And little by little, all these people walking and moving around it create movement and life and make the creature breathe.

Inside Leviathan

In Paris, Anish Kapoor got even closer to humankind when he settled his ephemeral superstructure in the Grand Palais: Levianthan. Like in Chicago, people could walk and play with the shapes and the PVC skin of this huge freak; but can we still call « freak » a work of art which has the roundness of a mother and the organical warm of a womb? Indeed people could not only hear its breath by sticking their ears on its body but they could also get into its dark pink belly and feel the heat and the movement of life inside.
Thus, every Kapoor’s work produces life through its shapes, its material, it’s colours or even its relationship with visitors. So does Orbit! Anish Kapoor said it is « beautiful » and « awkward » with « its elbows sticking out » ; maybe I would go too far, if I added « like a young hindu bride », wrapped in her red wedding sari, looking for her balance on the unknown and tortuous road of marriage. And that what Orbit tends to do, too shy to stand straight now, it will soon get more and more confident to marry this world of concrete and maybe one day, Orbit will be the symbol of Stratford’s development and wealth. Lakshmi only knows…
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