Fri, September 20, 2013

Tilleyvision: Coxless? Not really

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency


Bronze medallists Scott Gault (R), Charles Cole (2nd R), Henrik Rummel and Glenn Ochal (L) of the U.S. pose after the men's four final in the rowing event during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Eton Dorney on August 4, 2012. (REUTERS)


Winning a medal at the Olympics is very exciting. Just ask American rower Henrik Rummel.

A photo of Rummel and his teammates was posted to the social news site Reddit the other day after the team captured the bronze medal in the men's coxless four. "One U.S. rower was particularly excited about his bronze medal win ..." read the headline.

And it's true, something about the photo of the team really stood out. Something in Rummel's skintight shorts.

Coxless? Not so much.

While his teammates appeared to be relaxed, it looked as though Rummel was standing at full attention. "Winning wood," one wag commented.

The titter-worthy, Twitter-worthy medal ceremony photos made the rounds for the better part of a day and racked up hundreds of comments, until Rummel himself weighed in early Tuesday morning. "This is me and I swear it's not erect! I don't know why it ended up in that position but there you go," Rummel wrote in a post on Reddit. (To prove it really was him making the comment, Rummel later posted a picture of himself holding up a piece of paper with his "Rummelator" online handle on it.)

Once the shock and delight over Rummel commenting on the picture died down, Reddit users were quick to give the rower kudos for his achievement. Or rather, achievements.

"Congratulations," wrote one. "On the medal as well."

Medal metrics sinks Canada

To no great surprise, China is leading the medal tally at London 2012, followed by the U.S. and Great Britain. But China has a population of 1.3 billion people from which to draw potential athletes, as well as the sixth largest team at these games. So are they really the "best" country at the Olympics?

London's The Guardian has crunched a whole bunch of numbers to create an intriguing set of tables that show each country's medal standings by population, team size, gross domestic product and other factors. If you look at number of medals per capita, the top three countries as of Tuesday are Grenada (only one medal, but the country barely has more than 100,00 people), Slovenia (four medals, just over 2 million people) and New Zealand (nine medals, roughly 4.5 million people.) You can check the tables out here: http://bit.ly/altmedals

So given our relatively small population compared to the dominant China and U.S., does Canada fare better when ranked by medals per capita? Actually, no -- we drop down to 37th place. If it's any consolation, the U.S. is even lower, in 42nd place.

These might not be infallible measures of any country's success in the Olympics, but it's food for thought. Math and sports -- strange bedfellows indeed.

Google Button Buster

Throughout the Olympics, Google has been honouring various events with the daily Google Doodle, the illustration that appears above the search box when you go to google.com. Tuesday's Google Doodle went a step further, challenging web surfers to a virtual hurdles race, using the arrow keys on their computer keyboard to run and the spacebar to jump.

Having grown up on the old-school, button-mashing arcade game Track & Field, I thought I'd be able to blow away the competition in this. But my best time is a measly 13.2 seconds. As if sucking at actual track events wasn't bad enough, now my hopes of Olympic video game stardom have also been dashed.

Where the heck did I put that? ... of the day

Russian high-jumping sensation Ivan Ukhov nearly missed a jump Tuesday because he couldn't find the shirt with his competitor number on it. After watching a shirtless Ukhov fumble around in his gear for a minute in front of a backed stadium and tens of millions of TV viewers, officials finally allowed him to pin an extra bib to another shirt. And you thought losing your car keys was stressful.