Fri, September 20, 2013

Tilleyvision: Pssst ... Wanna buy Michael Phelps' bed?

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency


Michael Phelps of the U.S. celebrates with his gold medal at the men's 100m butterfly victory ceremony at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 3, 2012. (REUTERS)


For sale: nearly new desk chair. Only used 17 days. May have touched Usain Bolt's butt.

Bargain hunters and souvenir seekers alike are flocking to Remains of the Games (www.remainsofthegames.co.uk), a website set up for the sole purpose of selling off all the furniture, fixtures and other odds and sods used by athletes at the Olympic Village and some of the venues around London.

For about $76 you can have a single bed mattress that might have supported Michael Phelps' ripped body. For $19, a full-length mirror that Rosie MacLennan might have gazed into before her gold-medal win. For $310, an elevated judge's chair, complete with built-in rain cover, from which to referee your backyard volleyball matches.

The catch? Well other than the significant cost of having the items shipped overseas, there's no way to know exactly which athletes might have come into contact with any of this stuff. Still, it's a way to own a functional piece of sports history that's pretty reasonably priced, no matter whose bum it may have touched.

The new medal math

Canada isn't a Summer Olympics powerhouse. We know and accept this, and our medal standings reflect this. It's nothing to be ashamed of, especially since we did set a record for the number of bronze medals won at these games. (A uniquely Canadian boast, no?)

And yet it's interesting to note how we in the media report on medal standings. You'd think a rigid table of numbers would be a difficult thing to spin, but not so.

According to the International Olympic Committee, Canada is in 34th place in the medal standings as of Saturday. That's because the IOC lists countries according to number of gold medals won, then looks at silver, and then bronze. (If not for Rosie MacLennan's trampoline gold, we'd be in 50th place in the IOC standings, just ahead of Egypt.)

This is the table used by the media in most countries worldwide. But as Sun Media's own Steve Simmons has pointed out, a few countries -- like us -- choose to rank Olympic performance by total medals won, which puts Canada in 12th place overall. Except in Vancouver 2010, where we reverted to the IOC standings because it put us at No. 1 in the standings, instead of No. 3 in the overall medal count.

So yeah, we look at different medal data depending on how it best strokes our national ego. But the U.S. took it a step further a few days ago when they were trailing China in the overall standings. The Yahoo! Sports Olympics blog said that if one focuses on the "real" Olympic events (their words) -- ie. the ones that don't involve judges deciding scores, such as gymnastics and diving -- the U! S! A! was actually number one. Thank goodness they're back on top now, so we don't have to listen to any more butthurt stats-spinning.

Golden pipes

Throughout these Olympics I've been switching between televised coverage on CTV, TSN, SportsNet, the French-language RDS and V networks and sometimes even Omni. But man, do I wish I had access to Telemundo.

If only for Saturday's gold-medal soccer match between Brazil and Mexico, which Mexico ultimately won 2-1. In a highlight clip shown on NBC, legendary Telemundo sportscaster Andres Cantor seemed determine to beat his own personal record for his signature "GOOOOAAAALLLL!" shout. (There should probably be more letters in "GOOOOAAAALLLL!" but I don't want to mess up the word wrap here on the page.)

When Mexico's Oribe Peralta scored his first of two goals in the match, Cantor's repeated cries of "GOOOOAAAALLLL!" sounded like a siren warning of an impending nuclear attack, lasting as long as 13 seconds per "GOOOOAAAALLLL!" Yep, I timed them. How come Rod Smith never does that?

Feel-good Facebook post of the day:

"Hope to see you in Brazil 2016 and this time race you to the end for a place on the podium."

That's Costa Rican triathlete Leonardo Chacon writing to Canada's Simon Whitfield. Chacon was right behind Whitfield when the Canadian crashed his bike during the triathlon, taking Chacon down in the process. See the full text of Chacon's inspiring Facebook post here: www.bit.ly/olysportsman

steve.tilley#sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @stevetilley