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Sunday, July 29, 2012

LONDON OLYMPICS FINAL RACE: THE MARATHON

First, I did fix myself a Badminton (scroll down to my post yesterday) after I returned from walking 18 at Ala Wai yesterday:


Amazingly enough, I had all the ingredients.  But I do have a dozen different Johnny Walker scotches, so I had little doubt.  Flowers are optional.  I did not provide exact details yesterday, so here they are:




A Maraschino cherry is advised, which I quickly eliminated, for the concoction was too sweet as it was.  Next time, Roses Lime Juice will be helpful.

So, about the London Olympics, let's go back to the beginning.  If there is a race with historic Greek roots, it is the marathon.  The Modern Olympics began in Greece in 1896.  This final race of any Olympics since then commemorates the deadly race in 490 BC of Pheidippides from Marathon (the battlefield, and, thus, the name), a distance of around 25 miles, to Athens, where he announced to the Assembly, "νικωμεν’--we have won (defeating the invading Persians), collapsed and died.

You would think that the Athens race would have established the marathon distance, but, no, it kept changing until the "unofficial" Athens Olympic Games in 1906 (note that this was out of sync by two years) set it at just over 26 miles.  Notable was the first participation by an official USA delegation.  In 1908 the eruption of Mount Vesuvius relocated the Olympics from Rome to London.  As was reported, because the race began at Windsor Castle, the organizers had to add 385 yards to where King Edward VII would be sitting in White City Stadium, etching into posterity 26 miles plus 385 yards as the official marathon distance, as illogical as it might be.  An American, Johnny Hayes. won, only because the first person to cross the line, Dorando Pietri (above right) collapsed several times and was finally helped to the finish.

There are now 500 marathons annually held, with the Honolulu Marathon among the top ten.  According to AskMen and Runner's World, London's is #1, and they only first held this event in 1981.  There is something about the historic background that provides an ethereal aura.  Thus, these marathons for the summer games should be magical.

In London, the women's marathon will be run on August 5, while the men's will on August 12 start at 11AM (midnight Hawaii time / 6AM New York).  Much of the race will be run on the streets of London, so this will mostly (you won't be able to see the beginning and end in person, except with tickets and on TV) be free for the viewing if you are short of tickets.  To the right, Mary Keitany and Wilson Kipsang of Kenya with Prince Harry.  They won the April London Marathon, so their favorite status below could just be the confidence they provide from having recently run and win here, for the following is from Sky Bet, a British on-line betting site.

Favorites are:

Women

Mary Keitany (Kenya)               11/8 (42%)
Tiki Galana (Ethiopia)                5/1 (17%)
Lilya Shobukhova (Russia)       13/2 (13%)
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Shalane Flanagan (USA)          10/1 (9%)

Men

Wilson Kipsang (Kenya)            5/2 (29%)
Ayele Abshero (Ethiopia)           5/2 (29%)
Abel Kirui (Kenya)                     4/1 (20%)

The top six men are all from Kenya or Ethiopia.  However, favorites rarely win.  The last woman to do this was Rosa Mota in 1988.

Can't leave, though, without a final series of photos, for no one officially responds to these postings, but personal comments (granted, all from the male gender) seem to favor my treatment of women (the men also participate, but there apparently is no interest for their visuals--until someone so comments) beach volleyball:



They are China's Zhang Xi above, followed from the left by Russia's Anna Vozakova and Anastasia Vasina. Women's beach volleyball has become a big hit in London, and a very hot ticket.  Huge availability for the men's competition.  The cost ranges from a low of around $70 to a high of  $700 per seat, same as the women's tickets, which, of course, are sold out.

So why is women's beach volleyball so popular?   Well, for one, my photos, but, also, Prince Harry has promised to attend the women's finals at 9PM (10AM Hawaii / 3PM New York) on Thursday, August 8.  For more shots, click on Mirror Sport to view the olympians from Great Britain.

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Oh, oh, Tropical Storm Saola is now expected to strengthen to a Category 3 just before it begins to affect Taipei:


The expectation is a grazing of Taiwan, then on to the general region of Zhoushan and Shanghai, a relative rarity for this area.

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