One-Minute Book Reviews

August 21, 2008

Australia Was the Best Modern Olympic Host (Quote of the Day / ‘The Olympic Games’)

Filed under: Nonfiction,Quotes of the Day,Sports — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 10:43 pm
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If the International Olympic Committee gave awards for hosting the summer games of the past quarter century, China would deserve the booby prize for embarrassments that began with lip sync-ing at the opening ceremony and keep unfolding. What country was the best recent host? The editors of The Olympic Games: Athens 1896–Athens 2004 (DK, 2004) vote for Australia:

“The Sydney 2000 Games were one of the greatest success stories in Olympic history. Over 10,000 athletes from 200 countries delivered the ultimate sporting even in a suberb venue.

“At the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Games, outgoing president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Juan Antonio Samaranch declared to the host nation, ‘I am proud and happy to proclaim that you have presented to the world the best Olympic Games ever.’ Quite a plaudit, but one few would argue with. Everything seemed perfect – the organization, the athletic performance, the setting, the climate …

“The only blot on the Sydney Games was the rash of athletes removed after failing drugs tests – a record total of 35. However, it is undeniable that the Sydney Games were the high watermark of the modern Olympics, and something that future Olympic hosts will have to live up to.”

This comment comes from a publisher that, though well-respected, is based in London www.dk.com. Do you agree with the editors? Or do you think their comments show a Commonwealth bias?

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

August 15, 2008

Why ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ is Bad Poetry and Other Literary Thoughts on the Olympics

Random literary thoughts on the Olympics:

1. Michael Phelps’s underwater dolphin kick is sports poetry.

2. NBC should fire the swimming analyst who keeps saying “he has swam” (as in “he has swam much better than this”).

3. The first word of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (“Oh”) is an example of the literary device known as anacrusis, a lead-in syllable or syllables that precede the first full foot.

4. The national anthem is written in anapestic meter, Dr. Seuss’s favorite. (What, you’ve never noticed the similarity between “And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air” and “I meant what I said / and I said what I meant …”?)

5. Why is “The Star-Spangled Banner” bad poetry? Take in the last line: “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” In a good poem, words are not interchangeable. You can’t switch them around with no loss in meaning or effect, because everything in the poem essential. Apart from a rhyme, what would the national anthem lose if Francis Scott Key had written “home of the free and the land of the brave” instead of “the land of the free and the home of the brave”?

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

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