Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | August 25, 2008

What earthquake?

What earthquake? I didn’t feel an earthquake. I feel robbed. So far four phone calls or texts have asked me about this quake – but the earth did not move for me in Takapau last night.

GNS Science recorded the 5.9 quake, which struck at 11.25pm, as being centred about 10km southwest of Hastings on the North Island’s East Coast at a depth of 30km (Takapau is about 65km south of Hastings).

Hubby felt it but didn’t say so until this morning (obviously didn’t think it was worth copping the wrath of sleeping wife). A sharp jolt followed by a loud rumbling and then a bit of rock and roll.

Would the three drunken swimmers in the NZ Olympic team have felt it had they been home? How embarrassing – taking a snap of a drunken teammate on the toilet. I don’t think it should reflect on their performances at the games though. For goodness sake, they have been under so much pressure for the past four years. Let them let their hair down. It sounds pretty tame (I would stand to be corrected if someone wants to let me in on the gossip). And doesn’t it just make you want to know who the subject of the photo was?!

Speaking of Olympic performances – there was a poll on stuff.co.nz the other day asking us to rate NZ’s performance at the games. My vote went the way of pretty good. We had a few fourths and near misses (Moss Burmester and Emma Twigg spring to mind immediately), prospects with young athletes in a number of sports, such as the BMX racing and canoeing, not to mention what could have been for Mahe Drysdale without the flu (but to get bronze despite it – amazing).

But the Games wouldn’t rate any higher because there were also disappointments – like the men’s rowing four not making it into the finals, the equestrian team off the pace (can Mark Todd do 2012?)

At the time my vote went in, the poll rated our NZ performance at the Olympics as pretty good (55% or 2823 people) hugely successful (19%), average 17%, below average 6% and the rest, a mere 3%, thought we were shocking (165 people). I bet those people haven’t broken into a jog for a decade or so.

When I went to the Stuff website to update those figures just now, I saw another poll I hadn’t noticed asking people what they would remember most about the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

NZ’s medal haul (1678 votes, 11.7%), Michael Phelps’ string of wins (4195 votes, 29.2%), Usain Bolt becoming fastest man on the planet (3518 votes, 24.5%), the controversy over the fake singer (1387 votes, 9.7%) or not much, I’m glad it’s over (3578 votes, 24.9%).

One lasting memory will be the weightlifter who dropped the dumbell thingies on top of himself and left his arm at a peculiar angle underneath it. The thought still makes me shudder.

The twins’ gold medal race is the most memorable of all though . I was in a pub in central Wellington on a girlie weekend away when they won – the place was so quiet while we waited for the placings to be confirmed. Then we had the pleasure of going to a restaurant for dinner and being able to announce to the patrons that we had won gold! Whether they wanted to know it or not, really. Another savvy girls?

The diving was great watching (did you see poor Tamati on TVOne’s Breakfast “dive” off the high board? Very funny.) And I laughed at the synchro swimming – okay, the swimmers need plenty of training, timing and discipline, but it’s like dancing in water and dancing isn’t an olympic sport.

Olympics sports should be something you can quantify – jump the longest or highest, lift the heaviest, run the fastest, score the most goals or points. Although I guess that would remove the ever popular gymastics and diving, as points are deducted rather than added up.

I have watched handball for the first time, grimaced at the weightlifting and turned off the table tennis. Thomas watched more women’s beach volleyball than was sportsmanlike, but I did actually appreciate their skill (especially in that final between the States and China).

All in all, congratulations to all the NZ sportspeople who competed in Beijing – medals or not, they are amongst the best athletes in the world. We are looking likely to make the trip up to Hastings on Saturday for Caroline and Georgina’s victory parade – they deserve it. I have trouble thinking about a rowing machine, let alone using one.

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