Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Fiction Feed - Don't Say The Word

Sometimes, when writing, I like to try and describe an object without saying what it is. For example, I might call bills "Stupid letters from stupid people that want my stupid money because I used their stupid service". Clearly, a bill.

Or I might take it to a slightly more poetic level. "The white orb gleamed in the pot of water, creamy white but also reflecting the orange of the sun." What is that? I was thinking of boiling an egg.

But the point is, sometimes it is good practice. Your audience is smart; they can figure things out if you leave enough clues. Leave some clues this weekend. Don't say the word!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The 2012 Olympics, 2020 Style - Part Deux

Since a lot of people seemed to be interested in my last post, regarding the Big Four countries and how they would have done in London if the new 2020 rules were in effect, I've decided to do the other four countries that were in the Team Finals--Canada, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan. My fear is that the new rules is going to make the gap between the Big Four and these nations even greater. To begin with, the gap is sizable--there was a difference of over four points between the fourth place team, China, and fifth place Canada. Canada was over thirteen points out of last place. The last place team, Japan, was seventeen points out of last place. The US could have dropped a score completely and still would have got in sixth place. The difference between the Big Four and other countries really is significant, and now that four all arounders are needed, I suspect that this will grow.

The second change is that, with really one exception, the athletes that I am dropping from the country's team would not make it to the Olympics at all--there are not any real specialists left. McKayla Maroney, Maria Paskea, Catalina Ponor, and He Kexin should all have easily qualified to the Olympics as specialists--all four of them won individual medals. This is not the case with the next four. The number of athletes from this country has indeed shrunk now.

So, what happened to Canada, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan?

Friday, May 15, 2015

The 2012 Olympics, 2020-Style

When I originally made this blog, I intended to occasionally write about gymnastics, and...I never did. Oh, well.

As you may have heard (but probably haven't), as of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, gymnastics is going to be done rather differently. Instead of one team of five, like it was in 2012 and will be in 2016, each country will get one team with four athletes. Up to two athletes per country can also qualify, but only for specific events or the all around--they can't be used it a team competition. So, back in 2012, somebody like McKayla Maroney probably wouldn't have made the Olympic "Team" and competed in Team Finals--but she would probably qualify as an additional specialist.

Sorry, McKayla
In addition, the finals themselves are going to be different. While back in 2012, three gymnasts (out of the five) competed on each apparatus, as of 2020 all four gymnasts are going to compete on every apparatus, with the lowest score dropped. This is actually how it used to be; back in 1996, six gymnasts competed and the top five scores count. (This is why it didn't really matter, in retrospect, whether Kerri Strug landed that famous vault or not--they could have dropped her score, used Dominique Moceanu's score, and still won).

Not necessary. Sorry, Kerri
So with all of these changes, I started wondering...would the US have won in 2012 if those rules had applied? Would they have won by even more? They won by over 5 points to begin with, which is a gymnastics landslide. Or would it have been closer? Would Ebee have been chosen over Kyla, then? Hmm....

So, I crunched some numbers! I ended up only doing the Big Four (US, Russia, Romania, and China), although it would have been interesting to see where everyone else would fall.