27 Jul 2012

Olympics Again!

Well how about that! Four years have flown by since the Beijing Olympics, and now it's about to officially commence soon in less than 7 hours in London! At least this is one of the more spectacular and enjoyable reminders of the relentless pace of Father Time's forward march.

How about that? It doesn't seem like too long ago, but that means an almost 4 year gap between this post and the other one featuring an on-the-fly report of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony! I still remember when I avoided using capital letters probably because I saw other blogs that just stuck to small letters, and I wrote in a really disorganised and chaotic way. Not to say I've completely mastered the technique now, but I'm certain I've improved.

This time I'm not sure if I'll do a live report of this opening ceremony though. At least back then the live telecast was at a more comfortable time-slot since the time-zone gap is smaller. Now for a ceremony that I can only begin to watch at nearly 4 in the morning here, I probably wouldn't bother with that. Still, I might change my mind later and do it again for nostalgia and as a way to keep me alert throughout the telecast...

...this sounds like a typical time where I draw parallels between the Olympics and the 'A' Levels exams, right? Okay, I'll oblige.

Both do deserve the hype that they are getting currently; the London Olympics is doubly special because it's been more than 60 years since the last time it was held there, and with the recent celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee earlier on there's even more of the festive mood. The 'A' Levels are also very important because it pretty much can determine quite a substantial part of a young adult's career choices in the future... and it's not easy either because many many students are competing in this, not being just content with passing but having the strong intent to "go for the gold".

Participants of both events need to have gone through a lot of preparation beforehand; the Olympics probably 3 to 4 years, the 'A' Levels 2. Practice is the main way to improve, although luck can screw with things a bit, causing false starts in sprinters and hurdlers and swimmers, and throwing in the occasional careless mistakes in exam scripts that could determine if the students get A's or B's. Still, experience can show through the results of most people.

In some events like diving and gymnastics and synchronised swimming, the athletes and coaches have to be sensitive on what the judges are looking for: form, technique, sometimes interpretation of music if applicable. Helping the judges to tick off points of their check list will lead to higher scores. Same for the 'A' Levels; both the students and teachers have to know on what the examiners are looking for when asking certain questions: the use of terminology, explanation of processes, clear working, balance in arguments etc. This very well determines the scores that scripts will be awarded.

Perhaps that's why students in sports CCAs may have an advantage in the 'A' Levels race? The disciplines and methods learnt from their training can be modified and applied to studying too. Perhaps they have learnt to focus better? That's probably unfair to say that since some musical CCAs also place heavy emphasis on discipline and focus... although athletes probably have better ways of improving mental stamina?

Anyway, I'm still contemplating on that live report of the opening ceremony. It may already be hard to stay up and stare at the images, let alone record details, at such an absurdly early time. We'll see. Besides, even if I don't there are probably repeat telecasts that others can just watch, right?

In the meantime the clock's ticking down to the lighting of the Olympic flame...