Tuesday, 12 August 2008

The "Watching-Olympics-In-The-Office"-Olympics

The ancient Greeks and Romans had it right. There is nothing like a good, big sporting event to entertain the masses and create a community feeling.

Nowadays, there is no need to feed Christians to the lions to get a trading floor entertained.

The Olympics will do.

With the recent Euro 2008 slightly underwhelming in terms of public interest due to the absence of the England team, the next sporting event has just come upon us.

And this time, England is in. Not in the Olympic football tournament for reasons too difficult to explain (but having to do with long-standing animosities between the home nations), but in loads of other appealing disciplines.

Since the markets are currently not quite dead, but definitely on extended leave, the trading floors across the City are watching whatever sporting event is put in front of them.

This can be reasonably entertaining once getting used to the fact that every time you look up to the screen a different sport is on. One minute it's Badminton, then Archery, wild-water Kanoeing, synchronised swimming etc. You name it, it will be broadcast at some stage.

But of course some events are more entertaining then others, so from the last few days of becoming an avid trading floor athlete - these are the main findings.

  • If there is UK participation, the noise level will rise. Suddenly Badminton players are being cheered on and we are rooting for show jumpers. It doesn't matter that we don't care about them for the next 4 years.
  • Firm favourite in terms of hilarity value: Women's weightlifting. It caused major discussions since many of the women did not look like they were female. Do they test the gender when they do doping tests?
  • Whatever it is, it has to come in snippets - an entire basketball match seems too long to handle since in that time, you could watch multiple heats of swimming as well as more Archery than was featured in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves".
  • Team sports are particularly good when teams fail, such as the UK synchronised divers, because then you can watch them on live TV blaming each other for not having performed better. Single sports are a bit dull since there is nobody else to blame.
  • When Andy Murray crashed out in the singles in the first round, he was a Scot. When he won his doubles match with his brother, they were British.
  • Always know where your country ranks in the Medals Tables, and always rub it in. For instance, Germany leapfrogged Great Britain on Tuesday by getting four gold medals and that is worth mentioning. All the time.
Come the weekend, things might become a little bit more mainstream with the Track & Field events which traditionally have a bigger mass appeal.

But there will always be Women's Shot Put to keep us on the edge.