Monday, August 22, 2016

24 hilarious tweets from Rio 2016

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games were the most social games of all times. Special credit goes to the partnership between NBC and Snapchat to show highlights of the games on this millennial crazy platform. Snapchat set up a dedicated channel for the games. News site BuzzFeed curated short clips and behind-the-scenes content into the Discover channel of Snapchat, while Snapchat created daily "live stories" using content from NBC, athletes and sports fans at the scene. Undoubtedly, it was one of the best ways to catch up with the highlights of the games.

Following is a story on snapchat that said- 24 hilarious tweets from Rio 2016. I thought it was indeed funny to read:

Hope you are laughing as hard as or even more than I am!

Why it is hard to be a fan of the Olympic Games

Despite criticisms, the Rio Olympic Games just ended with a huge success. The organizers, staff, athletes, coaches, volunteers, media and tourists will all take a break and will celebrate the success of the games. However, there is one segment of the society who will be the saddest as the games end.

The FANS of the Olympic Games.

I was excited to watch the games for the first time as a fan, hoping to sit on a couch and watch the games all day (and not training for 8 hours each day). However, the last two weeks, I ended up working and going to classes each day. Thanks to NBC, I was able to stream the games live. All day, I had a tab on with NBC streaming the games live; I would sneak in once in a while.

Each evening from 10pm – 1am, I would watch the highlights, catch up on all the tweets and Snapchat stories from Rio. I was not the happiest fan, because I missed a lot of LIVE action.

Everyone said I had become anti-social. Thus, I decided to watch the finals of the women’s singles Table Tennis competition between Ding Ning and Li Xiaxoi over dinner with friends. I was supporting Ding Ning, my favorite female table tennis athlete. I didn’t care while I jumped to cheer and pumped my fists when she won a point. I didn’t care if people around me wondered if I had springs beneath me, all I cared was to cheer as loud as I can each time Ding Ning won a point.

One of my friends, who is an American football fanatic, interrupted, “Neha, I need to confess something, I am NOT a fan of the Olympics”

Not surprised, I still asked him why.

He honestly replied, “Well I love watching volleyball and handball but I hardly get to see any games on the TV or online. Even on social and digital channels, I hardly see any coverage. Its hard to be a fan, I don’t have any stars to follow. Well, Olympics are once in 4 years, what am I supposed to do with the rest of the days? With football, I can watch numerous games every week for half a year, follow my favorite athletes easily and be a loyal fan!”

I knew this was coming. I smiled and gave an empathetic nod and got back to cheering and jumping each time Ding Ning won a point.

5 days back as I watched Sindhu winning the semi final in women’s singles badminton competition, I recorded the final point and her celebrations after and tweeted it to my followers so that they can enjoy the moment again and again. Within 2 hours, I received an email from Twitter that my tweet was taken down as it violated the copyright policies of the IOC. Only the IOC and NBC hold official rights to stream the games and share video content on their social and digital platforms

Description of my tweet: The copyrighted work at issue is a televised broadcast (where a user is taking video of a television or other screen) of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Description of infringement: Unauthorized broadcast of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The Tweet that violated IOC's copyright policies.

The fan in me was hurt a little.

Thus, let’s get it real, it IS hard to be a fan of any of the Olympic sports. Having experiencing the sporting scene in both India and USA, I am not hesitant to claim that this issue exists in all countries.

The cause?
  • The games are once in 4 years: The fans are pumped up ONLY for 2 weeks every 4 years to enjoy the spirit of the games. Thus, conversations about the games in person and on social media is limited. Recent TV Viewership numbers from Rio show that, in comparison to London, there has been a 30% drop in that number of TV viewers of ages between 18 and 34.
  •  Minimum TV coverage during rest of the days: We hardly see our favorite Olympic athletes on TV competing. Thus, its almost impossible to follow your favorite Olympic athlete unless you use OTT services or stalk your favorite athlete on social media.
  •  Strict rules regarding Olympic sponsorship (Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter): Corporates are inclined towards non Olympic events and there is comparatively little marketing and advertising for Olympic sports/athletes.
  •  Olympic sports are not our country’s favorite pastime. Its either cricket (India) or baseball/football (USA) or EPL/ La Liga/Bundesliga (Europe) as these events are televised on a nearly daily basis.
All these factors are a part of a vicious circle.

For the athletes, the Olympics Games are every single day. But, for the fans...?

We get to see a Stephen Curry play every week, a Virat Kohli bat every two weeks, a Liverpool game and sing YNWA every other week. We DON’T get to see the Bolts, the Phelps, the Biles, the Dipas and the Sindhus shine on TV screens each time they compete, we see them only ONCE in 4 years.

As the games come to an end, I will take a few days to get over the “Olympic hangover”. I will go back watching Sindhu’s interviews, Sakshi’s final bout, Dipa’s purdonova and Phelp’s numerous races. I will go back watching the endless content on every social media platform until I have covered all.

However, this will end in a month’s time.


The wait for next Olympics games will begin.

4 years to go! See you in Tokyo 2020!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

34 questions to Sharath Kamal

Its been 2 years since I started writing. Somehow, I would always look forward to July 12. That's when I can celebrate by writing my heart out about my favorite athlete- Achanta Sharath Kamal. This is the day when the legend was born and being a loyal fan for the last 14 years, each year I seek different ways to express my admiration towards him. 

2 weeks back as I started to plan my strategy for this year, I felt it will be impossible to interview Sharath Kamal as the distance was humongous. Me living on the other side of the world when he on the other side is so busy preparing for his 3rd Olympics, an interview seemed next to impossible. 

I nevertheless, I ask him for a good time. 12 hours later, he was on a Skype call with me!

One of my questions to him was, " What makes you smile on a bad day?" Like you must have assumed by now, I too thought that "the sight of my daughter" would be his prompt answer. However, he adds, "Well my daughter is there, but, it is the people around me that make me happy. The worst thing I experience when I go to Europe is- you lose a match and you go to an empty house and you stare at walls, but when you have people around you whom you can talk to, not about the loss but anything else, that's what makes me happy."

This man amazes me each time I talk to him.

His simplicity, added to his honesty, makes me admire him over and over again. 

That is why his own rivals love him too. Other young men, might be able to beat him on the court sometimes, but, they too will never stop looking up to him as a role model. 

Only a man who has endured the worst can appreciate & respect "people" (of all statures).

Taking out an hour for me to do this interview while with family, truly explains why he is a people's person. (It actually took more than an hour for a 17 min interview because of some technical issues).

Well, for all us Sharath Kamal fans, its his existence that makes us happy. He, on any given day, no matter win or loss, continues to inspire us and make us fall in love with him over and over again.

That is why, from the deepest corner of our hearts, we wish him the best in his life ahead and a very Happy 34th Birthday!

That moment in 2010 CWG, the Tri Colour was raised high and the entire nation sang Jana Gana Mana- years of hard work flash by your moist eyes  

This year I chose to do a video interview. 

His thoughtfulness, honesty, willingness to reveal more about himself and most importantly, his time- are all testimony to the fact that how humble this legend his. 

Hope you all feel the same too. 

34 questions to the 34 year old Sharath Kamal.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

An Open Letter to Salman Khan: Indian Contingent's Goodwill Ambassador for 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Dear Mr.Khan,

The Oxford dictionary defines a goodwill ambassador as “A person serving (usually unofficially) to promote goodwill between countries, institutions, etc.; now chiefly a well-known person (especially a celebrity) appointed by a charity or other organization to publicize its activities or promote a specified cause."

The Indian Olympic Association recently appointed you as the goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent for the Rio Olympic Games this summer.
You were chosen above equally (or higher) renowned actors like Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan.

Moreover, you were chosen above the REAL heroes- Milkha Singh, PT Usha, Sachin Tendulkar, and many more..

                                                  Video Courtesy: Times Now YouTube Channel 

In your interview you expressed “ek hota hai na aadmi peeche se dhakka marne wala, support karne wala, woh respect ki ek baat hoti hai, ke yaar he is supporting us, we need to give our best”

I guess you meant that the athletes respect you, and if you support them, chances of them being motivated to win a medal at Rio will go high.

I am sorry, Mr.Khan. But here is the truth:

Athletes train day and night their entire lives for this one moment to represent our motherland at this one event that comes once in 4 years, with the aim to win a medal and see the tricolor go high. It takes years and years of hard work and perseverance to produce an Olympic athlete. Sacrifices are made every single day. Strict & disciplined regime, financial inadequacy, lack of infrastructure, uncertainty of a win, and a short lived athletic career: these athletes have made tons of sacrifices in their journey to the Olympic Games. They are motivated enough Mr.Khan. They have their skills that they have been nurturing all this while to support themselves. They have their coach’s support. They have their family's support.They have the IOA and their federation’s support. What they truly need, and what this country needs, is- the COLLECTIVE SUPPORT of the 1.2 billion people that we all are.

Something you get when a big blockbuster is released on screen.

The athletes want to be recognized on the streets like you are, Mr.Khan. They want the media to publish their stories and achievements more often than it is done now.

 The IOA has appointed you as the goodwill ambassador to promote Olympic Sports and our jeweled athletes to the people of this nation who are still unaware of these "unsung heroes". Its their moment Mr.Khan. Please don’t steal it away from them. We will all watch Sultan, because we all love you anyway. The IOA chose you because you are influential and your words mean a lot to the Indians. They all follow you and are inspired by you. Your Being Human campaign has changed the lives of so many Indians. If you ask them to go play badminton, athletics, wrestling, boxing, table tennis, or any other Olympic Sport, they will listen you. If you ask them to watch the Olympic games, they will do so. If you post a selfie with an unsung hero, they will share the post.

The jersey you are wearing, Mr.Khan, kindly respect it. For many Olympians, including myself, it is hard EARNED. It’s our reward for the long hours spent on the court trying to get better in our respective sports. CRICKET, Mr.Khan, is NOT an Olympic Sport.

“Heroine hai Sania Mirza (sarcasm), Vijender hai, Sushil Kumar hai, CRICKET MEIN TOH HAI HI” those were your words.

And, Vijender Singh turned pro last year, Mr.Khan, whether he can compete at the Olympic
Games this summer or not, will be clear this June.

Your 100 days to Rio message: “Kuch na Kuch leke aao yaar” (Please bring something atleast friends) 

I fail to understand, what does this even mean?

Would have been great if you had said “My friends (yaar), do your best, results will follow, the entire nation is with you, including myself. Jai Hind.”
Pic Courtesy: Google Images

The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

THIS IS WHAT the people of INDIA need to learn.

Yours Lovingly,
A former Olympian & a proud Indian.