Two Men in a Square

This week I am discussing the 2008 Olympic Games in a Business, Politics and Sport unit at the University of Canberra.

I am keen to discuss the iconography of the Games as a way to explore Olympism.

I thought I would start with this image:

and then discuss this video:

as a way to explore what we understand about cultural contexts and ‘documentary reality’.

My own thinking about the connections between business, politics and sport started with a research project into apartheid in sport (1973), was refocussed by Garry Whannel’s Blowing the Whistle (1983) and extended by John Hoberman’s discussion of Mortal Engines (1992).

I have been involved in international sport since 1980 and so I have had some wonderful opportunities to reflect on politics in sport and to contemplate ‘selective indignation‘, ‘moral hazard‘ and ‘willful blindness‘.

My discussion of the 2008 Olympics is linked to a history of the Games that includes events of 1936, 1972, 1980 and 1984 (but not limited solely to these Games).

Partnerships, Performance and Probability

Two Test Matches have been completed in the 2010-2011 Ashes Series. The Series is offering some excellent examples of the importance of batting partnerships as foundations for winning performance.

I have been collecting information about batting partnerships from Cricinfo‘s excellent coverage of the matches.

At present there is a very clear pattern of performance.

Twenty-two of Australia’s partnerships to date have produced less than thirty runs for each partnership. Five partnerships have produced no runs. Five of England’s partnerships have produced more than a hundred runs each.

Performance in the First Test in Brisbane has developed into a trend in the Second Test in Adelaide. Australia’s wrapper of early order partnerships and late order runs that has been characteristic of the team is absent at present. In the Second Test the innings have been wrapped by low personal scores and partnerships.

The next Test Match is in Perth. I wonder if this is where the current issues facing the Australian team started in 2008 against the visiting South African team. A Wikepedia articles observes that:

South Africa achieved the second highest successful run chase in Test cricket history, losing only the wicket of Kallis (57) on their way to 414-4. AB de Villiers (106*) and debutant JP Duminy (50*) put on 111 for the fifth wicket to take the visitors to victory. Australia had a poor day in the field, taking only one wicket.

The Third Test becomes a great opportunity for those interested in performance to monitor the role probability plays in winning outcomes. Both teams are on different tracks at the moment and for the first time in many years in Australia, England hold the destiny of the Ashes.