Monday, August 18, 2008

A little something about synchronized diving

Let me be the first to say that Olympians are awesome.

They’re at the peak of their physical and mental preparedness and are conditioned in such a way as to make one believe that they are freaks of nature.  Though, truth be told, they are some of the most perfect products of nature man has ever seen, and we get to put them on display once every 4 years (2 years if you count the Winter Olympics, as well).


I love the Olympics.


That all said, I think trampolining and synchronized diving is a complete joke.


Yes, it’s hard.  I recognize that.  Precision ANYTHING is complicated and requires training.


But seriously…  I really CAN do trampolining, with just a little bit of training.  My 4 year old niece can do that.  Hell, my dog can do that.


Well, maybe not my dog.  He’s a little dumb, but cute.


Diving, on the other hand, is a real thing.  When someone gets up there and executes a triple spin flip double backhanded jackknife with no splash, that’s truly Olympian.  There’s the natural aversion to drowning to death and vertigo that prevents mere mortals from even climbing up that high on a platform.  There’s the execution required to prevent the ever-so-graceful belly or back flop.  It’s a thing of wonder (unlike jumping on a backyard toy).  That’s what Olympic sports are about.  Overcoming natural aversion to something and training your body to do something unusual in an extraordinary way.


But there is nothing particularly Olympian about 2 people doing it at the same time.  “Wow, it’s amazing how they’re so in synch!” 


Let me hip you to some physics real quick.


An object falls at the rate of 9.8 meters per second per second without regard to its mass (wind resistance, on the other hand, is different).  This Italian dude figured that out about 600 some odd years ago.  That fact hasn’t changed in the least over that time.  2 balls, different masses, dropped at the same time, hit the earth at the same time.


Therefore, if 2 people jump off a platform at the same time, they’ll hit the water at the same time.  It’s that simple.  (Also, from the much harder to believe files, a bullet fired on a flat trajectory will hit the ground at the same time as a bullet dropped vertically from the same height as the barrel of the gun firing the bullet, given that they are fired and dropped at the same time.  “No way!” you say?  “Yes way!”  Physics doesn’t take a holiday just because it’s a bullet.)


Needless to say, of course they’re in synch, and it’s idiotic that they’re wasting our time televising that moronic display of gravity acting equally on 2 objects.  Bah.


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