Living His Olympic Dream

I just want to write a quick post about Ivo Seibert. You might not know him, but you’ve probably seen him on TV at least once over the last two weeks.

In my recent post about the unusual lexis of the Olympics, I casually wondered who the derny riders in the keirin races were (I have to google the spelling of keirin every time). And you can imagine my surprise this evening when I got home to find a comment on the article from Ivo, sharing a link to a Japan Times story about a derny rider. A derny rider named Ivo. Ivo Seibert! Not only was the story about him, but the image of him accompanying it was the exact same one I’d used for my post! I couldn’t believe it!

Here’s the story, have a look at it, it’s a great read: Continue reading

Derny Look Great?


Every four years, at least once while watching the Olympics, I’ll have a look at the schedule for the day, I’ll come across a sport listed and ask The what??? Keirin!? What on earth is that!? It seems that with every Olympic Games my vocabulary widens thanks to names of specific forms of sports I’ll never encounter again in my life. So here’s a quick look at some of those oh-so specific terms we’ve been hearing for the last week and a bit:

Keirin: a type of cycling race in which the riders sprint after a few speed-controlled laps in which they have to follow a man on a motorized bicycle called a derny. When I see the derny rider, I always think: Who is he? Does he only ever ride a derny? What does he do with the rest of his time? I don’t think I could do that, help people win glory without having a chance myself. Also, it looks really silly.

Repechage: a stage in a competition in which competitors who failed to proceed to the final round, usually by a small margin, get another chance to qualify. It sounds much nicer than losers’ round, but then when you consider the original meaning in French—fishing out/rescuing—the name sounds deliberately humiliating.

Shuttlecock: Hee hee! The little thing they hit around in badminton. Shuttle coming from the meaning to move quickly back and forth, and cock from its resemblance to a male bird’s plumage (and nothing else).

Fosbury Flop: The method employed by high jumpers to go over the bar backwards. Popularised by American athlete Dick Fosbury in 1965. Before he introduced his technique, athletes used a variety of forward-facing methods, all of which looked incredibly undignified, and can be seen in video below:

Laser Radial: Not a classic sci-fi novel, but a class of sailing boat, seemingly so-called because it sounds cool. And why not?

Corruption: sadly, there are probably too many words to cover here, so I’ll have to do another list of Olympics-related corruption vocabulary.

The Heat is on

It’s that time again, as every four years we’re glued to the TV to watch the Olympics. I always loved it, especially the track and field events. But one word that I’ve always found a little strange is: heat. As in, a qualifying race for a final. Where does it come from?

It seems that the word was first recorded with this meaning in the 17th century, then being used to refer to a run to prepare a horse for a race. Or warm it up, if you will.

For a lot of the more elite athletes, it pretty much has the same meaning: to warm up, generate some heat, for the final.

I hope you’re all enjoying the Olympics: I’ll be spending most of time trying to figure out the name of the exact shade of green the diving pool has turned.