In Memoriam: Olympic Tandem Match Sprint

The tandem bike throw.

The Olympic track racing fires off tomorrow and it’s time to remember an event discarded to the bin of noble sports.

The Olympic roster of events is constantly evolving and devolving which is why we are now watching synchronized diving as an Olympic sport. What a world, what a world. Maybe it’s a sign of me getting too old but it makes me sick. Who does this sport? Who says let’s go down to the public pool and work on our synchronized diving? No one, that’s who. Did the IOC get bribed by Big Diving? Diving is barely watchable, adding another diver who does the exact same thing adds little. Yes, I’m biased, yes, I don’t understand it. Send your hate mail to Condoleezza Rice, c/o Stanford University, I don’t want it.

Years ago Olympic road cycling cancelled the 100km four-man team time trial and I’m still bitter about that! The four-man TT was a killer event. The time was on the third rider to cross the finish line. A four person team could barely afford to lose one rider. One flat, a bonk, do we wait, do we go? This had to be decided on the road by the team while riding on the razor’s edge of anaerobic doom.

Olympic track lost the tandem match sprint. Track is also losing the individual pursuit events this year for reasons I can’t imagine. Thank you, UCI. The tandem sprint was no flash in the pan event, introduced into the Olympics in 1908. It was finally terminated after the 1972 games. God damn it, what’s not to love? We keep thinking Cav is the fastest cyclist but track sprinters are faster. Imagine two super fast riders on one bike racing another matched pair. One pair of legs does the driving, one pair just to stoke. The stoker could also be the second pair of eyes for the driver but really his mission was to plant his face against the small of the driver’s back and spin that bike up to over 85 kph! The tactics were the same as the regular match sprint. There were track stands, jumps and bumps: it was just faster and more awesome.

I don’t know the reasoning behind the decision in 1972 but I’m here to say things were a little weird back then, many bad decisions went down in the early ’70s. The Bee Gees made it to number sixteen in the American music charts and they were not terminated with extreme prejudice right then, before it was too late.

Here is some footage of a past World Championship just to demonstrate the awesome.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS3BLySqep8&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

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175 Replies to “In Memoriam: Olympic Tandem Match Sprint”

  1. Just watching heat 537 of the 50m freestyle, luckily this 2002 Shiraz is not too contankerous.

    I have the good fortune of going on the occasional training ride with Australia’s sight impaired pursuit and RR men’s pair. It is awesome to watch the co-ordination of those two. Out of saddle, brake, corner etc. Great to draft behind on the flat for a grimpeur like me as well, can they motor!

    Its good the Olympics gives the nerds plenty of chances to compete, table tennis for fucks sake.

  2. @ChrisO what happened in 1960?

    @ralasdair they have vision impaired pursuitraces where there is a sighted pilot. A tandem match sprint puts the bikes at somewhat closer quarters!

  3. @brett

    @frank

    In other news, Andy Schleck has apparently taken up Women’s Beach Volleyball.

    Shudder.

    You’ve just ruined everything.

    I assume you came to that conclusion after noticing the lack of testicles?

  4. @frank

    @minion

    @Marcus

    @minion – why did the Kiwis boycott the Olympics this year?

    Cos they knew the Aussies were going to win fuck all. No point going if you can’t beat Australia while you’re at it.

    MINION!!!  FUCKING NO!!!!! WHERE DID FUCKING ELMO GO? JESUS CHRIST MAN, PUT HIM BACK!!!

    Seriously, he was one of the major redeeming qualities of your contribution here.

    For the longest time, I thought his avatar was the fish from Finding Nemo…

  5. @Marcus

    We have a chick, Kim Crow, who is competing in two separate sculling events and is a chance to win both – this is pretty much unheard of. How did out esteemed sports scientists find her? Story goes she was a 400m hurdler who was injured. Somebody told her to use the rowing machine in the gym for some rehab. She immediately pulled out numbers better than anyone at the Victorian Institute of Sport. So someone suggested she try rowing.

    Kimberly Crow has it pretty tough – not only is she a freak athlete, she’s a freaky genius, too.

    My wife taught her, so I know she got a perfect 50 in Specialist Maths (AP Calculus for you Yanks) when in tenth grade, along with a perfect in French, too. (actually, I’m citing second hand info – sue me if my wife’s memory is not perfect)I think she continued in that vein in eleventh and twelfth grade, too, doing Uni maths cos when you smash the hardest maths subject in tenth grade you need to go somewhere with it. She has gained a law degree in amongst the training for world class sport and works part time as a lawyer.

  6. @Oli

    @minion Twice Madison World Champion, IIRC. Once with Wiggo.

    Yep, which is counted as an endurance event. Sprint events are kieren, team and match sprint. Madison, scratch, points and I suppose (WTF? It’s a warm up race for kids) now devil takes the hindmost are endurance events (along with pursuits).

  7. @Marcus

    @minion kiwis just turned up at the rowing. See how much better they are without you?

    Yep. If I’mnot there they do well. If you, on the other hand were competing for Australia in just about anything you’d improve their performance. Mostly through crying, which seems to be what the teams gonna be remembered for.

  8. FML if I’m not there, and crying is gonna be what everyone remembers the Australian team for.

  9. @mouse

    On a random and only partially related tangent;

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’m already sick of trying to watch the Olympics here in Aus.  I say ‘trying’ beacuse I just can’t seem to get past the sheer amount of advertisements and logo placement as well as the inane blather by ex-footballer commentators who are ignorant about most things in life, let alone sport other than their own.

    I get that broadcast rights are very expensive, but I can’t help but feel that the Olympic ideal has been completely fucked over by these c*nts.  I get the sense that the Olympics are secondary to the marketing opportunity of the sponsors and by what’s going to be on channel 9 after the Olympics.  “Who gives a shit about all of these funny sports anyways, eh Eddie?”

    Aside from the men’s RR, which I watched for the last 20 km, I haven’t seen any of it. Was in a bar last night with some pals after soccer and hard to miss the big televisions showing the games. You’re not alone. I have very, very little interest in any of it. Synchronized diving was on. Ugh. Then Schleck playing volleyball. Not interested. Definitely not an exciting sporting event for me.

  10. This thread is pure gold.  If we get some more sponsorship, it could even go for Olympic gold!

    I agree that the olympics has lost a bit of its character, with the end of the cold war, rising corporate sponsorship, and increased spectacle.  But, at the same time, it is still a showcase for sports that are not usually on the radar of most people, but which require huge amounts of athletic skill and dedication in order to compete at this level.  I can tell you, it’s the only time I’ll ever watch gymnastics, swimming, track and field, sculling, or any number of other sports, with anything more than a passing interest.  I watched part of the opening ceremony, and I couldn’t believe how young most of the athletes are–kids who are there to compete with the best of the world.  I’ll still always love some of the stories that come out, like Kim Crow, or like young Missy Franklin.

    As for coverage, we’ve got like five stations in the US covering the games, so you can pretty much see any even you want, plus you can get it streaming on the computer.  That’s the way I watched the RR, because my DVR took a shit that morning and didn’t record.  The funny thing was that the RR replay online did not include any commentary whatever–just the video feed, and the passive audio.

  11. Thanks for the history lesson Gianni – I had no idea there was such a thing as tandem track racing. Frightening!

    My 2c – Ditch the dressage (horse dancing?), tennis, badminton needs a 360 reflection.

    The canoe slalom course looks ‘all time’. And the C1 was completely worthy.

    Half the paddle, twice the man…

  12. @Marcus

    @ChrisO what happened in 1960?

    Danish member of the 100km TT died. It was in Rome (and August) so bakingly hot, and he beat Tom Simpson by seven years to the deadly combination of amphetamines and heat exhaustion.

    The official version is that he died of a fractured skull but that was because he had literally passed out on his bike and  was being held up by his teammates.

  13. @Blah

    My wife taught her, so I know she got a perfect 50 in Specialist Maths (AP Calculus for you Yanks) when in tenth grade, along with a perfect in French, too. (actually, I’m citing second hand info – sue me if my wife’s memory is not perfect)I think she continued in that vein in eleventh and twelfth grade, too, doing Uni maths cos when you smash the hardest maths subject in tenth grade you need to go somewhere with it. She has gained a law degree in amongst the training for world class sport and works part time as a lawyer.

    Those last two sentences contradict each other.

    (Apologies to our esteemed cogsigliere, G’Phant for the unashamed lawyer joke.)

  14. @Harminator

    My 2c – Ditch the dressage (horse dancing?), tennis, badminton needs a 360 reflection.

    That’s what I always thought, until I discovered that dressage is based on the training they used to put horses through to prepare for war. Anyone who enters battle together with a horse has my respect. End of. I’ll watch any kind of horse competition, no matter how badly it numbs my brain. (The cross country events, by the way, are badass, and steeple chase is pretty cool as well.)

    The canoe slalom course looks ‘all time’. And the C1 was completely worthy.

    Half the paddle, twice the man…

    Word. And they do that squatting on their knees. That alone would break me.

    I used to sell canoes and kayaks (that’s how I met Marko and my VMH) and I always wanted to try my hand at white water canoeing.

  15. If it weren’t for the dressage nobody in my family would even have got a ticket to the bloody Olympics.

    Which grates somewhat when I’m seeing people at the track cycling who don’t look like they’ve ridden far this year.

  16. I still haven’t watched *any* of the Olympics this year. Not one bloody second. *sigh*

  17. @ChrisO

    …when I’m seeing people at the track cycling who don’t look like they’ve ridden far this year.

    You mean the Aussie Men’s Pursuit Team?

  18. @Chris

    @ChrisO

    …when I’m seeing people at the track cycling who don’t look like they’ve ridden far this year.

    You mean the Aussie Men’s Pursuit Team?

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZING!

  19. @Mikael Liddy

    Thanks for the photo and story. When I first saw the photo I thought it was a stunt picture of two giants on a giant tandem. I guess it’s just a small guy holding the bike for regular sized dutch monkeys. Great story and your interaction with a nice woman on a tour bus and the bike brought it together. Beauty.

  20.  

    @Xyverz

    I still haven’t watched *any* of the Olympics this year. Not one bloody second. *sigh*

    Went to Surrey yesterday to watch the ladies and men’s time trials. An excellent day, in part due to the fact that it was free and I didn’t have to remortgage the house and/or perform sexual services for Seb Coe for tickets but mainly due to the incredible atmosphere all around the course.

    Here’s a shot of Wiggo causing a vacuum sucking in most of the surrounding oxygen whilst an impartial official looks on.

    And here’s one of Taylor “Captain America” Phinney… who clearly forgot his tissues.

  21. @Mark1

    Nice photos. It looked like a nice sunny day in Surrey. I think Phinney was at his limit to do well in a TT that was longer than 4000 meters.

    Hmmm, I thought it was David Zabriski for a micro-second. I wonder when someone is going to address that 600 kg gorilla issue…why the US national TT champ didn’t qualify for the Olympics? Some ugly backroom dealings there.

  22. @Gianni

    @Mark1

    Nice photos. It looked like a nice sunny day in Surrey.

    Thanks, took about 500 shots, haven’t been through them all yet but I guess the law of averages dictates some of them will be passable even for a mediocre snapper like me. The weather started off with light rain for the ladies but cleared to blue sky by the end of the men’s. 

  23. @minion Thanks for the lesson, Captain Obvious.

    I was agreeing with you while pointing out that he wasn’t just part of the endurance programme but a proven world-class winner in the field.

  24. @Mark1

    Went to Surrey yesterday to watch the ladies and men’s time trials. An excellent day, in part due to the fact that it was free and I didn’t have to remortgage the house and/or perform sexual services for Seb Coe for tickets but mainly due to the incredible atmosphere all around the course.

    Okay, for the first time during the olympics, I’m officially jealous of somebody. Good on ya!

    Here’s a shot of Wiggo causing a vacuum sucking in most of the surrounding oxygen whilst an impartial official looks on.

    I believe you meant “impartial” (with quotes)??

    And here’s one of Taylor “Captain America” Phinney… who clearly forgot his tissues.

    Yikes! Reminds me of me during allergy season. Ugh.

  25. @Oli

    @Gianni He qualified but stood himself down from selection for “personal reasons”…

    As did Christian VdV, who certainly would have qualified for the road team. I wonder exactly how the US Olympic folks worded it, “see, we know some people, who know some people and they don’t want to see you guys in Britain”

  26. @Oli You’re welcome. I thought you might have missed Derhogz post which seemed to imply that Cav was a track sprinter rather than an endurance trackie, which was back on page 1.

    Captain Obvious at your service.

  27. @Mark1

    @Xyverz

    I still haven’t watched *any* of the Olympics this year. Not one bloody second. *sigh*

    Went to Surrey yesterday to watch the ladies and men’s time trials. An excellent day, in part due to the fact that it was free and I didn’t have to remortgage the house and/or perform sexual services for Seb Coe for tickets but mainly due to the incredible atmosphere all around the course.

    Here’s a shot of Wiggo causing a vacuum sucking in most of the surrounding oxygen whilst an impartial official looks on.

    And here’s one of Taylor “Captain America” Phinney… who clearly forgot his tissues.

    Awesome photos!  Phinney reminds me of Bruekink back “in the day”.  That dude ALWAYS had a river if snot streaming off his face.

  28. @scaler911

    Speaking of Olympic athletes that kick ass:

    She seems so sweet and delicate in that photo, its almost impossible to believe this is the same chick. [dmalbum: path=”/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/frank/2012.08.03.01.28.17/”/]

  29. @frank

    One of my favorite, non bathing suit photos of LV. Then I’ll stop. Back to cycling.

    Check those lines. She’s not throwing any snow at all. Solid. (till she starts talking, but you can’t have everything,right).

  30. @wiscot

    @brett

    @frank

    In other news, Andy Schleck has apparently taken up Women’s Beach Volleyball.

    Shudder.

    You’ve just ruined everything.

    I assume you came to that conclusion after noticing the lack of testicles?

    oh man, when mrs. graham d.m. and I were watching the olympics, prior to seeing this pic we watched the Austria play Walsh-jennings-smith-et al/may-treanor-anderson et al and we discussed how I thought that girl was sorta hot, now she’s all schlecked up for me, but still kinda oddly hot…..I cannot think of the implications of that right now….

  31. @Buck Rogers

    @Mark1

    @Xyverz

    I still haven’t watched *any* of the Olympics this year. Not one bloody second. *sigh*

    Went to Surrey yesterday to watch the ladies and men’s time trials. An excellent day, in part due to the fact that it was free and I didn’t have to remortgage the house and/or perform sexual services for Seb Coe for tickets but mainly due to the incredible atmosphere all around the course.

    Here’s a shot of Wiggo causing a vacuum sucking in most of the surrounding oxygen whilst an impartial official looks on.

    And here’s one of Taylor “Captain America” Phinney… who clearly forgot his tissues.

    Awesome photos!  Phinney reminds me of Bruekink back “in the day”.  That dude ALWAYS had a river if snot streaming off his face.

    I always sort of think MinPhin is fatter than he is. I don’t know why I do that? He looks pretty lean in that pic. Not Beaker, lean mind you, but still.  Did he lean out since the Giro? Or are my eyes tricking me…..it is 1;56 am est.  The stupid fire alarm went off, not sure what happened, but woke me and the missus and kid #1 (age 4) up. Kid #2 (age 2) is still passed out, that girl can sleep through anything.  No sign of any trouble, though.  So of course insteading of heading back to sleep straight away, I figured I should pop in on my favorite cycling community.

  32. @Harminator

    Thanks for the history lesson Gianni – I had no idea there was such a thing as tandem track racing. Frightening!

    My 2c – Ditch the dressage (horse dancing?), tennis, badminton needs a 360 reflection.

    The canoe slalom course looks ‘all time’. And the C1 was completely worthy.

    Half the paddle, twice the man…

    Fuck me! They do this in tandem too!

  33. @frank

    @scaler911

    Speaking of Olympic athletes that kick ass:

    She seems so sweet and delicate in that photo, its almost impossible to believe this is the same chick.

     
     
     

     
    1 / 4
     
     
     
     
     
    Slideshow:

     

    Fullscreen:

     

    Download:

     

     

     

     

    Because I love pictures of beautiful women who are harder than me, I quote.

    By the way, for us non-Americans, could you put a name to the face?

  34. @Bianchi Denti

    Yup. But they’re nowhere near as hard. The core strength of the C1 cross bow stroke is off the scale.

    Great facility they’ve built there. The word is that the whitewater facility built for Sydney 2000 is about the only one to remain genuinely commercially viable.

  35. @scaler911

    @eightzero

    @the Engine

    @eightzero

    Gotta say I am really unsettled about these olympics. I participate in two olympic sports (fencing and cycling) (and Mrs./Dr. eightzero in 3, as she adds in Karate.) Participating in an Olympic sport is always advantageous, in that this “status” has direct, tangible, and personal benefits that result. Parents are more receptive to the investment of time, effort and money if they think the activity is widely recognized, and the 5-rings are something of a trademark for that. This means more participation, more investment, more coaches, more venues, more equipment selection, better competition…it’s good for everyone.

    That said, the Olympics at times leaves me a bit cold. The spectacle seem at times wholly about money for the rich and powerful, as well as about other non-sporting concerns. Reflect upon the lure of doping, and the win at any cost attitudes of people willing to risk everything…and other peoples’ efforts…over trivial matters is unsettlling. People do give over their lives to what is really entertainment, and there is a tragedy in that.

    There should be a joy to sport. It touches on our humanity in unique ways. It is emotional. Having that reduced to money terms makes me feel…dirty.

    Karate (much to my regret) isn’t an Olympic discipline although Tai Kwon Don’t is. There’s a galaxy of marshal arts I’d let in before (fucking) golf – including Ecky Thump. That said some marshal arts do have a regrettable tendency to behave like triathlon and disappear up their own fundaments.

    Where’s the joy in (fucking) golf?

    Worse, (fucking) golf isn’t even a competiton between individuals. It is between you and the course. Now fairly, this can be said about time trials too, but … what you said. The thing about (fucking) golf that always cracked me up was how much the PGA hated John Daly. He was a out of shape, pot bellied, loudmouth wife beating, drug addicted, annoying fuck…that could hit the ball further than anyone else in the game. And people don’t give a shit about score, they want to beat the shit out of the (fucking) golf ball. He actually showed up on the first tee for a big (fucking) golf tournament with a cigarette and beer in hand. Even though he was a fucking disgrace, he had huge crowds. And made huge money independent of the control of the PGA.

    Fuck golf.

    And yes, Mrs/Dr Eightzero participates in a “martial art” and those in general, not specifically, are Olympic sports. I ride a bike, but don’t race. Except when there is somone in front of me. Or a running clock on my bars.

    Fuck golf. When I’m too old to ride (never unless I keep crashing like last night) I’ll take up a proper retiree sport like fly fishing.

    I didn’t know they were adding golf. Burns me as bad as when they ‘trialled’ 2 different sports at Albertville. Curling and Speed Skiing. My boy Jeffery Hamilton brought home the bronze hitting 226Kph. The OIC decided that dudes going over 200K downhill wasn’t as exciting as watching a rock and a broom slide across ice. I’m sure I’ll stir up some trouble especially from our Canadians neighbors, but fuck curling too.

    At least curling speaks to the genius of men with too much beer and time on their hands during a cold winter inventing the weirdest sport they can come up with.  For that matter golf was once upon a time weird in this way too (perhaps substituting scotch for beer) but in the present day yes fuck golf.

  36. SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD?

    Sorry for shouting, but I’ve come home thinking I might see some track cycling and I’m greeted with blokes bouncing on a fucking trampoline for an olympic gold! Not to go all “Daily Mail” on everyone, but how in Merckx’s name is this an Olympic sport?

  37. @Mikael Liddy

    SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD?

    Sorry for shouting, but I’ve come home thinking I might see some track cycling and I’m greeted with blokes bouncing on a fucking trampoline for an olympic gold! Not to go all “Daily Mail” on everyone, but how in Merckx’s name is this an Olympic sport?

    Because the trampolinists have a killer lobby who gave/give $$$ to the wee Spanish Scumbag Samaranch and his successor Rogge? Whereas Patty McQuaid is too busy dreaming up new rules that require stickers to be put on frames and stupid measurements regarding TT bars instead of looking after the bigger inrerests/representation of  the sport. Do you think the IAAF (I think that’s the right organization) would have allowed gold ribbon track events to be nixed? Or that FINA would agree to several swim competitions being scrapped? Hell no! The variations/permutations in swimming are ridiculous. Verbruggen and McQuaid have failed to act in the best interests of the sport.

  38. @Mikael Liddy

    SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD?

    Sorry for shouting, but I’ve come home thinking I might see some track cycling and I’m greeted with blokes bouncing on a fucking trampoline for an olympic gold! Not to go all “Daily Mail” on everyone, but how in Merckx’s name is this an Olympic sport?

    I accept that I’m not likely to see track cycling here in Singapore on the free to air channel. BUT there is track and field today, the entire point of the Olympics from ye olde days and shit, and they are showing nothing but table tennis. Seriously.

    So it’s off to bed for me.

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