"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tora, Tora, Torino

The Olympics are increasingly becoming less and less interesting for a number of reasons. First, with the advent of the Internet it's too tempting to look up results as one's schedule permits rather than wade through hours of TV coverage to experience the events via that mode.

Athletes are more pampered and spoiled than ever. Exceptions duly noted, for the record. Some USA women snowboarders (eventual medal winners) broke the local laws at the Torino games and went snowboarding in an out-of-bounds area. American men's Downhiller Bode Miller informed the press recently that he has skied while drunk. Some female curlers have done some semi-nude shots (This likely ties in with the extraordinarily low popularity of curling). American men's figure skater Johnny Weir wears a Russian throwback jersey to practice. (Is it time to add "men's figure skater" to the list of oxymorons?)

The events themselves are largely off the radar screen for most people. Who cares about lugers other than other lugers? Americans love football and Europeans love soccer (the game with the round ball). Kenyans run but really aren't in to archery. When we read "giant slalom" we immediately think someone has misspelled salmon.

The influence of bling. Whichever network covers the games produces it in such a way to appeal to females, not males. Exceptions duly noted, for the record. The TV coverage generally contains 67.09 minutes of meat. Dramatic and/or promoted events are held to the end.

Then there's the wipe-outs. Agony-of-defeat stuff. Footage of wipe-outs (downhillers and lugers generally) that used to be the lead-in promo material in the 70s are now either censored or excerpted somewhat here in the twenty zeros. Imagine the billions of NASCAR fans that don't tune in to the Olympic because of this editing decision.

Pairs skating. Who knows anyone who has gone to see pairs skating? And how long before a pair of males or a pair of females will demand inclusion in pairs skating? The first quintuple axle will likely be a 275lb male flinging a 102lb male into the air with the greatest of ease.

Having said all this, the Olympics are still fun to watch. One just has to put up with a lot of fluff to get enjoy the better moments.


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