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The Olympics

So, as my last post might have indicated, I am a fan of the Olympics. In my old bedroom at home, I still have a poster advertising the games from several years. It shows a picture of planet Earth. Underneath it reads, "Every 4 years it seems a little smaller." Then the trademark rings.

My family was never much for sports, but every four years, the television was tuned to the Olympics religiously. My family was especially fond of the Winter Games. Growing up in upstate New York, I think they liked to see someone do something worthwhile with all that damn snow and ice. :) In high school, I ran cross country and track and field and I still aspire to run a marathon, although I have not run that consistently since my last year as an undergraduate. So I appreciate the running events a great deal.

As I've gotten older, though, I've lost some of my enthusiasm. I think part of it stems from NBC taking over coverage. I miss the voice of Jim McKay. And I find NBC's coverage a bit too focused on the Americans, even in sports Americans are only mediocre at. To watch their coverage, you only hear about the gold medalist and the Americans, and if those are not mutually exclusive categories, you would think Americans show up unopposed.

Many years ago, I remember watching Olympic coverage and seeing a fascinating sport entitled European handball, an exciting cross between soccer and basketball. (It goes by several names.) For a time after that, you couldn't find it anywhere and NBC didn't cover it. In Beijing, the USA isn't even fielding a team. But, to their credit, NBC, through the Internet, is streaming the games, even if they are not giving them any TV coverage.

But even on TV, I think NBC has done a commendable job and I've watched more than I expected to. While still a bit America-centric for my tastes, it's been exciting and, for the most part, full of good sportsmanship. NBC has focused more on the sports and a little less on the backstory, just filling in enough to make watching a little more dramatic. Michael Phelps, of course, has been amazing. rosepurr and I cheered on Park Tae-whan, who in Athens at 14, fell into the pool just before the start of the race and was disqualified. We jumped up and down when he took gold for Korea in the 400m freestyle (one of the few mens swimming events Michael Phelps did not compete in).

It is moments like that the Olympics really is about.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
rosepurr
Aug. 19th, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC)
I enjoy watching the sports with you.
the_surfacer
Aug. 20th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
I, too, am Olympics-mad. If you think NBC is bad for flag-waving, though, you should see the CBC. Canada had a big medal drought right up until last weekend, and one of the anchors actually said something about how "we're all about to slit our wrists here."
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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