Olympic Thoughts

Yes, I’m a certified Olympics junkie. When the Olympics are on, my consumption of other media drops to about nothing, and I get inundated with all the news about the games. What team is doing well is what sport. Who said what. How so and so did last night. I love it, ever since my parents got me a VHS tape with all the highlights from the 1984 summer games. I watched that over and over, and I’ve loved the Olympics ever since.

Of course, any time you go from only seeing sports now and then to seeing them all the time, it’s inevitable that you notice some things you wouldn’t otherwise catch. Here are some general observations I’ve had about the games this time around:

  • I don’t understand why we interview athletes after they perform. I have yet to hear any of them say anything really worth listening to. It all boils down to “it was very hard, but I still did well,” or “it was very hard, and I lost.” Which is sort of like having someone tell you what you just watched. And the bits and pieces ahead of the events? Where the announcers tell us what we’re going to watch? Equally silly, unless it’s going over the basic rules of the sport. But as soon as you get announcers saying the equivalent of “If they’re going to win, they need to score more points than the other team,” then they might as well just shut up and get to the action.
  • Perhaps because of how redundant announcer jobs are, they end up saying a variety of really stupid things. This isn’t entirely their fault, I suppose. There’s all that empty airtime to fill, and you have to fill it with something. (I guess?) But at least they could try a bit harder not to say really stupid things. Like crediting a female swimmer’s gold medal to her coach/husband. That would be a start.
  • On the other hand, announcers definitely add something to the viewing experience. I’ve watched some Olympic streams that are just the video and sounds of the arena, and the experience is much worse. I think this is mainly because I’m not versed enough in the sport to understand when someone is doing well or poorly. I can watch a basketball, baseball, or football game, and I don’t need anyone to tell me what’s going on. Diving? Gymnastics? It’s much more difficult. So announcers are there to confirm what we’ve seen. To say when something was really good or really bad. Stick to that, announcers, and we should be fine.
  • I wonder if a significant portion of the US watches these games to confirm that the US is, indeed, superior to the rest of the world. “Just look how bad we beat China in basketball!” As if this proves anything. When you get down to it, America is a place with enough money and luxuries to give a large portion of the population the means and time needed to go dink around in a pool or on a field for an obscene amount of time every day. It would be a shame if we couldn’t do really well at random sporting events. I’m way more impressed with people who have had to overcome struggles and hardship to succeed. This is in no way meant to put down the accomplishments of the athletes. They do awesome things. But for many of them, the main reason they have the luxury of doing awesome things on the field or in the pool or in the arena is because they have lives that give them the means and wherewithal to practice their eyeballs out every day.
  • Which is why the stories behind the athletes are so important. Seeing some random person do well is just sort of meh. Seeing someone overcome the odds is awesome. In light of that, I don’t mind the post-event interviews when they ask the athlete bits about their life or how it all connects. That’s fine.

Anyway. No more time to post today. Getting ready for a trip tomorrow, so it’s busy busy busy. Plus, the Olympics are on. Didn’t you know?

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