Olympics on TV: Less Jingoism, More Variety
The Olympics are coming.
As a sports fan, I like watching sports, but I am not a fan of how NBC broadcasts the events.
A brief historical lesson first:
When I was much younger, there was a program on Saturday afternoons called ABC’s Wide World of Sports. They showed events from all over the world.
“Spanning the globe to bring you the best of athletic competition. The thrill of victory…the agony of defeat.”
Jim McKay introduced each episode with those words.
And they showed a wide range of events.
Of course, the most memorable is ski-jumping. Most people remember the footage of the ski jumper wiping out as McKay intones,”the agony of defeat.”
The important part of it for me was that they showed a wide variety of international competitors. It was really interesting stuff.
Somewhere in the intervening years, the Olympic broadcast became a flag waving, “USA USA USA “chanting, red white and blue production. I don’t like it.
Did I like the USA hockey team beat the Russians in Lake Placid? You bet I did. But that just happened. It wasn’t preordained. Nobody saw it coming. That was what made it so cool.
Let the events play out.
The Olympics is about people from all over the world pursuing a dream they have to compete against the best in their field.
I will stick with gymnastics for my examples here.
Remember Olga Korbut? Smiling on the balance beam.
Nadia Comaneci ? 14 years old.
They went from unknown to world famous in just a few days. Neither one from the U.S.A.
These days I am not sure how much coverage they would get. And that is the problem. I want NBC to just show the events with out the nationalistic slant. Give credit to all the athletes. Stop trying to bend the narrative to fit with the preconceived vision for the broadcast .
You don’t believe me? Imagine if the USA Men’s basketball team doesn’t make to the Gold Medal game, the game will be shown on Spike TV.
And while they are at it, stop with the long biographies. EVERY athlete has challenges to get where they are, just show them competing.
I would also like to see countries stop going into massive debt just to host these games. We have to figure out a more practical approach. Maybe a permanent site.
Well, enough of that.
One last thing, blog related, I have added a blogroll to the right of this post. They are the reason I continue to write here. I enjoy each and every one of those blogs and you would too. Give them a look if you would and let them know you heard about them here. I would appreciate that very much.