After years of waiting the Olympics are finally here (or will be very soon). Having been trained up to follow after the Olympics and then having the incredible opportunity of attending an Olympics (Salt Lake City 2002) perhaps explains most of my fascination with this years Olympics but not completely. You see during the the last Olympics (Turin 2006) I was living in Belfast, Northern Ireland and was subjected to the miserable and limited coverage provided by British broadcasting. For those of you lucky enough not to ever have been subjected to British Olympic coverage, count your blessings. Here are just a few of my complaints:
1. Full and complete coverage of curling is just unnecessary (it went on for days and days and days).
2. No human interest stories (because lets face it that is half the reason we tune into NBC--and they don't even need to be human interest stories on our own countrymen. We will undoubtedly see lots of stories on Chinese gymnasts, Australian swimmers, and Russian wrestlers and we will like them, cry a bit, and then not feel too bad when they win their gold medals).
3. No clips telling us about Turin, its food, its culture, the Olympic happenings about town (the other half of why we tune in--ok that is not true because that leaves no room for us to cheer on and celebrate when the Americans win which in truth is the biggest reason we tune in and part of the reason why curling is just not interesting)
4. Commentators who a.) don't know what they are talking about b.) are not funny or even interesting and c.) who are far too excitable about things that they shouldn't be (for example finishing 10th in ice dancing is not a reason to try to evoke some kind of national celebration--especially if the rest of the nation is not impressed)
5. Really limited coverage (and at odd times--very strange when the Olympics were just a time zone or two away) of the main sports--I missed all of the ice skating and nearly all of the downhill skiing because of strange times or because they didn't bother to show it to us.
The other complaint I have about watching the Olympics in the UK is that the UK just doesn't care about the Olympics. To be fair, I was told that they care more about the Summer Olympics because they do better during those (Turin: 1 medal; Athens: 30 medals). But my goodness it wasn't much fun to be walking around a town where no one seemed to even realize that the Olympics were going on.
Things are different now that I am back in the U.S. of A. and I couldn't be happier--it kind of makes it ok that I don't have British chocolate or an Irish fish and chips meal. So here is to the next 2 weeks of pure bliss.