Tag: Winter Olympics

Olympic Thoughts

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So any out there that follows this silly blog knows how much I love The Olympics, both Summer and Winter.  I am not overstating it when I say one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life was attending and being a part of the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Games.

It was unbelievable to see the athletes and root for my country and I hope to one day have a similar experience in the Summer Olympics.  I’ve even thought about going to Rio in 2016.  We will see.

One odd thing about the Olympics is with all of their drama there aren’t that many movies about the Olympics.  Strange hah?  I can only think of a few- Cool Runnings, Cutting Edge, Miracle and Chariots of Fire.  What am I missing?   You would think there would be more.

Pablo Morales or Dan Jansen’s stories would make such good movies.  I wonder why they’ve never been made?

I've loved watching the hockey.  I may be a hockey fan!
I’ve loved watching the hockey. I may be a hockey fan!

Anyway, with that long introduction I must admit to being kind of bummed out as a viewer of these games.  Not disappointed in our athletes.  They have my total support but the results and lack of competition in many events.  There hasn’t been much that is real close and I’ll be honest I like it when my team wins.  I do and minus snowboarding and slopestyle we haven’t been doing a lot of winning.

Thank goodness for the snowboarding and slopestyle which have provided some of the only real entertainment.  Everything has been so lopsided and usually not in our favor.  It’s just been hard to watch. Sad 😦

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I wondered this week if maybe I have outgrown the Olympics.  Double sad but I hope not.  I hope it is just an anomaly because I love what they represent and I love our athletes.  There is something about everything in Sochi including the outrageous propaganda piece called The Opening Ceremonies that has felt corporate and stale.

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Part of that is the fault of the terrible NBC coverage but also so many seem to be going through the motions.  It was so great today to see Noelle Pikus-Pace who is not only a Utahn but a great example for all young people.  She came back after an injury and a miscarriage to win a silver medal.  I’ve missed that warmth and spirit these games.

Another highlight was seeing  Erin Hamlin get a bronze in luge, America’s first in that sport. I loved her attitude and spirit.

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NBC FAIL

Now let me rant a little bit about NBC.  There are 15 categories of sports in the Winter Olympics.  This is drastically less than the 26 in the Summer Olympics; however, there are many of those summer events that get little to no coverage such as ping pong, field hockey and handball.  I think the number of covered sports is probably not that different.

Nevertheless, NBC has decided to air the events in the morning when they are taking place and then a highlight reel spliced together with other events for their primetime coverage.  This means in the skating for instance you only see 5 or 6 of the skaters where in the morning you get 20 something.

I recently read a report saying that 79% of the people who have paid tv have a DVR service in their home. This means, NBC, people can record the morning shows and watch them the way they deserve to be seen!  Why not give us something new in either the morning or primetime instead of simply repeating a diluted version of what most of us have recorded from the morning!!  I have found myself not watching in the evening at all because it makes me so crazy and why when I’ve already seen it?

NBC sigh...
NBC sigh…

The most frustrating part is their two best commentators are on the hockey and cross country/biathlon events and if people only watch primetime they don’t see hardly any of that.  No wonder everything feels corporate and staged because NBC is chopping it up and feeding you the sports center version.  The athletes deserve better.  They’ve sacrificed their lives for a moment and NBC can only give a primetime highlight reel.

It really irks me because I know there are heats, meets, games and matches we could be seeing that we aren’t, and that most people who only watch primetime are getting such a weak version of the truth.  Don’t show us something twice NBC! At least I have the DVR and can watch the actual coverage of the events.   I’m sorry NBC but your  primetime coverage is an embarrassment.

Ok. Rant over.  Things I have liked are the slopestyle addition into the Olympics (US is sure grateful for that, almost half our medals are from that new event), Pikus-Pace, the new team figure skating competition, US hockey men and women, and Jeremy Abbots inspiring finish of his program after a hard fall.

I feel bad for Shaun White.  He has been a great champion.  I love him and am sad when we feel a sense of glee at the fall of our heroes.  It is a most unsightly part of our culture. I never saw him be anything but graceful and kind, even exuberant towards those who beat him.  It reminded me of Michael Phelps 4th place finish in his first race in 2012 but unfortunately Shaun doesn’t have 6 or 7 more chances to prove himself like Phelps.  I’m still a fan and I think we all should be.

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I also feel bad for our speedskaters.  Ever since watching Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansen in the 90s the races have been one of my favorite parts of the games.  I also love Apollo Ohno both as an athlete and person.  What a class act. I admire how he always was happy to get on the podium.  Competitive as ever, but thrilled with a bronze medal.  That’s great to see.  So, it was with some excitement that I watched race after race and to see our athletes do so poorly  was disheartening.

Some have said it is the slow ice.  Some have said it is the suits and I honestly have no idea but something doesn’t feel right.  We have 4 world record holders and no medals?  And it’s not just no medals but world champions like Brittany Bowe and Heather Richardson finishing 24, 32nd it’s strange.   I just don’t get it?  Why weren’t they prepared for slow ice?

They knew it was coming so why not practice on it?  I know they tested the suits but the fact they were untested in competition boggles the mind.  How could that happen?  You don’t test out new equipment at the Olympics!  There should be no question on such issues.  It’s really quite outrageous and I feel bad for the skaters.

Anyway, it’s been a bit of a let down of  an Olympics.  Plus, all the reports of the terrible preparation, shoddy hotels, mess, mangy dogs everywhere.  I think of the glee that I had when I went downtown to watch the games and SLC and it is a shame.  The Olympics deserve better than Putins scraps and 30 billion gone to who knows what.  Unbelievable!  The Olympics deserve better.

Hopefully week 2 will be better than week 1 but I’m telling you guys if you have DVR record the morning broadcasts not the primetime.  You are selling yourself and our athletes short by only watching the primetime.  Trust me on this!

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I am a Bandwagon Fan and Proud of It!

As anyone who has read my tweeting of late knows- I have been sick.  For the last month and a half I’ve suffered from a sinus infection that refuses to go away.  Even now after my second dose of antibiotics I am still phlegmy and not 100%.  Cross fingers that I will be 100% by the end of the week.  Needless to say the last month and half have been difficult and at times discouraging.  Thank goodness I have a job that is flexible and understanding (although the billable hours have been low, I’m surviving).  I went to the doctors on Monday and he said sinus infections are not considered chronic until they hit the 3 month mark!  Can you imagine feeling miserable for 3 months!  Shocking and depressing to even think about.

One of the things that depressed me about being sick is that it caused me to abandon my exercise/healthy eating regimen.  I had lost 5 lbs and was doing great.  Now as I improve, I must start again….what a discouraging thought, starting again.

What have I done to keep myself sane- you ask? Well, among other things I have been watching the college Bowl games.  My brother in-law got me started (and he taught me a lot about the game along the way!) during my breaks at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Of course, I had to watch the BYU winning game (MAACO Bowl), but I’ve also caught many others including the great matchups of Ohio State vs Oregon (Rose Bowl), LSU vs Penn State (Citrus Bowl), and Boise State vs TCU (Fiesta Bowl).  I’m actually excited for the BCS championship tomorrow between Texas and Alabama.

It’s funny because I haven’t followed any teams except perhaps a passive interest in BYU.  Some would scoff at my type of fair-weather fan claiming that intense devotion and passionate following is the only way to be in a sports fan.  I have several points in response: First of all, I have had a lot of time on my hands trying to get better.  Second, I enjoy almost any type of intense competition (wrestling, golf, and MMA I just can’t get into- sorry boys!).  Ever since I was little I liked both watching and attending sports games/matches.  I’ve been to Orioles and Oakland A’s games for baseball and Kings and Jazz games for basketball.  I also had the thrill of attending a variety of events at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake (I will do an entire post about the Olympics in Vancouver. I LOVE the Olympics.  It’s wierd but it is the most intense competition there is.

The Olympics is really the only sporting event I never miss.  Everything else is hit and miss.  I will have a year where I get into the NBA playoffs, March Madness, the World Series or like this year the college bowl games.  In my defense my skitsafrenic approach makes me surprisingly informed on a variety of sporting events.  When I went on my cruise last year the boys at my table were all surprised at the random sports trivia I knew.

My approach also keeps sports in balance and for the entertainment it is meant to provide.  I keep the players at a distance and enjoy the competition before me without the time-sucking effort of fanatical idealization.  Look at Tiger Woods, if he had been kept in his place and simply appreciated as a source of competition- not a hero, or an idol, or a spokesman- than perhaps his temptation and fall would not have been so great. He should be enjoyed as someone who plays an exciting game of golf- and that’s it.

So that is my defense of my bandwagon approach to sports.  In a weird way I am grateful for the bowl games and the pleasant distraction they have been this fall.  Next up Vancouver Olympics 2010!!!!!!