Monday, February 8, 2010

Winter Olympic Preview

The Winter Olympic Games are upon us, once again affording us sports fans worldwide the opportunity -- in celebration of the extraordinary talent and unfathomable skill the world's best athletes have to offer -- to sit back and eat chips.

Not that I am suggesting that is ALL we will do; naturally, we will eat pizza, too. Meanwhile, we will get reacquainted with the famous "viewer-friendly" Olympic programming format, which breaks down as follows:
  • Commercials for State Farm (77%)
  • Network "fluff" pieces about, for example, a snowboarder who went through a Rough Life Patch after he did the nasty with a goat, for which the Olympic committee punished him by sternly making him take a pee test, but he's a Stronger Person Now (22.9999995%)
  • Athleticism (.0000005%)

Of course, I say this from an entirely American perspective. Right now I am living in France, where I'm sure the broadcasting breakdown is entirely different, in that probably at least 40% of those commercials are for yogurt. At any rate, we at the Bureau of Olympic Geekdom are very much looking forward to seeing some of the amazing sports we don't normally see, because frankly they are boring as shit.

No! Joke! We at the Bureau are only kidding, in that Bureau way of ours! Obviously, the Olympics showcases many diverse and fascinating sports, which - get this - actually happen year round. In fact, a common grievance among us sports fans is that casual viewers tend to think a given Olympic sport happens only once every four years, despite the fact that this is clearly not true. For example, we are pretty sure, based on an exhaustive survey of our personal viewing habits, that the "luge" happens only every eight years, and that "curling" never happens at all.

Figure skating, on the other hand, happens every day, and totally coincidentally also happens to be our personal favorite sport. So we are very excited to watch our favorite skaters get out there on the ice in Vancouver, despite the fact that the sport's judging system has become so screwed up that every skater must now do the same exact program with the same exact jumps, footwork, transitions, term paper on Gender Studies, etc. The new judging system has its strong points, to be sure, but (a) it tends to really piss off ice dancers, who never get credit for ANY jumps, and (b) it is now completely anonymous, which means that technically speaking the judges can award the gold medal to whoever the hell they please, including the snowboarder who did the thing with the goat.

But it's all worth it when, in the end, someone has their triumphant Moment of Olympic Joy, a euphoric, magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience from which you can be sure the camerapersons will swiftly avert their lenses for to focus on someone else's Moment of Olympic Pain. Priorities, after all. So enjoy, and eat hearty. The Bureau knows it will.

©2010 Nicola McEldowney

1 comment:

The Old Wolf said...

Having volunteered at the Main Media Center in Salt Lake, I got to see all that joy, pain, advertising, and sex with goats from a most intimate perspective. (Hey! Not that intimate, and the goat's a damn liar!)

Salé and Pelletier clearly earned the gold medals they were belatedly awarded, and while the judging scandal came to light and the foul evildoers were punished, it's difficult to say if the cure is an improvement over the disease.

Whatever one thinks of the Olympics, this recent post of yours cost me another monitor...