In case you missed it, the Winter Olympics opened today in Turin, Italy. (By the way, why is NBC calling it Torino? Which is correct?) I’m rather ambivalent about the whole thing, to be honest. I enjoy seeing sporting events that are not the normal television fare for a couple of weeks (more on that later). From accounts of the opening ceremonies, if you happen to tune in, you will certainly catch quite a bit of humanism (i.e. Peter Gabriel singing John Lennon’s “Imagine,”). But that’s nothing new for the Olympics.
Of course, the way NBC typically handles these games, they would be better described as a two-week figure skating extravaganza, with occassional segments of skiing to fill in the gaps. And, of course, it is questionable as to whether or not we ought to consider figure skating a sport – particularly the way NBC covers it. The network packages it not as an athletic competition, but as sheer human melodrams. Roger Twibell stokes the fires of tension and drama like few can. We only need wait and see if the French judge sells out to the Russians or some other scandal erupts. Events that are judged are much less satisfying than events that are won or lost in an objective sense.
Fortunately, there are the cable outlets to save the day. Of course, my wife will probably prefer the figure skating….