TV life is an Olympic blur these days -- and I must say, for what little coverage they're giving it (try seeing an entire event that isn't hockey or curling (curling!), NBC is finally trimming down the troubledhome / deadfather / grimdetermination / badbatchofbrownies stories on the athletes and actually showing them performing in their sports. They have long approached the Olympics with a completely cynical attitude toward their viewers, the presumption that since these are sports that aren't usually televised, and they need a bigger audience than sports get anyway, they have to tell their stories. Listen, I can be as inspired by an amazing athlete as anyone, and it's true that these people make some tremendous sacrifices to get where they are (or, perhaps, they're clinically obsessed -- take your pick). But add that up by the 146 or so athletes they feel the need to profile, and it gets to be way too much, and they have stretched the meme more than a bit thin ("And it's the memory of that hangnail, which cost him the red ribbon at third grade field day, that drives him every time he puts on his skates."). But this year they have been showing actual sports from time to time. They've even showed the runs of some non-medal contenders (though not too many). And as previously noted, the improvements in figure skating (even ice dancing) make it much more of an athletic competition.
Even so, I could go more than another four years without hearing any of the following phrases:
- "You can't win a gold medal in this section, but you can certainly lose one." Even when it's true, I'm sick of hearing this banal observation.
- "And her family came all the way from . . . to be here." Well, no shit. So did you. So did everyone there. Like New Hampshire doesn't have an airport.
- "He has no program, he's just going from jump to jump."
- "And now Bode Miller has gone off the course . . ."
- "And now it appears that Bode Miller has been shot by the Vice President." Oh, wait. I'm getting my sports mixed up.