Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic time again

vancouver_2010_logo It’s that time once again, when we stop down for a couple weeks of rapt viewing of otherwise-obscure sports, passionate debating about the relative merits of athleticism and artistry, and wistful musing regarding the debauchery going on within the Athlete’s Village even as I type this.

Yep, it’s the Olympics again, my preferred Winter version, this year taking place in a region I have known but fear I will not know, at least not the same way, again.

Is that last part cryptic? Too bad. I know what I meant.

At any rate, I do enjoy an evening of watching slightly insane humans hurtling down mountains on waxed carbon fiber, right on the very edge of catastrophe as they try to squeeze a few more meters per second out, a few less clock nano-ticks elapsed during the run. Its even more entertaining being able to say I was there, I rode that lift, skied that run, walked those streets, saw an event there, etc. Maybe even seeing a familiar face in the crowd, glimpsed in the sea of humanity in Gastown or Richmond, etc.

And the day-to-primetime handoff from the greatness of Al Michaels to the greatness of Bob Costas, Dan Patrick in a silly hat, Scott Hamilton’s emphatic “She NAILS it!”, all the hallmarks of Olympic TV.

I do so enjoy this.

Stories to watch? Heck, I don’t know. Hockey is fun, but not as much fun as when it was college boys against the roid-monsters of Red Army. Bode Miller has turned in too many disappointments in past opportunities to get excited about now. Lindsey Vonn sure is nice to look at, and seems to have a legitimate shot at a number of races. But I don’t see anything that’s truly must-see TV.

And it’s hard to keep cynicism at bay when talking about the kind of money present in modern Olympics. You need only get a snoot-full of the spin being spun about the death on the luge track to OD on fake hand-wringing and contrived tribute.

But, despite the lack of pre-packaged stories and the hypocrisy of modern sports-entertainment, I’m still glued. It’s a chance to see true greatness – how many kids in the world have the Olympics as their goal, and how many make it? And of those who make it, how many excel?

Yes, I love the Olympics, and NBC loves me.

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