Countdown

19 February, 2006

Do you recognize that sound you’re not hearing? It’s the collective sound of Americans not watching the Olympics. Who’s to blame? Is NBC’s coverage the problem? Or is it the 6-9 hour time difference between Italy and the US? Perhaps… Maybe it’s the fact that nobody cares. As the games go more X-Games, it becomes less interesting to Americans. As far as I’m concerned the only real sport in the Olympics is hockey. Honorable mention goes to curling.

When snowboarding takes center stage, we have gone too far. And what was going through the first skeleton rider’s mind? (is that what they are called?)

Being honest, the only Olympic coverage I have seen was part of the Canada/Russia women’s hockey game, most of the US/Germany women’s hockey. I listened to part of the US men play the Slovaks Saturday, so I really have no idea what kind of “special stories” are going on in this version of the games. I’ve heard the stories, Michelle Kwan’s injury, the snowboarder who blew her chance at a gold when she show-boated and fell.. and the Bode Miller saga, reminiscent of the challenge between Dan and what’s-his-name, the decathletes from the '92 games, both failed to medal. Lot’s of pre-games hype, with disappointment as the pay-off.

What could make the Olympics better? Many have suggested tape delaying are the downfall of the coverage, perhaps. But if NBC showed the games live, the coverage would be at 9am, who would see them besides housewives and retirees? Would you take work off to watch the biathlon? Not likely. Others have suggested consolidating events into one night. For example all figure-skating would be featured on Thursday. That works if you want to catch one event, but most people would then only tune in for the event’s that interested them.

I think that the games have run their course. There is little doubt that Americans are not interested in most of the ‘games’ of the winter Olympics. All the proof I need to confirm this is the fact that glorified karaoke is pulling better ratings then the games. I doubt many of us would miss the games if they went away and simply never came back. Maybe then, there wouldn’t be a 3 week hiatus of new Law and Order episodes.

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