Forgetting Vancouver

The 2010 Winter Olympics really haven’t gone as planned. The checklist of problems has exceeded what makes the events watchable, and I can sense the casual fan reaching for the remote.

Now, I’m a fan of sport (I know, I finally said something shocking on this blog), but I am also growing bored of events that kept my attention four years ago as an 18-year-old. Maybe it’s the massive amount of flaws that have added to my boredom, which include (but are not limited to):

– The weather. Obviously, you can’t plan for a warm summer (even though the talking heads in Washington seem to these days), but when your random location in the Southern United States is seeing colder temperatures than the host city of the Winter Olympics, that is a problem. And I’m no expert to the climate of Vancouver, but I know the city is near Seattle. Isn’t that area of the world always sitting in the 38-56 degree range with constant rain?

– The equipment. Vancouver decided to do their part in helping the world by using “green” Zambonis to smooth and fix the ice in the rinks used for events. The problem? They tore up the ice, leading to a major delay of last night’s speed skating events. I guess they actually got the races in, but I had gone to bed, not wanting to wait an indefinite period of time or watch any more pairs figure skating.

– The networks. NBC has done a terrible job in general at covering these Games. Yesterday was Presidents’ Day, which means the stock market was on holiday. CNBC aired a marathon of “Biography” all day, when they could have been showing Bode Miller’s quest for a downhill medal. Instead, we had to wait about six hours through spoiler after spoiler to see what is arguably the main event of the Winter Olympics. Speaking of the delay, every single event has been shown on a taped delay in the Western Time Zone. You know, the time zone where the Olympics are actually being held.

– The choice of events. Watching a cross-country race or 18-0 women’s hockey blowout should come with monetary reimbursement.

– The death toll. This isn’t a laughing matter, but before the torch was lit, there had already been a death on a Vancouver track. Then the track was deemed safe, yet major alterations to the track were made overnight. In the Winter Games, there is no shortage of events that could be deadly, but exposed metal poles on the luge track in an area where every racer is going at least 88 mph is a bad idea.

– The announcers. Seriously, we are fully aware that fractions of a second are very important. In just about every event. So stop reminding me.

– The execution. There has never been a cauldron in the history of the Olympics that needed to come out of the ground in a grand spectacle. And if you choose to do so, it better work. Of course, one of the pieces got stuck underground for a long period of time, leading to the awkward photo of torchbearer Wayne Gretzky above. Put it in plain sight next time, that was a disaster.

– The stories being shoved down our throats. Every skiier has broken just about every bone in their body in a horrific crash at one point in their career. What they do is insane. But the fact that they enjoy skiing down a hill at 80 mph tells me they are crazy and won’t stop just because they almost died seven months ago. This isn’t “American Idol,” save me the stories of tragedy and how that made them a better skiier.

Finally, a simple request. Can we see one medal ceremony? Please? I think it is really great to see the countries on the podium and hear the anthems and see the raw emotion of a person who just achieved a lifelong dream, especially when compared to a car commercial I have seen 568 times already. It would be a small improvement, but anything helps at this point.

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