I've mentioned on several occasions in the past that I don't watch much Olympics. I love sports and watch my fair share of games on television. You've read about my watching Little League games, my love for college football and basketball, softball, the Red Sox and Patriots and other NFL teams and many other events including auto rading. In my younger days I preferred to watch games in person.
There are certain parts of TV coverage I
simply do not watch. I don't like pre-
and post-game shows. I watch halftime shows
of football games so I can get caught up on other games taking place at the
same time. Although hockey in person is
great, I can't watch it on TV as I
simply can't keep up with the puck. I
love basketball; I totally dislike the NBA.
I've never played on an organized team, but I have been a
baseball umpire and a swimming official.
That's a background to get me back to the Olympics. Since I do love watching good sports, I was
wondering why I've turned against watching the Olympics. So these past few days I've tuned in to see
what turned me away. It didn't take
long. It's the coverage of the games and
the NBC announcing staff. I also don't
like sports in which winners are chosen by judges. The news out of Sochi Friday morning made it
I'll start there.
Controversy about the judges in ice skating once again reared its ugly
head. The reports say that some of the
judges were changed at the last minute and at least two of the judges who
influenced the outcome of the Salt Lake City skating events in 2002 and, to a lesser
degree, in Canada in the last games.
According to the reports, deals were made that would lead to the outcome. From the news reports this morning,
apparently similar deals were once again reached to be sure a Russian received
the Gold Medal.
I did not watch the women's finals Thursday, but I have
read several reports about the judging and the outcome. As one of the skaters said, "It's hard
to understand how skater who falls can
get a higher score than skaters who skated cleanly."
The IOC (International Olympic Committee which oversees
the games) said there isn't any controversy and that the judging was fair. The Committee's assertion has been backed by
several skaters, including some American skaters. My suspicious nature, however, knows the
skaters are also protecting their futures.
As I said, I didn't see the competition so I can't offer
my opinion of what happened. History,
however, makes the whole scene suspicious.
We'll probably never know the truth.
Now the NBC coverage.
I'm not sure that the announcers know the Olympics are about the
athletes competing and not about themselves.
My stopwatch's battery had died so I couldn't do any timing. However, in the little while I did watch,
I'll bet it was a rather low ratio of events compared to stories and
I must admit my home health nurse visited me this
morning. I affectionately call her my
teenage nurse but she just chuckles and says she's much older than she
looks. Of course, since she's a registered
nurse, and an excellent people person, I know she isn't a teenager. We were talking about the TV coverage of the
Olympics and she said she especially enjoyed some of the little stories that
were told about the competitors.
Personally, I much prefer the events. Heavens, Nancy Kerrigan was a skater 20 years
ago, and a marginally good one even then.
But we heard all about her episode of being slugged again. She wasn't even a competitor in these
I won't spend any time on the subject, but Bob Costas
has for years added very little to sports coverage. Nothing changed in the last two weeks, except we did learn the network would survive without him..
Of course the morning Today
Show is a valuable part of the network coverage. The crew does a pretty credible job chatting
with...I hesitate to say, "Interviewing"...the competitors in the
morning. I have yet to figure out what
Savannah Guthrie's role is except her normal non-Olympic one of giggling. If that crew were just one half as good as
they think they are, they'd be great.
But the inside jokes simply leave me cold.
The Olympic coverage ends this weekend. I'm probably the only sports fan in America
that won't miss it. I certainly won't be
looking forward to the next games in two years.