Every two years the anticipation of the Olympics sets in, and I’m quite excited to watch the events. My first memories of the games are 1980’s Winter Olympics in Lake Placid where the US Hockey Team won the gold in the “Miracle on Ice” and of course, the 1984 Summer Games here in Los Angeles where all the events were televised live and the coverage was comprehensive. Unfortunately since then, I’ve personally been disappointed with the games. Let me restate that, I’ve been disappointed with the television coverage of the games. We were probably spoiled in 1984 because for us there wasn’t a time difference. We were able to watch the events from start to finish without it being tape delayed or edited to fit a shorter period of time.
Needless to say, this year’s coverage has been a bit frustrating. There were the controversial incidents like cutting out about 10 minutes of the Opening Ceremonies to show a Ryan Seacrest interview, and due to tape delays, the network’s announcements of the results before the events were even televised. There was something kind of appalling watching respected newsman Brian Williams saying things like “If you don’t want to know the results yet close your eyes or look away for a moment.” But in addition to those biggies, I didn’t care for the way the events were edited to show just the highlights, and in some cases only the US’s highlights. The broadcast would go to a commercial and when they came back the score had doubled in team events or several athletes had there turn and we missed it. Between the edits and the early announcement of results I’ve constantly felt like I can’t get a handle on what is going on exactly.
The event that I’ve been most interested in is the Equestrian. Having been a show jumper myself I just love watching the horses and riders. Since it’s not as popular of an event as, let’s say, gymnastics or swimming, the coverage was already very limited. The schedule posted online was not necessarily the schedule on the television. I can’t tell you how many hours I recorded and fast forwarded only to find the events were shown before or after the time that was scheduled. The US team ended up having disappointing performances in all the events thus far which limited the coverage even more. However I really enjoyed seeing Canadian Ian Miller who rode for years and years in grand prixs on his famous horse Big Ben and who holds the record for most Olympic appearances with 10. He rode a new horse this year who I just fell in love with.
The British show jumping team was tremendous and took the gold in a jump off that I DID get to see. But I’ve yet to see an equestrian medal ceremony televised.
With those rants being ranted, there have been some great moments this year. Even though the Opening Ceremonies were very different than 2008, I was impressed. There was so much pageantry and national pride displayed. The Bond/Queen clip, the Health Services/Children’s Lit, the Parade of Nations, and the torch lighting were my favorite parts. The US women winning the all arounds in gymnastics was exciting. I also enjoyed watching the “inquiry” initiated by Béla Károlyi last night which led to Aly Raisman’s bronge medal. My adrenaline was pumping during that one, but it could have been due to the earthquake we had at the very same time. (We’ve since had 30+ in the last 24 hours). The women’s beach volleyball final tonight was super fun too with both teams being from Southern California!
There are just a few days left of 2012’s Summer Olympics. When it comes down to it, the best part of the Games for me is, while nations’ governments fight and blow each other up, there’s something so symbolic about these athletes from all over the world coming together and playing side-by-side. They shake hands whether winning or losing. Our world leaders could certainly learn a thing or two about that.
What’s been your favorite part?