I have a confession to make. I lied to you guys. Please forgive me. Less than a week ago I told you I don’t watch sports for the sake of watching sports. That around my house we watch our hometown teams and not much else when it comes to sports. What I failed to mention is how this policy on sport watching goes out the window every two years. My real confession is not that I lied; it’s that I am an Olympic fanatic.
I enjoy amassing knowledge on sports I have never heard of and won’t hear of for another 4 years. I love hearing the back stories of the athletes; their trials and how they overcame adversity. I set my DVR to record all the coverage from every channel. This is a great thing as I can fast forward through commercials since there will be hours of coverage.
Earlier this week leading up to the start of the games I was getting nervous hearing of all of the problems the press has had with their hotels. While I’ve seen some minor issues with the accommodations of the athletes, I’m glad it seems their rooms are in much better condition. (Although I’m still trying to figure out this sign; any ideas on that last one, please let me know.
I also watch all of the Opening Ceremonies every time. Yes, they can get long and drag on; but I love learning more about the culture of the area the Olympics are taking place. I even like to see the outfits every country is wearing and seeing how excited the athletes look. Alas, this year was a bit of a disappointment. No, I’m not jumping on the Sochi bashing bandwagon. I have no problem with the actual ceremony.
It was said that they had a hard time finding a little girl for the main role of the ceremonies due to the fact they needed someone who was not only an acrobat, but also someone who was fearless. Well, they sure found that. It’s just unfortunate that as of this writing I cannot find a reference to her name. Man, that little girl was brave!
The light playing across the floor was amazing. I loved the idea of having a lighted representation of each country on the floor when that country walked into the stadium. But that wasn’t the only cool lighting. We had waves and bright colors and clouds all projected onto the floor.
While we’re looking at the United States making their Olympic appearance, can we talk about our official apparel for Team USA? What. The. Heck! I will admit to loving the hat (which is outrageously expensive), but this cardigan?!? Are you kidding me? And you should see the price tag. I guess I’ll never understand fashion. Am I supposed to like this just because Ralph Lauren designed it? I hope not! It looks like something you would dig out of the back of your grandpa’s drawer.
On to what it was that disappointed me last night. It was the NBC coverage. I have always been under the impression that commentators are there to fill in the blanks. Give us snippets of information we may not be able to get from whatever is happening on the screen. At the same time, I don’t want to be talked to like I’m an idiot. Not only did Matt Lauer tell us that we may not recognize all the letters of the alphabet because it was the Cyrillic alphabet, but Meredith Vieira literally (<–no I’m not using the word incorrectly) told the viewing audience to “Google it” if they wanted to know more about the Cyrillic alphabet. Okay, I hope most people would realize that another country may have different letters than us; that didn’t have to be pointed out like we’re morons. But at the same time, the network could have taken this opportunity to give its viewers a bit of information on the Cyrillic alphabet and posted a link with information on their own sight. I can’t remember what the other topic was, but Vieira advised the audience to look something else up online also. Later in the ceremony, Lauer reminded us again that we may not recognize all the famous people in the festivities but they are well known to Russians. Really? I thought they’d use a bunch of famous Australian people in the opening ceremonies in Russia.
I swear, I thought of muting my television at one point. The only thing worse than the idiotic comments coming out of their mouths was only catching half of what they said. I wanted to hear the music of the ceremonies, but what was the use of the commentators ruining the mood with their voices if we could only catch bits and pieces of what was being said. When I turned up the volume, the background noise of the stadium got louder but the commentators were still not very clear.
My final rant: why did NBC find it necessary to tell us “key parts” of the speeches. Have they never heard of subtitles? They didn’t air this live so they had plenty of time to subtitle the non-English parts. I didn’t want to hear the Cliff Notes version.
On a positive note, I’ll leave you with this little gem from one of the speeches:
“The Olympic Games are a sports festival embracing human diversity in great unity. Therefore I say to the political leaders of the world. … Please respect their Olympic message of goodwill, of tolerance, of excellence and of peace.” ~Thomas Bach, International Olympic Committee President
Do you watch the Olympics? What is your favorite winter sport?