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I despise the Olympics. I despise the lie that is "the Olympic spirit." I despise NBC (the US TV network that provides coverage for us USians).
I like Eric Heiden.
The following is an edited email exchange between my brother (a former Nagano Winter Olympic Organizing Committee employee and all-around cool guy) and myself.
I think I am already tired of watching the Olympics on NBC. Coverage in Japan is not as slanted, I guess because not as much money is involved, and more time is devoted to showing an entire competition.
ORTO, Olympic Radio and Television, was cool. It provided images and sounds of all competitions, and broadcasters, as part of their fees, could tap in and use any they wanted. That was a nice feed to watch at the Nagano broadcasting center.
The North American media now has all the fat ugly housewives here in an uproar about the evil Russian pair skaters vs. our nice neighbors to the North Canadian pair skaters. I really wish they would stop.
What I want to hear more about is the Men's 500m race outcome, but the media is satisfied with that result so I am not going to get more info! Shimizu, who really is great at this race, lost first place by .03 seconds. The 500m is now run twice, in different lanes, so it is actually 1000m! He was in second place the first day, but couldn't make up the time difference the second day. 2nd place is a disappointment for him.
It now appears the American, who took 1st, false started in the first race, but it was not called. Rumor has it that Shimizu was waiting for the false start gun, but it never came. He had a good race, but not a great race. He is a class act and has not complained or asked for review, but guys like me can't be fooled. I know what happend, but fat, stupid and ugly housewives? Yes.
Timing for speed skating is great, but I think the starts are still visual. Unfortunately, there are no starting blocks with sensors to determine false starts.......
Subject: RE: Olympics
My Olympics Fan brother,
I have watched exactly 15 minutes of Olympics coverage so far. I saw a 50 km (?) XC skiing race the other day that was 1-2 Finnish.
I heard this morning about the (surprise!) fixed judging at the pairs skating last night. Well, I know I will get in trouble with you and [your wife] by saying this but ice skating is not a sport since it is not measured by objective means. Therefore, there is no controversy (or is NBC using the word "tragedy"? I half-expect them to) since there is no competition.
The coverage is not reliable; I don't believe that I will see what the schedule says I will when it says I will see it. I've already missed at least some if not all of the ski jumping and the downhill events, which are among my favorites of the Winter Games. I want to see some luge and bobsled, but I get the feeling that unless there is a USian in the top 10 (which there never is) then I won't see much of it.
NBC insists that this is the way USians want their Olympics; emphasis on USian competitors and USian "up close and personal" stuff. Personally, I could not care less about how hard some stupid 18 year old snow boarder thinks s/he worked to get to the biggest corporate-sponsored party on the planet. It seems that the Sydney debacle 18 months ago would have given NBC a reason to re-engineer the approach, but apparently that's not the case.
One other thing I don't like about the Olympics is the total control they exert on participants; in the past athletes were allowed to write about their experiences for their local paper; sort of a public diary. Nowadays, with the contracts the IOC signs with the TV networks for complete exclusivity, no one is allowed to do that and certainly no one is allowed to write on a web site or other freely accessed media. Can you imagine? I am in the Olympics but I am not allowed to publish MY THOUGHTS about MY EXPERIENCES at [my personal website with a weblog]. CNN/SI can't even publish results until authorized or until some period of time has passed. The contracts have been negotiated years in advance and in some cases were before the Web and the internet became so important. But, given the mind-set of the IOC we won't see any web-streaming broadband video or immediate web-based results for another 20 years or so.
Personally, I think the Olympics suck and have sucked since 1988. LA's were the last good games and those didn't have the entire Soviet Bloc attending.
Your cynical Tour de France and World Cup watching brother,
Oh, I don't think I am really an Olympics fan, but there are certain events I like to watch. Especially when snowboarding was forced into Nagano, I knew the Olympics was no longer geared to my age group...
The more I learn about Eric Heiden, the more I respect the guy. He is the team doctor for speedskating at SLC, and was asked if he would be part of the torch relay inside the stadium. He replied that he wanted to be 'the last guy' to light the cauldron. In the end he told the organizers that he was busy when he discovered that that role had already been determined. The media has never liked him and he the media.
Subject: RE: Olympics
I like Eric Heiden, too. He is such an exceptional person; Olympic multi-gold medalist and record holder, excellent bike racer and also an MD. He is a cool guy because he isn't a dumb jock or a spoiled brat prima donna.
He should be a good symbol to light the torch because of his accomplishments; those hockey player guys got lucky ONCE and never did shit with their lives afterwards, but since they beat the fucking Russkies 22 years ago in a Cold War Olympics and because we are now in a hot war on terrorism with an "Axis of Evil" then they win the honors.
God Bless America.