Olympic observations

Olympic flag

(Updated July 28 at 12:07 pm MT)

Grandma’s miscellaneous observations about the London Olympics:

The Opening Ceremonies need to be shortened enough to ensure all the athletes can participate. They’ve earned that right. It’s disappointing to viewers and to those athletes (eg, U.S. swimmers and gymnasts) who do not or cannot participate for fear of being exhausted for their next-day competitions. Reports said they would have had to stand for up to 6 (?) hours for the ceremonies. That seems a long time even to sit in the stadium.

Smiles aplenty during the Opening Ceremonies. It was refreshing to see and hear all those beautiful children, and watch so many athletes from so many nations walking together, happy and excited to be there. A welcome respite from all the hate and despair in the world today.

U.S. team uniforms: Most definitely should have been made in the U.S.A. Globalization be damned; this whole event is about national pride! And berets. Seriously? Sure, some of our military units wear them, but this isn’t the military. Wear something typical of the American people. Cowboy hats seem an obvious choice, even though they’ve been done before. Why have hats at all? Most Americans, most of the time, don’t wear hats.

Modern communications have certainly changed media coverage of the Olympics. In years past we had to wait for prime time broadcasts or rebroadcasts of the competition, or watch live at odd hours of the day or night; maybe, just maybe, intentionally or otherwise, we might have learned the results before the broadcasts. Then we went through the era of announcers warning us that they were about to announce some results, so turn away if we didn’t want to know prior to the broadcast. This year we’ve been warned that all results will be announced as soon as the media get them (can’t wait and risk being scooped by anyone else), and all competition will be telecast live — as well as rebroadcast umpteen more times to saturate the airwaves 24/7. At least we won’t be left wishing they’d included our favorite obscure sport — underwater basket weaving, tiddlywinks, etc. However, it makes it really tough to locate and enjoy the competition you want to see without stumbling across results you don’t want to see. There’s much to be said for participating in the experience as it happens, at the same time as everyone else, watching the race, the match, the game with no one knowing the outcome until it happens. The collective holding of the breath, the collective cheering and tears at the end. That’s the real drama for the spectator; that’s what it’s all about — being a part of it, the competition and outcome. If the event you tune in to is already over, already decided, what’s the point in watching? Too bad all that can’t somehow be preserved for the world’s preeminent sporting event.

Best wishes to London and the all the athletes!

9 thoughts on “Olympic observations

  1. I love the Olympics PT, but the coverage has gotten a bit ridiculous. I’ve been flipping through channel after channel to see as much of the things I like as I can, and I keep ending up missing out anyway because I didn’t wait on a particular channel long enough. Argh! But they’ve apparently decided to really clamp down on what we bloggers can show. I searched, and found, several videos of Rowan Adkinson’s hilarious bit from the opening ceremonies on YouTube, only to find them yanked before I could even make a good start on a post. But my experience is nothing compared to Michelle’s! 😯

    1. I suppose they were trying to preserve some Opening Ceremonies surprises for the U.S. audience. It would be nice if they’d work equally hard to preserve the suspense for actual competition. I saw Mr. Bean (big whoop) on last night’s telecast. Don’t much care if or when he was on YouTube.

      I spent two days flipping channels trying to find and watch U.S. men’s and women’s soccer. With wall-to-wall coverage of ALL soccer matches on 6 different channels, I think I found everything but what I wanted. There were no specific starting times listed, as far as I could tell. And I wanted to watch LIVE, not a rebroadcast after the winner had already been announced.

      BTW, I snuck (that’s a legitimate word in my family) in a note on the U.S. team uniforms while you were composing your comment …

      1. I agree with you completely on the team uniforms thing PT. Of course, I’d also like to know here ever bit of everything someone is trying to sell to me is made as well… 😕

        1. Me too. But I have a particularly hang-up about clothing since it’s something I buy and use every day. I want quality and consistency and don’t see much of either anymore. I’ll bet with those uniforms they had all kinds of problems with irregular, skimpy seams and hems; one size 12 not fitting like the next size 12; buttons falling off and zippers pulling apart; proportions more suitable to ET than humans; etc.

  2. Well, the Olympics off to a start. Not seeing it live was odd, but as someone said “Hey, delayed broadcast takes the uncertainty, danger, and mystery out of it – we know for sure that during the opening ceremony there wasn’t a terrorist attack! Nice of the media to shelter us from the possibility of seeing something violent unfolding live! Don’t want to risk scaring the children!”

    1. I realize that the other nations of the world cannot and should not schedule their events just so they will appear live in prime time (or even daytime) in the U.S. And I don’t really care that much about whether we see the Opening or Closing Ceremonies live. But when it comes to the competition, I want the chance to experience every bit of the uncertainty, danger, and mystery of the event as it happens. I guess there’s just no good way to get around the logistical problems of the world’s many times zones.

      BTW, were you as surprised as I was to see Britain’s National Health Service featured in the ceremonies? I’m still scratching my head over that. I guess there’s just no way for an American to understand or appreciate the idea or impact of national health care.

      1. Everyone seemed surprised
        It started out as tribute to some famous authors…but that all got lost
        Somehow missed the tribute to various unions there ( commercials or editing?)
        I did see focus on women’s rights multiple times
        I’d rather everyone focus on the history of the games, sports, participants, and sportsmanlike conduct…with some nice facts/aspects about each country than political messages.
        The tree and tor was very nice – and the technology and special effects utilized.
        Wonder what the closing will be?
        (and half the fun in past years was staying up late to watch certain events – live is good!)
        Thanks for playing over here

        1. I hate to be critical of another nation’s ceremonies, especially when I’m not that familiar with the history involved or the thinking of the planners. But I really didn’t understand why the NHS was included in something that was supposed to be celebratory. I got confused as to whether all the kids in bed was about bedtime storytime, with the connection to authors, or the NHS (hospital beds) and got bored with it besides, except for wondering how they got all the beds and blankets to glow; my grandkids would love those. Too political, too localized (great for England but it didn’t seemed geared to entertain anyone outside the British Isles). I did enjoy David Beckham and Paul McCartney (Hey Jude is one of my all-time faves). And the national costumes/uniforms were interesting — for a while. The Queen never smiled that I saw and “her” skydiving did not amuse me. It was like a private party — the Brits and their Queen. Most of the world is not impressed by royalty. The pouring of the molten ring was cool and so was the cauldron. Okay, I’ll shut up now.

... and that's my two cents