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Olympic observations

(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!

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