The Olympics—what I loved and hated


It’s a good thing the Olympics come only once in every four years. If it came any more frequently than that we would all be zombies after sitting glued to the TV for two weeks. We find ourselves watching all the events, even ones we never heard of, just because it is the Olympics.

We root for the athlete who walked ten miles barefoot to train and for the athletes who have been separated from their families for months or even years in order to achieve their goals of performing and winning on the international stage. This opportunity comes only once every four years.

The Good

We saw many amazing fetes this year. We watched as Michael Phelps swam to a record 22 medals in his Olympic career. After he helped the U.S. win the 4×100 meter relay, the swimming officials gave him a special trophy claiming him the greatest Olympic athlete of all time. Usain Bolt kept his title as the fastest man alive and the U.S. women’s gymnastics team wowed us with their nimble dexterity.

The opening ceremonies featuring the queen parachuting into the stadium with Agent 007, James Bond, is something we will long remember. The smiles of gymnast Gabby Douglas and swimmer Missy Franklin are captured into our memories along with the tears of the many who didn’t achieve their goals.

The royal family showed us they are human. The queen proved she has a sense of humor by agreeing to the stunt with James Bond. Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate sat among the commoners to watch the games and cheer on their athletes and William and Kate even showed a little PDA with some celebratory hugs.

The Bad

I was a little puzzled over the opening and closing ceremonies. I didn’t understand the full story behind what they were doing, if there was a story. In the opening ceremony who were the men in top hats and what were they doing? I guess the opening ceremony was meant to be a brief history of Great Britain and the closing ceremony was intended to give us a taste of British life and pop culture today. Judging from what I saw, am I to believe that the whole country and its people are covered in newsprint? I think that was a poor choice because all I could think of was Rupert Murdoch and the ease-dropping scandal of his newspapers.

The Olympics are a time for the youth of all nations to come together in peace. What captured this sentiment more than anything was the children’s choir singing John Lennon’s song Imagine. When Lennon, himself, appeared on screen singing along it sent chills through my body.

and The Ugly

NBC did a poor job with their coverage. For starters, they could have provided more information during the opening and closing ceremonies. Maybe, then I would better understand who the men in top hats were and why everyone and everything were covered in newsprint. People, performers, and athletes appeared without an introduction or name projected onto the screen. And, the biggest question of all was never answered—where was Prince William during the closing ceremony?

NBC also began coverage of the closing ceremony before the time stated in the TV listings. We tuned in to find the festivities had already begun. Since it was all on taped delay, that would have been an easy thing to fix.

Finally, what was NBC thinking to interrupt the closing and final wrap-up for a stupid doctor/monkey show? If they thought they would take advantage of a captive audience to promote a fall show, they were wrong. There are many other channels to choose from and we did just that. When they resumed the broadcast an hour later the excitement of the ceremonies had lost its appeal. Everything was anti-climatic. Many reviewers, tweeters and bloggers have compared this goof to NBC’s Heidi fiasco in 1968 when they broke away from the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders game in the last minute of the game. At the time the Jets led 32-29 with one minute left in the game. Instead of finishing the game, NBC went to a commercial and then began the movie Heidi which was contracted to begin at 7 pm. The Raiders scored two touchdowns in the last minute and won 43-32.

When NBC broke away from their final Olympic coverage to promote an upcoming sitcom and then local news, by the time they returned to the Olympics everything had lost its sparkle. It was like watching a dead firecracker. In addition, many fans were waiting to see rock legends The Who and were disappointed with the short amount of air time they had.

Long live the Olympics

In spite of the rough spots during the Olympics the things that will be remembered are the young athletes winning with style and grace; especially, the American athletes who took more medals, 104, than any other nation.

Long live the Olympics, God Save the Queen, and God give me the endurance to wait another two years for the winter Olympics in 2014.