Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Extremely Belated Olympic Wrap Up

I know the Olympics ended over a week ago (which is about three gazillion years in internet time), but I still want to talk about them. And this is my blog. Where I am dictator and get to talk about whatever I want. Mwah-ha-ha.

I like the Winter Olympics so much better than the Summer Games. This probably has something to do with the fact that I grew up with the winter sports. Downhill skiing was my personal favorite, & my high school had State Champ hockey & cross-country ski teams. There are usually a handful of Alaskan Olympians in the Winter Games (not something you can often say about the Summer counterpart), and this year was no exception.

I love the Olympics... but I'm usually not such a big fan of the coverage. I get so annoyed when we see thirty minutes of "human interest" on someone and then we get to see only five of the downhill skiers actually take their runs. American with a chance of medaling... American with a chance of medaling... Bronze... Silver... Gold.

I know they think the montage of some random athlete's hometown is going to make me care about them and root for them more, but it just annoys me. Can't the commentator verbally give me some anecdote or do a 15-second explanation of why this race is so important to this racer without the slow-motion, weepy-music-playing montage?

And a fifteen minute interview in the studio with that chick who everyone thought would win but just crashed on the semi-final run? Yeah, that's just cruel. She knows her Olympic dreams just went up in a puff of snow! Don't make her relive it in front of seven million viewers!

Those things drive me nuts about Olympic coverage... so this year, I had a strategy. The DVR.

Normally, I could not employ the DVR strategy, since I do not, in fact, own a DVR. However, my parents do. And I just so happened to be house-sitting for my parents during the Olympics. Fortune smiled on me.

I set it to record all the Olympic coverage and quickly discovered I could watch six hours of coverage in slightly less than three hours - and still see all the actual sports! No human interest (I am not human, apparently, because I have no interest). No agonizing interviews (unless I wanted to watch them). No watching the skaters warm up for five minutes only to go to commercial and then come back to watch another skater warm up. And no commercials (unless I wanted to watch them - and I will admit, I actually did watch a couple Visa & P&G commercials about the Olympians, cuz awwwww).

And the best part? I could watch whenever I felt like it! It's all tape-delayed four hours by the time they air it in Alaska anyway. Might as well enjoy at my leisure. Prime-time skating over my cereal at breakfast. Snowboard cross at two am.

It was the best Olympics ever. I feel like I actually saw more of it than I've ever seen before, because I wasn't walking away from the television in frustration whenever some long non-sports segment forced me to leave or hurl something at the telly.

And do you know what I discovered in the awesomeness of my complete, accelerated Olympic viewing?

1) Luge, bobsled, & skeleton must be watched on mute. The commentator guy is WAY TOO EXCITED ALL THE TIME AND DRIVES ME TOTALLY CRAZY WITH HIS CONSTANT SHOUTS OF EXCITEMENT!!! Someone needs to tell him that being constantly at the emotional equivalent of Def-Con One is exhausting for the audience.

2) The Nordic Skiing commentators were awesome. I watched a freakish amount of biathlon, cross-country & nordic combined, cuz they just rocked that hard. I got intensely into the whole Norway-Sweden rivalry. I saw a chick win bronze with three broken ribs. I saw lots of people chasing one another around on skis with guns on their backs and discovered that the biathlon "pursuit" is by far my favorite event. It's so stalkerish! (And in case you're wondering when all this was happening - it was the afternoon coverage that I never would have known about if my DVR hadn't automatically recorded it too).

I was so in love with the Nordic events, I'm now longing for World Cup coverage on ESPN 8 (the ocho!). I guess I will just have to settle for the Last Great Race on Earth. Yep, folks, the Iditarod started on Saturday! Anchorage to Nome. 1150 miles in a dog-sled over about nine days. Can Lance Mackey make it four years in a row? We'll know next week!

Mush, boys and girls!

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