Ricky Dean Fisher’s Olympic Rant
I'm a quitter. I've given up on the Olympics. Each day that the Winter Games continue, I'm thinking I like Major League Baseball more and more.
I can't quite put my finger on any one item that has made it unbearable . . . No wait: yes I can - it's NBC!
Well, even more than that, it is the corporate greed that allows one crummy network to pay enough dineros to get the whole she-bang. What do we get in return? Remember when we watched the women's soccer team win the gold medal a few years back? No you don't. It wasn't on. They didn't air it. That would have taken up too much air time. Instead, they had to show us where Carl Lewis grew up or where that really fast runner got his gold shoes--NIKE I think. You know NIKE, right? The guys with the check mark for a logo.
And now the winter games. Do we get to actually see the Fiji luge team screaming down the hill in shorts and a tee shirt? Well . . . Noooooooooo! We get to see the top 5 contenders compete on tape. I'm dropping in on CNN.com in the late afternoon and getting the final results and then watching the race on NBC at 9:30pm. What is wrong with this picture? And while were on the subject of NBC, what the heck is Bob Costas doing there with Katie Couric? Where is Matt Lauer? I watched the opening ceremonies and thought it was the Macy's parade. Why wasn't Al Roker giving us commentary and weather too? And where was the snoopy balloon?
My favorite cynical "opening ceremonies" moment was when the team from Latvia entered the stadium and Bob/Matt Jr. said that Latvia lobbied NBC very hard to be included live and not taped after the commercials and then Bob/Matt Jr. said in a voice nearly dripping with sarcasm, "And we'll be right back after this." If I were Matt, I'd be worried about now.
Then--and this is so typical of morning hosts--Katie and Bob would not shut up! On and on and on through the spinning ice and the Darth Fabio Maul skater and even when the five tribes played their drum music! I guess they were auditioning for the vocal part. "Did you know that this tribe lives entirely on a diet of peyote, Katie?" "Matt, I mean Bob, I met the Chief of this tribe at his casino just last night. What a wonderful evening we had." "Katie, did you know their feathers had to be specially made so as not to offend Utah environmentalists." "Matt, look at the security detail around that Indian girl. They seem to be all over her. These are the safest Olympics the world has ever seen? I'm sorry did I call you Matt?" "Well, Katie the Indians were warned that their hatchets were too dangerous on the ice and would be confiscated."
At least we have the athletes jumping and spinning and doing their best and receiving gold medals for their efforts. Well, except for the ice skaters. In ice skating you get a gold medal just for being Russian and showing up. You don't even have to skate. You can send in substitutes wearing Putin masks. In the Olympics, where they have highest standard of competition anywhere in the world, the judges decide who wins before the competition begins! They should just skip the competition and give out the medals.
That way NBC will have more time for athlete story time.
Like many Americans, I was proud when we won most of the snowboarding medals. Of course we invented the sport so we had better dominate it. And it still doesn't change my mind about snowboarders. They are the bastard children of the alpine world. Bad clothes, bad music, foul mouths, and they are always sitting on their butts thinking about their next big crash (usually into skiers like me). Yeah, snowboarding was a great addition to the Olympics. Maybe in the future we can look forward to "sports" like ski jumping on ten speed bikes. Why isn't that in the Olympics? I want to see the men riders land that jump on that hard little seat. The world doesn't have enough good sopranos. Now I see they are putting railings on the snowboarder trials. Stair railings. We chase the skateboarders away from the railings at our public buildings because it is dangerous. Then we install them in THE SNOW and say...here you go....slide you board down this thing at 80 miles per hour.
Here's a kicker. I have a solution. The IOC should award the prime time events to the network with the most money. The rest of the networks get to cover the athletes as they actually are competing (or in the case of figure skating-performing).
NBC- you get opening and closing ceremonies and any live events between 8pm and 12 midnight...and highlights of the day.
AS for the live events....
- ESPN: you get the daytime stuff: skiing, sledding, toboggans, ice fishing, etc.
- ESPN2: you get the people who ski and shoot.
- CNN: you get the people who shoot the skiers.
- Fox Sports-you cover the sport with the round puck and brooms. I'd like to see John Madden on that one.
- ESPN Classic: you cover the 1980 Olympics.
- TNN: you get the winter snow wrestling.
- A&E: you do those sappy stories on the athletes.
Now that would be Olympic coverage we could all remember and enjoy. Signing off for now from near the Olympic village (well, ok I'm in Pennsylvania),
Ricky Dean Fisher is a songwriter-poet who resides in the touristy, yet very enchanting Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. He enjoys playing music, skiing the slopes, and swimming in the many lakes.