By Scott Gilbert
My hands grab into the plush blue carpet. The entire room stops breathing for a second as she sets up to do the unthinkable. She’s about to attempt to land a vault on only one leg. The entire family stares at the tiny boxtop TV and not a word is spoken.
She takes off running and a small limp is apparent as she approaches the vault. She springs to life. The pain is all over a face as she goes flying, twisting, flipping and finally the thud of the mat. She sticks it! Goosebumps run down my skin, a chill coursing through my veins as I finally exhale while her coach carries her off the mat.
Kerri Strug has cemented herself a place in Olympic history – and in my memory.
We then spend another hour watching as other teams show their greatest: Romania, Russia, China… The usual suspects.
Yep, It was the 1996 Olympics and this is what my family did every four years. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was 14 and my family got together, popped some popcorn, invited friends over and shared the feeling of awe in human greatness for a few hours that night. I also might have had a tiny crush on Dominique Moceanu, but what 14-year-old boy didn’t?
Okay, snap back.
16 years later, the USA women’s gymnastics team is about to compete for gold – well, actually their competition had been over for about 6 hours at this point, but no one in the US knew that. I mean, it’s not like we have real-time reporting through the internet or anything. But for the fun of it, let’s assume that you were one of the few that didn’t get the ending spoiled from a Tweet or Facebook Status update from either your foreign friend or that annoying guy that just always has to be the first for everything. Let’s assume you didn’t log into Yahoo or AOL at all that day and you weren’t bombarded by a pop-up ad that wanted you to purchase something in “celebration” of the event you haven’t seen yet. Yep, let’s assume you’re going in blind – an Olympic feat in itself with this integrated, connected world.
There are five teams competing: USA, Russia, Romania, China and the host Great Britain. Coverage begins with vault, but then hurries over to the Aquatic Centre for a quick swimming final. Okay, back to uneven bars and balance beam, but let’s squeeze in some more swimming. Finally floor exercise. Throughout the entire coverage, the only teams featured are the USA and Russia – well, that’s strange. What about Romania, China and Great Britain? I guess their performances weren’t exciting enough for NBC to allow that coverage.
The only truly dramatic moment was when the USA team awaited the final results – NBC didn’t cut that out.
The rest of it felt like I was at a TGIFriday’s and being hurried through my meal so the server could turn the table.
And that was just one event.
So without further ado, here are my top ten reasons I’m over the Olympics and it’s only the first week.
1. Delay – I get road rage just waiting 3 minutes for a red light – imagine 6 hours. And not only that, but to block out BBC – both network and internet – that’s just irresponsible.
2. Transparency – NBC cutting out certain performances to make it seem dramatic is a big no-no.
3. Flubs – C’mon, NBC ran a promotion for the Today Show where they basically announced that Missy Franklin was going to win Gold – SECONDS before airing her final.
4. Fear – I can’t login into my email with being splashed with results. Heck, I have pop up ads that chase me around wanting me to celebrate a victory I haven’t seen!
5. Ryan Seacrest – Really? Does this even need an explanation? Last time I checked, he wasn’t an Olympian. Seriously, NBC – Seacrest Out!
6. Terrible Commentating – The opening ceremony could have been okay I guess, but I couldn’t get Bob Costas to stop interpreting what I was watching for me.
7. The opening ceremony – I thought this was an event celebrating the world, not the history of the UK. I’m sorry, but I just don’t care. Let’s have an opening ceremony where we celebrate diversity in different countries – that is what it’s all about, right?
8. Integrity – It’s Badminton! Who throws a badminton match? You already play a sport with a flimsy racket and hit something called a “birdie” – or “shuttlecock.”
9. Freedom of Speech – Don’t get someone on Twitter banned because they lashed out at you for failing to provide good coverage. It was a public email address – anyone with Google and brain could find it.
10. Emotion – I just can’t get into it. It’s probably a combination of all 9 previous reasons, but seriously, I’m struggling to enjoy or even watch this year’s Olympics, which is sad, because usually I’m totally into it.
Oh well, just like Michael Phelps, you can’t win ‘em all.
At least ACL is coming up soon.