Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap: 2012 Summer Olympics

“We are each gifted in a unique and important way.  It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.

-Mary Dunbar-

Oh, those Olympics…love the games, the excitement, the hype, the challenge and the amazing athleticism…but I found the coverage lacking.  I read the article Did NBC Fail Us and I could not agree more.  The televised coverage was rife with inane drivel and not nearly enough actual event coverage.  Yes, NBC did focus primarily on American athletes and events in which they won overall…I don’t think that is terrible…it is patriotic and frankly expected to a certain degree.  National pride is awesome; a more worldly perspective should be our goal.  To all Olympic participants…Bravo…medalled or not.

The American channel’s perspective turned out to be broader than Canadian coverage at least.  It was due to Canada’s lack of a broader view of the Olympic games that caused us to switch from watching the coverage available through Canadian TV.  Canada also suffered from the same type of coverage deficit.  Those “human interest stories and snarky banter” littered the Canadian coverage every bit as much as the American coverage.  However, because the success at the games by Canadian athletes was of a lesser degree, the needless inane chatter filled in far too many hours which could have been better utilised to show more events regardless of whether Canada was in contention.  And, so we switched to the American coverage to get at least another perspective and more varied event coverage…or so we thought.

I agree that blackouts, monopolies and other such tactics to grab the almighty dollar and greedily clawing at the attention of one audience are all business ploys that may become their undoing.  It seems to me that each time the Olympics come around the time allotted to viewing the actual events, which are the true focal point of the games, is shrinking.  The many interesting mini-documentary style insights would for me have held more of my attention during the week prior to the games as a prep to watching it all.

Another unfortunate outcome of the monopoly of media coverage was that other TV stations were not allowed to show those short little blurbs of “winning” moments.  That was the type of thing that should be allowed for your average person to catch up on the games results.  Instead, showing brief “winning” blurbs as part of a long tedious human interest segment and skipping the actual event coverage only served to cause annoyance and resulted in loss of interest in the broadcast on my part.

I found it infinitely frustrating to sit through interviews, commentary and bio-pics only to discover that all that was shown of the actual event was the final moments of a select few countries’ athletes.  I would have been more interested for a longer period of time and truly gotten wrapped up in the Olympics in the prime time viewing slot, if televisors had not focussed only on one country.  But then I am a great lover of the ritual of athletics.

I stopped watching the World Series in baseball for the very same problematic TV coverage as mentioned.  I am interested in who the athletes are but I’d rather find that out ahead of time.  That way I can immerse myself fully in the event itself.  Jumping back and forth from other “stories”, interviewing Mom and Pop in the stands, and snarky commentary are unnecessary distractions.  The ritual of warm-ups, interactions with fellow athletes, and coaching are an intrinsic part of the game of baseball.  So too with the Olympics.  Good journalism regardless of the media type should be of objective observation of what is, not some sideline bozo’s slanted opinion and sour grapes over wins, losses, disqualifications and officiating.  I prefer to watch, observe and soak up the ambiance and thus enjoy what is unfolding.  I can’t be the only one…or am I?

Today’s “stone” is  Day 226  Olympics, missed moments, wonderful athletic performances



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