Brooks “The Tuna” Velour….. it did not matter how many times I saw that Maryland Lottery Medal Mania commercial - I laughed. The dolphin kick as he entered the water – priceless. On a serious note, I was engaged with the Olympics from start to finish. I believe what set this Olympics apart from previous viewings was: a) channel options b) the DVR and c) choice of knowing outcome or waiting until event coverage. NBCSN is even capitalizing on post airings, with “Return to London…” all this week, featuring the highlights of the more coveted sports. The replays are buffeting any immediate Olympic withdrawal symptoms.
Yes, the primetime commercials were to many and to long. Yes, some of the background stories were to drawn out and dramatic. Yes, some of the interviews immediately following the event were to mundane and elementary. And yes, I threw my sofa cushions at the tube, after the 50th time I saw Matthew Perrys’ face and whatever new show of his they were jamming down our throats. They did such a good job, I don’t even know the name of the supposed upcoming sitcom. We had options………….. click.
What I dug the most was, Neil Peart drum roll please………….the camera angles/video coverage. I know it’s not new and I am getting old but, for some reason being with the athlete as they competed in their event blew me away. I was all about - the under water 50m pool shots, following the diver into the pool, running with the gymnast down the runway, surging across the mat, running with the track stars, the super slow motion replay, etc. etc. The under water on the floor of the pool looking up shots - extremely cool. Were we ever able to follow them during the race before from below? Maybe it’s the new HD flat screens? I don’t know, I’m old, I appreciate the little things alot more now. I will say, I am not a fan of the “in-your-face” camera shots immediately following their performance or while they wait for their scores. No reason to be a foot from their face when I believe there is a lens option called “zoom”. The video coverage enhanced my viewing time.
Number 2 on the “what I really dug” meter………….. Boxing analyst – Teddy Atlas. His commentary pre, during and post fight was unprecedented. He had the knowledge, he had the flare, he had the honesty and freedom to call it like he saw it. Analogies I had never heard before or would have ever dreamed of interjecting into a boxing match. FAN-tastic. Even though the boxing was for the most part – “fixed” – at least Ole Teddy Atlas was on board with it. “Some of these decisions, are making Olympic boxing a joke/no credibility.” “If they give it to the blue corner – I’m on a plane out of here.” Blue corner received the win……”Where do I go get our tickets.” (They didn’t leave). His play-by-play man, Bobby Papa, was right there with him. “Where are they getting these judges? The judging at these games is why this sport is considered a farce.” FAN-tastic coverage, with so many more examples. If they ever come out with a DVD of the boxing coverage for the London 2012 Olympics ………….buy it………it’s a classic.
Number 3 – minimal bad press. Besides the inevitable “Fixes” – (badminton you kiddin’ me)? There were only a couple positive drug tests (so far). Really only one, that being the ”she-man” shot putter from Belarus. Let me tell you, you saw it………there were plenty more of the “she-men” running around. The other positive drug test didn’t really count. That was the American judo guy – he inadvertently ate some marijuana brownies back in the states prior to going over. Uhhhhhhh yeah right. I wonder if the IOC uses the same testing labs as MLB and the NFL? There were minimal reports of misdemeanors. There were no terrorists attacks, no Munich of 1972 from 40 years earlier. Nice job – British and friends security teams – give them a gold medal.
Number 4 – the USA women in anything. I heard the USA women alone, would have come in fifth for total medals vs. the rest of the world. The gals swimming was the surprise. In the last race of the meet, the 4 X 100 medley relay, the USA had 4 gold medal winners at their particular specialty, won at various distances. Soccer, water polo, basketball, beach volleyball (final match -both teams- USA), tennis, rowing, track, etc. You go girls.
For most of these athletes it’s a “Once in a Lifetime” – (Talking Heads), type deal. Although, for those at the top of their game, it seems as if there are more and more repeaters. When the Olympics changedthe participation status requirements from amateur to include professional – a new era was born. Now the athletes can recognize the potential income and sponsorship they can receive for their efforts. Stay off the drugs and go for it.
I encourage you to offer your top moments. Looking forward to 2014 Winter games in Sochi, Russia and 2016 Summer games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A.