Where did the games go? Where is my release from everyday pressures and this relentless winter? Where is “lazy-one-eyed” Bob? I am in Olympic withdrawal. For a little over 2 weeks the Sochi – Winter Olympics offered a welcome relief to the doldrums of an undesirable rough weather February in B-town. Coverage on the two stations was predominantly stellar. Sometimes the primetime dragged on with personal stories and “Travel Channel” type coverage of vacationing in Russia, but that’s what is on the slate at that time of evening. Besides those 3-1/2 hours of primetime it seemed as if there was coverage almost 24 hours a day. Whether it was live, taped delay or rebroadcast, the Sochi Olympics became a favorite tune-in for this guy.
I enjoyed turning on the television and viewing fairly obscure sports presented at their highest level. Precisioned athletic maneuvers reflecting natural ability, combined with years of devoted practice and time. Final standings being decided by seconds, tenths of a second and even hundreds of a second. Case in point, sum total of (4) bobsled/luge or skeleton runs being decided by those increments. “Oh, there’s a little bump there, that’s going to cost them!” 60-80 mph on a sled? Are you kidding me?
With the allowance of these athletes being compensated for their efforts, the past few Olympic games have taken on a slightly more intensive approach. Now as you know, where there is money, there is the potential for “The Fix.” But for the most part, there appeared to be stricter enforcement and fairer award of points on the sports which included judgmental scoring. FYI – USA Medal payoff (which is minute compared to endorsements, sponsorship, etc.) – Gold $25,000, Silver 15,000, Bronze – $10,000. Some of these medal payouts in other countries were much more impressive.
Yes, these athletes are dedicated to their sport. Yes, these athletes have reached a level that the other 99% of us, only dream of obtaining. And yes, there is compensation for those efforts. Kudos for the Olympic committee for opening it up. It was rewarding enough for me just to witness the passion these athletes had for their sport. How many times did you hear, “What an experience this is” – “I am so happy for my teammates, my fellow competitors, my family, my son, my daughter…”, “Finally, it all came together!”, “Gave it my best shot, just wasn’t meant to be, etc. etc.” Truthful, honest, pure heartfelt spur of the moment reaction. Just how it’s supposed to be.
Disappointments were few: USA Hockey teams, USA speed skating. Opening Ceremony with the ring malfunction. Any on your plate?
Annoyances were apparent: I still do not get what qualifications are required for representing a country. Well I do – and that would be – “show me the money”. But I just don’t buy it. What was with that South Korean Russian speed skater (Victor Li Wan Ahn Romanovski?). Come on now, that one put me over the edge. Then there’s the figure skating scams. Here’s a hypothetical, but nonetheless – “Now introducing the skating couple from Suvlakia – he was born in Germany, she was born in Canada, they train in Colorado Springs. What the …..heck? Remember, I’m old school. If you are at the Olympics representing a country you were born there, you train there, you pay taxes there and you live there.
The positives far out weighed the negatives. So many highlights, here are a few of mine: 1. How about that USA/Russia hockey game with the 8 inning shoot-out? 2. USA Ski team – all of them. 3. The first gold medal of the Olympics going to the slope “dude”, Sage Katzenburg. Did you see his runs? Did you see the footage when he had a “Go-Pro” with him and shot himself on a practice run – so cool. 4. Bobsled, luge, skeleton any time of day. 5. Curling, yes, the Curling, “Mongo Ice Shuffle-Pucks”. I should have driven down to Laurel 8 years ago and signed up when I first got fired up about it. 6. Ashley Wagner figure skating to “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” – (Pink Floyd) 7. And finally the cross-country skiing, skiathlon, biathlon, Nordic-combined events. Just great video, great setting and even better commentary. Yes, I was hooked by the combo team of Al Trautwig (deadpan) and Chad Salmela (over-zealous insight and knowledge). Those two captivated me that first Saturday. Anybody who can stop me in my tracks due and pull me in because of their delivery of a sporting event, is tops in my book. Hit me up with your “Top Moments”.
Bottom line – I needed some time to “Take it Easy” – (The Eagles) and coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics provided that outlet. I didn’t even get into ancillary coverage on other channels or the commercials (WalMart – RUSH (Working Man). Sounds like another blog. Teaser – Did you see any of Billy Bushs’ mini-clips on Access Hollywood? I saw 2: 1. Johnny Weir surf fishing on the shores of the Black Sea in a mink and “Rick Owens” green high heeled boots. and 2. Billy and Scott Hamilton at a spa. Priceless. Thanks you NBC and Sochi Winter Olympics for the change of pace.