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The 2006 Rockwood Olympic Watch Wrapup

Yes, it's been more than a week since the Olympics ended. In fact, it's been two. But that's okay. I'm sure that you were, like I was, sitting around the house, pondering, "Were these Olympics really citius, altius, and fortius than the previous Games?" Well, that's a judgement for you and you alone to make. I'm just reporting numbers, here.

And the numbers are... well, inconclusive. Since I didn't have a breakdown for the 2002 Salt Lake City games, it seems a little unfair to compare the Turin Winter Olympics to the Athens Summer Olympics. Most importantly, the fluff was down 40 minutes from 2004. Unfortunately, the event coverage was down almost six hours (there's a lot more coverage of the summer Olympics), so the ratio of fluff was actually slightly higher. Still, anytime the fluff count goes down, I'm happier, so I'll just be positive.

Anyway, what would an Olympic Watch be without a medal ceremony? Nothing! So...

The 2006 Rockwood Olympic Watch Medal Ceremony

Again we'll be handing out medals to both the best and the worst of the Olympics. Let's start with the positive:

Good Bronze Medal. Much like in 2004, I'm going to cheat and call a tie between the Snowboard Cross coverage and *gasp* the Figure Skating coverage.

The Snowboard Cross needs little explanation. It was an awesome new event and NBC covered it well, from the good of Seth Wescott getting the gold to the bad of Lindsey Jacobellis choking the gold away.

The Figure Skating... well, the coverage was good, what can I say? Unlike a lot of Olympic events on NBC, the commentators actually explained several times how the competitions were scored. That, and the commentary itself was entertaining, if sometimes unusual. But I don't deduct for unusual, I only deduct for stupid, and Dick Button and company were at least never ignorant. I still can't count myself as a figure skating/ice dancing fan, but I'll recognize good announcing when I see it.

Good Silver Medal. Short Track Speed Skating. From Apolo Anton Ohno finally winning to the clever explanation of how the relay events worked, NBC's coverage of Short Track was near perfect. In the future, I might like to know more about what gets skaters disqualified, as that seems to happen a lot, but I can't quibble too much about that given how good the rest of the coverage was.

Good Gold Medal. U.S. speed skater Joey Cheek! I know this isn't really something NBC had control of, but I think it was the best story of the Games. After Cheek's two medals, he donated all of his winnings to the Right To Play charity. Cheek's $40,000 inspired others to give, and ended up raising over half-a-million dollars for the charity group. Despite the insistence of NBC in sticking with the Shani Davis/Chad Hedrick pseudo-controversy, they couldn't kill the positive influence of this story. Bob Costas even closed out the Olympics with it. Looking for some positive role models in the Olympics? Look no further than Joey Cheek.

And now, the bad.

Bad Bronze Medal. Bode, Bode, Bode... what would we do without you? Well, hopefully in Vancouver we'll find out. NBC, of course, is just as guilty as Mr. Miller, since they hyped him endlessly leading into the Olympics, but Bode ultimately has to take the blame for a thoroughly uninspiring performance in the Games. Bode's attitude was, to put it generously, bad. Unfortunately, NBC kept trying to ride this horse, and then was more than willing to turn on their self-created media star by having Jimmy Roberts, Bob Costas, and Tom Brokaw ALL trash him. I don't think anyone came out looking good on this one.

Bad Silver Medal. Jimmy Roberts. What?! Upset!! How could Jimmy, the Olympic Watch Bad Gold Medal favorite, finish second? Well, he just wasn't as annoying in Turin as he has been in the past. That's not to say I'm warming up to him, as his stories are just as sachharine as ever, but at least in 2006 they were shorter. And he didn't even have a report every day, which meant that there were days during NBC's Olympic coverage that I didn't have to hear him at all. Both of those are positives. However, ultimately the reason for Jimmy's descent to silver medal status is that he couldn't top the gold medal winner...

Bad Gold Medal. Tom Brokaw's 38-minute closing day fluff piece. Really, there was just no excuse for this one. It had absolutely nothing to do with the Olympics, and whereas Jimmy spread his 60-or-so minutes of fluff over two weeks, Tom hit us with his 38 minutes all at once. Had I not been reporting on the coverage itself, I would have tuned to another station. It was that pointless. I know Brokaw, as America's favorite retired anchorperson, can apparently do anything he wants, but someone really needs to step in during the Beijing games and stop him from trying to repeat as Rockwood Olympic Watch Bad Gold Medal champion.

So, is that it? Oh no! New for 2006, we have the special, commemorative Rockwood Olympic Watch Gold Medal For Activities Unrelated To The Olympics. Yes! It's the ROWGMFAUTTO! And the winner is:

Philips Television! Thankfully for the Olympic Watch, other members of Team Rockwood had televisions available, because my brand new Philips HDTV failed me in the middle of the Olympics.

Okay, it wasn't exactly new. I bought a Philips widescreen HDTV (model number 30PW9110D if you must know) from the Philips Online Outlet Store (which I'm not going to link to because I don't want you to get ripped off). As a refurbished model, it only had a 90 day warranty. Well, 180 days into my possession of it, the tube went kaput (right as the figure skating started on the 21st). Of course, when I called their customer service line they told me I was out of luck. One of the Philips' representatives that I talked to (Shawn, a manager) even told me that he would NEVER buy a refurb from his employer. Way to promote the company, Shawn!

The funniest moment? I was talking to a rep (whose name I didn't get), and said to him, "So basically, Philips sold me a bum TV and now I'm on my own?"

The rep replied, "Well, no, that's not accurate."

" Wait," I said, "I've got a bum TV, right?"

" Yes."

" And Philips sold it to me."

" Yes."

" And you won't pay to fix it."

" That's correct."

" So, I'm on my own."

" Uh... yes."

" So, Philips sold me a bum TV and now I'm on my own. Which part of that statement is inaccurate?"

He had no reply to that one.

Anyway, the repairs will run me nearly $300, so my discount Philips television is now an expensive Philips television. Needless to say, I highly recommend you shop somewhere other than Philips for your HDTV needs, as their sets are prone to failure and expensive repairs, and even their own employees wouldn't buy one.

So, that's it for one more Olympics! Will I do this again in 2008? Who knows. I'm obviously crazy enough to have done it for this long, so there's always a chance. For now, let's just say I've been crazy for this long, what are the odd of me changing?

See you in 2008 in Beijing!




©2006 Brian Lundmark, all images and text on this page. All rights reserved.
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