Rockwood Olympic Watch Wrapup
Okay, now that I've had a few days to catch up on some sleep
(watching the Olympics isn't easy!), I can get down to the
important matters like determining if NBC is getting better
with their broadcasts. And by "better" of course, I mean
Surprisingly, the answer is yes. NBC is, in fact, getting
better with age. Now, this year's time totals are not complete
since I didn't time August 9th through August 11th. However,
the highest fluff days don't usually come at the beginning
the Games, so I feel confident that the ratio of events to
fluff is pretty accurate. Given that, here are the breakdowns
by percentage of all of the Rockwood Olympic Watches...
|2002 Salt Lake
the Salt Lake Games, thus I didn't keep time for them.
Behold the power of the Olympic Watch! I like to think that
Dick Ebersol quakes in fear now that the public knows exactly
how much fluff NBC puts on the air. But now there's less
reason for him to quake, as there's less fluff on the air.
Since Sydney, there's been a 13 percent increase in events
and a 45 percent decrease in fluff. That's pretty impressive.
Still, nearly four-and-a-half hours --an entire night's
worth of coverage-- was devoted to fluff. There's still room
The 2008 Rockwood Olympic Watch Medal Ceremony
The judges have tabulated their scores (yes, it took a week...
there was lots of tabulating to do... lots), and here are
the results this year, good news first:
• Good Bronze Medal. Live events
featuring Michael Phelps. This is where Dick Ebersol earned
his money as executive producer. Ebersol got the Olympic
Committee to move the swimming events to the morning in Beijing
so that they could be on in prime time in America. Imagine
how much less of an impact all eight of Michael's medals
would have had on you if you would have known the results
12 hours before any given broadcast. Ebersol gambled on this
one and won BIG.
• Good Silver Medal. China. The Opening
Ceremonies? Spectacular. The scenery? Spectacular. The venues?
Spectacular. Yeah, yeah... they spent $40 billion so OF COURSE
it's spectacular, but still, it was a spectacle to be seen.
• Good Gold Medal. U.S.A. athletes
singing on the medal stand. Call me a sucker, but I love
seeing happy people singing on the medal stand after they've
won the gold. At the Olympics, unlike normal sporting events
held in the U.S., the only time ANY national anthem gets
is when someone from that country wins a medal. This makes
the national anthem actually mean something, and
the people who sing along with The Star Spangled Banner clearly
believe that. So, for swimmer Natalie
the Women's Eight rowing team,
discus thrower Stephanie Brown Trafton,
and the Men's Volleyball team, coaches,
and fans, we salute you with this gold medal.
But not everything came up rosy in China.
• Bad Bronze Medal. NBC's decathlon
coverage. Bruce Jenner. Heard of him? He won the decathlon
for the United States 32 years ago. Yeah,
yeah... now he's famous because of the Kardashians,
but a 32-year legacy is still the impact of the "world's
greatest athlete." This year, American Bryan Clay, who from
NBC's fluff seems like not only
a great athlete but also a great person, won the gold medal
and got less than ten minutes of coverage for his events.
Four-and-a-half hours of fluff in the Olympics, and we couldn't
have squeezed out more than ten minutes for the world's greatest
athlete who happens to be an American? That's just sad.
• Bad Silver Medal. Mary Carillo
and Cris Collinsworth. They're not nearly as awful as Jimmy
Roberts, but their fluff was just so borrrrring! Mary talked
about a list of predictable Chinese things (kites, accupuncture,
pandas) and Cris's interviews were so bent on non-confrontation
that they didn't bring out any interesting stories. Need
more convincing? For pure entertainment value, imagine how
much better any given Mary or Cris interview would have been
if it had instead been conducted by Conan O' Brien. See that?
Even imagining that interview is
more entertaining that anything Mary or Cris did. Of course,
Triumph the Insult Comic Dog would have never made it over
there because of our gold medal winner...
• Bad Gold Medal. China. Those spectacular
Opening Ceremonies? Fake singers and fake fireworks. The
gymnasts? Underaged. The venues? Tainted by government-supported
mass murder. NBC is complicit here for playing along. Honestly,
if Tiananmen Square had hosted the Woodstock music festival
instead of a bloody massacre, don't you think NBC would have
mentioned that? Instead, when both the men's
and women's marathons ran past the square twice each,
the incident was never mentioned. No, I wasn't expecting
NBC to take the Chinese down, but a simple, "Tiananmen Square,
site of the 1989 massacre" would have been a fitting statement.
Add to that the spectre of the Chicom government putting
labor camps, packing the seats so the arenas didn't look
empty, and banning Joey Cheek from the country just because
he has political ideals the Chinese don't like, and you're
left with not only a bad taste in your mouth, but also an
uncomfortable feeling of, "if that's what I DO know, what
are they NOT telling me." It makes the concept of the 2014
Sochi Olympics in Russia all the more uncomfortable.
And that's it! One more Olympics
under my belt. Thanks to all of you, who keep
coming back and watching me do something crazy like this.
It's a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. Will I do another
one? 2010 in Vancouver is just 18 months away, and who knows?
Maybe I'll actually go to those, since they're on the North
continent. We'll just have to see what happens a couple of
years from now. Until then, you'll have to make your own
See you in 2010 in Vancouver!