2010 Rockwood Olympic Watch
The presentation of the medals follows, but
first, the ACTUAL end of the Olympics.
Normally this would be the spot where I hand out the good and
bad gold, silver, and bronze medals, but as you already know, this
Olympics didn't really end correctly. So, before we get to that,
here's a brief recap of what you missed unless you stayed up after
your late local news (or, DVRed it, like I did) to see NBC's final
hour of Vancouver coverage.
• Bob says, "After an intermission, we continue with
Nickelback." But even as he says that we can see the giant
moose balloons being hauled offstage, so we know that the "intermission" was
only NBC's break so we could see the premiere of "The Marriage
Ref." By the way, NBC, as soon as you cut away from the Olympics,
I cut away from you.
Next up, Avril Lavigne singing "My Happy Ending" and "Girlfriend."
Bobsled fluff! Even after inserting a false intermission, NBC can't
Alanis Morissette shows up. Hey, did you know she still made
music after 1995? Neither did anyone else, but sure enough, the
song she's singing is one that no one knows.
While she's singing
Andrea Joyce interviews Steve Holcomb. Then Jimmy Roberts interviews
Lindsey Vonn. They're both happy to be
Simple Plan follows Alanis. Still no Rush? You know, I once saw
Rush in concert and they had giant inflatable rabbits on either
side of the stage. That seems like it would fit in well with the
Olympics' giant inflatable beavers. Bring on Geddy Lee!
But no. Instead we get Hedley, a group from Vancouver whose lead
singer finished in third place in "Canadian Idol" one
year. Did you know that Rush has sold 40 million albums worldwide
and is proud to be Canadian? But yeah, third place on "Canadian
Idol" is close to that.
It's French-Canadian rocker Marie Mai. I'm sure you're all up on
your French-Canadian rockers, right?
A London preview! This is kind of interesting, even if it is just
a long commercial.
Fireworks! Uh... outside the dome. Isn't that sort of meaningless
for the athletes inside the dome? Whatever. They're very pretty
against the skyline of Vancouver.
Jimmy Roberts tries to ruin my mood even further by
trying to get Joannie Rochette to cry about her mother during an
interview. Shut UP, Jimmy!
Andrea Joyce talks to Evan Lysacek. Cris
Collinsworth interviews Alexandre Bilodeau, who won Canada's
first gold medal in the Men's
Moguls. I'd tell you what they were talking about, but it's really
not that interesting.
And now, what should have happened in prime time Sunday night,
Bob and Al give us their final thoughts regarding the Olympics
in Vancouver. Ironically, they keep talking about how they don't
want this party to end, just hours after NBC made us all cut away
to watch "The Marriage Ref."
Bob waxes poetic, then throws us to "the traditional cavalcade
of Olympic images" along with the names of thousands of usually
un-credited people who helped bring them to you.
I notice that
2008, for this Olympics Dick Ebersol doesn't get a voiceover
during his credit. I guess he fired the voiceover guy this year
due to budget cuts.
Seven minutes of scenic shots
and event highlights later, the credits are over and so are the
Olympics. And that's the way it SHOULD
So now it's over.
Just 62 hours and 32 minutes of primetime
coverage after we started. And what did we learn? Well, I'm going
to recycle a chart from 2008 (expect to see this one every Olympic
|2002 Salt Lake
attended the Salt Lake Games, thus I didn't keep time for them.
Content-wise, these Olympics weren't quite as
good as Beijing, but they were very close. And they were better
than any of the other Games I've kept track of, so I'd give them
a solid B+.
Then again, if you look at the hockey-puck chart
on the upper-right of this page, you'll still see that NBC spent
nearly five hours --over a night's worth of programming-- on fluff
during the course of the Vancouver Olympics. There's still room
The 2010 Rockwood Olympic Watch Medal Ceremony
The scores have been tabulated. We have the
results. Extra credit bonus points if you cry while singing your
national anthem on the
medal stand. Starting with the good:
• Good Bronze Medal. NBC's
treatment of Nodar Kumaritashvili. In what surely had to be one
of the worst starts to an Olympics ever, the Georgian luger was
killed on the track during practice just hours before the Opening
Ceremonies were to start. Wisely, NBC put on hold whatever other
hoped to open the Games with to focus on Kumaritashvili's fate.
And although they did show video of the accident once, they then
promised that it wouldn't be shown again, and they stuck to that
promise. They even showed footage of his funeral proceedings during
the Closing Ceremonies. I've bashed NBC a lot over the years, even
a lot during this year, but this was very respectfully
done and they should get some positive credit.
• Good Silver Medal. O Canada! Before Vancouver,
Canada had never won a gold medal in an Olympics they had hosted.
An obscure statistic, yes, but NBC was making a big deal about
it early on in the Games. As such, every time a Canadian won gold
in these Olympics we got to see the medal ceremony. And since the
crowds were always mostly Canadian, every medal ceremony turned
into a sing-a-long. Anyone who's read a few entries in the Rockwood
Olympic Watch knows that we lovvvvve singing at medal ceremonies,
so hearing the entire crowd sing for all of these medals was very
cool, indeed. Plus, O
Canada (which I have apparently misspelled for the entirety
of the Olympics) is a great song. We stand on guard for thee, Canada!
• Good Gold Medal. The
United States versus Canada hockey gold medal game. I know, I know...
it wasn't in primetime. I don't care. If Zach Parise's goal with
25 seconds left in regulation didn't make you...
AMERICANS: leap off the couch in joy
CANADIANS: leap off the couch in despair
...then you are dead inside. Seriously, seek
help. If NHL games were even half that good on a regular basis,
then the USA might have a new pasttime.
Of course, not everything can be perfect, even
at the Olympics, so now we come to the bad:
• Bad Bronze Medal. Scott Hamilton. Yes, I know
he's a great American hero of Olympics past. I get the irony of
me, the fan of everything Olympics, bashing him. But OH! GRRR!
UNGGH!!! GRUNTT!!! Yes, Scott! We get it! You're feeling the pain
of the ice skaters. But grunting isn't commentary. Learn to speak!
• Bad Silver Medal. Blind
sled dog fluff! I'll admit that it makes me laugh even today to
know that NBC's fluff
is eating itself. The "Up Close And Personal" segments that Jim
McKay did in Olympics long ago were the starting point for fluff.
They were simple human interest stories about athletes in obscure
that people would normally not know anything about.
But as Olympic
coverage increased, it was no longer good enough for these stories
to be merely "interesting," now they had to be "inspirational."
And the only way to be inspirational was for an athlete to have
overcome some great obstacle. If you get down to the heart of fluff,
it's always about someone's pain and how that pain was conquered.
Which brings us to the dogsled fluff. After
years of exploiting the pain of people, NBC's editors are
now so focused on finding a story's pain element that they couldn't
help themselves when presented with a blind sled dog. The blind
sled dog wasn't just "friendly," he was "inspirational" and "a
testament to the will to go on living."
NBC has managed to make fluff postmodern. Can
you imagine Jim McKay doing a story on a blind sled dog? What was up close and personal is now distant (the sled dog piece was shot
1,300 miles from the Olympics!) and impersonal. Up is down! War
is peace! Freedom is slavery! And despite this complete de-evolution
of fluff, it still wasn't the worst thing at these Games. That
title belongs to...
• Bad Gold Medal. After
62 hours, 31 minutes, and 59 seconds of good-bordering-on-great
coverage, NBC proceeded
to commit their stupidest gaffe in 10 years of the Rockwood Olympic
Watch on their very last second of primetime coverage. I refer,
of course, to their cutting away from the ongoing Closing Ceremonies
to take us to the premiere episode of "The Marriage Ref." This
was not just stupid, but world-class stupid. You might even say
Olympic-class stupid. This will be a lesson in stupidity for years
to come. Mark my words: in the future, "The
will be the Olympic version of "The
So that's it! Another Olympics, another Rockwood Olympics Watch.
Vancouver was only 18 months from Beijing, but London is almost
30 months away. That's going to seem like forever! Will I be back
for 2012? Who knows? Maybe some desperate news magazine searching
for a blogger will snatch me up and give me a job! Yeah, right.
In any case, it's been a lot of fun yet again, and I thank you
for joining me. So go hit up Rockwood, read some comic strips,
and meet me back here in 2012 when we can watch the
Olympics together once again! See ya!