We're Back For 2012!
And watching just as much TV as ever.
The Rockwood Olympic Watch has returned for it's sixth attempt at breaking down NBC's coverage of the Olympic Games into it's three basic components:
3. Meaningless fluff
If you've been with us in previous years, you know how this works. You can just pick a day over there to the right and get started. But for you noobies, here's a primer.
I love the Olympics. No, even better, I luuuuuuurvvvvv the Olympics. Yes, I love them so much I'm willing to express my feelings for them like a teenage girl. That's serious. I know, right?
Are the Olympics without flaws? Of course not. During these very games someone is likely to get caught cheating, whether by doping up or by some other method. And then there will be the unsportsmanlike behavior of both winners and losers. If you're really lucky, this time we'll actually get some footage of a dark room where IOC President Jacque Rogge has his hand under a table receiving a shoebox full of cash. The Olympics are full of deep, dark secrets and you can make yourself nice and depressed if you start digging around for them.
But then sometime in the next two weeks, you're going to find that moment. You know the one. You'll be watching some hometown boy, or even some foreign boy, and something about their story will hit you right in the gut, and for that one moment it will be more thrilling than anything else in sports.
Years ago, ABC's Jim McKay was the master of putting together footage that would define those moments. But then NBC took over the Olympics. They saw McKay's stories and thought that it was these dramatizations that made the Olympic experience special, as opposed to the Games themselves. So they started pushing out more and more of these "Up Close and Personal" segments at the expense of showing the actual competition.
So way back in aught-aught, I decided to keep track of this "fluff." I sat down in front of the TV for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and started charting exactly what NBC was putting on the air. My hope was that by publicly exposing said fluff, I could shame NBC into not broadcasting so much of it.
Did it work? Who knows? But I had so much fun doing it that year that I've done it for every Olympics since. So join me, won't you, and we'll run this Olympic-sized TV marathon together. Swifter! Higher! Stronger! And away we go!