Welcome to the 2016 Rockwood Olympic Watch!

What is this crazy thing?

It all started back in the 20th century...

Really. 2000 was officially the 20th century, so the Olympic Watch has now been a part of two millennia! For those of you who haven't been here before, welcome! Here's what's going to happen. I'm going to watch all of NBC's prime time Olympic coverage and break it down into three delightful categories:

1. Events

2. Advertising

3. Meaningless fluff

Who decides which is which? I do! That's the perk I get for making the web site. If you want to decide, the web awaits your input. Get coding! So a better question might be why am I doing this?

Well, if you've read any of the previous Olympic Watches (see those links on the bottom right? Go!) you know that I love the Olympics and always have. Ever since I was a wee boy I've gotten a charge out of watching sporting events that I never would have watched otherwise just because they had five pretty rings somewhere in the background. No, it doesn't make any sense, but it's still true.

But along the way, something interfered with my mindless pleasure. The Olympics started to focus less on these obscure events (sliding a rock across the ice... really?) and more on the stories behind the athletes ("...in order for Noge Tekla to master the rock, he had to let the rock be his master..."). Or so I thought. But did I really know? There was only one way to find out, and that was to keep track.

So I did. And now, some 16 years later, I've built up quite a resume of crazy tabulations. I may never have the fame and fortune of Bill Gates, but I've got detailed knowledge of how often NBC has given me a sob story about random figure skaters over the last decade. Yes, I've wasted my life.

But as long as I'm frittering away my high-earning years, join me, won't you? It should be somewhat entertaining and who knows? There may even be that one moment during the Games when you see something so amazing that you, too, will vow to watch all 10 zillion hours of Olympic TV coverage with me.

There's a spot right here on the couch. I'll keep it warm for you. Swifter! Higher! Stronger! Let's go!


Rules of the Olympic Watch

The umpire is always right.

The immediate temptation when grading a major network on its content is to criticize it for the quantity of ads it broadcasts. Let it be known right up front that Team Rockwood thinks that NBC should run ads out the wazoo. The fact is that NBC has done what most of you haven't, which is pony up a zillion dollars for the Rio Olympic Games. Then they packed up all their gear and went all the way to South America to show you pictures on that idiot box in your living room. For free. If NBC needs to show advertisements to pay for your lack of spending power, then by God, you should watch them and be happy. That's the price you pay for not going to Brazil yourself.

However, the Rockwood 2016 Olympic Watch will still be documenting this advertising time, if for no other reason than it qualifies as neither "events" nor "fluff." We just want you to know how they stand. But once again, let us restate that under no conditions will we tolerate any whining about all the ads they show on TV. If you don't like it, planes to Brazil are leaving all the time. We're sure they could squeeze you on for a thousand bucks or so. Yeah, that's what we thought. Have a seat.

With that said, what will we be grading? Essentially, it comes down to two categories, events and fluff. Sometimes the two intertwine, in which case, Team Rockwood will make a judgement call. Much like the Olympics themselves, the decision of the judges is final, so no beefing about that either.

Some of you may be asking "What's the difference between events and fluff?" Good question. There are always exceptions, but here are some guidelines:

  • Events are obviously competitions and only competitions. If people are competing in an Olympic match, that is an event.
  • If the event the person on screen is competing in is NOT at the Olympics, it is most likely fluff.
  • Medal ceremonies, being something that only happens at the Olympics themselves, will be counted as events.
  • Video of past Olympics will be counted as fluff.
  • Because there are so many events that no one (not even members of Team Rockwood) could possibly watch them all, news about the current Olympics will be counted as an event.
  • Any story featuring someone who is NOT an athlete is fluff.
  • Any video that is posterized, mosaiced, overexposed, purposely-blurred, or otherwise enhanced is fluff.
  • Anything with a musical background intended to enhance emotion is fluff.
  • Interviews conducted immediately following the event will be counted as events.
  • Interviews conducted in dramatic lighting will be counted as fluff.

These are just a handful of the rules that Team Rockwood will be using during the games. In short, if something is (or in the case of Rio, could be) live and unpredictable, then it's an event. Anything staged or obviously pre-recorded is fluff. Any time two anchors are talking to each other instead of talking about what happened qualifies as fluff. Of course, that could easily be your local news.