INXS, Midnight Oil, Kylie Minogue, and Men At Work all made it to the CC in Sydney. Why did Korea pass on their biggest artist?

  • The is the end. My only friend, the end. It's over! The Olympics are actually over as we speak, but since no one wanted to wake up at 3 a.m. to watch the Closing Ceremonies (CC, from now on) live, NBC is going to show us to them now in prime time. But as usual, by "now" I mean "later," because first we're going to do some fluff!
  • The US Women's Hockey team won gold against Canada! That was several days ago, but let's watch some slow-motion footage of it now. U-S-A! U-S-A!
  • Now let's play "The Star Spangled Banner" while we watch a montage of the US athletes receiving their gold medals. How many sing? Let's see. Red Gerard? No. Lindsey Vonn? No. Chloe Kim? No. The Flying Tomato? No. Mikaela Shiffrin? Yes! Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall? Yes! David Wise? Yes! Hockey team? Yes! Curling team? Yes! Future Olympians looking for endorsement deals, take note of the fact that NBC put all the "yesses" at in a row at the end and gave them more screen time. If you want the Olympics to pay off, learn the national anthem!
  • Thank goodness we're finally getting around to interviewing Lindsey Vonn. How did we get through this whole Olympics without hearing from her?
  • Tanith interviews Jessica Diggins, the US flag bearer in the CC and asks her what the best moment of her cross-country win was. Diggins responds that the US team tearing down the fence to get to her and Randall to celebrate the win was it. Yes it's fluff, but seeing her almost tear up while she talks about it is still awesome.
  • The CC starts! As always, I am only describing what I see. I am not on drugs.
  • A bunch of roller-bladers in paint-spattered coats enter the stadium and skate in formation. I'm sure there's some significance to the multi-colored blobs that are being projected onto the floor, but it really just looks like some rejected Google logos. The skaters finish by forming the Olympic rings.
  • The flag of South Korea enters, carried by pandas. Well, children with panda hats, anyway. Is the panda native to Korea? I thought that was China. Regardless, the panda children join Jang Sa-Ik to sing the Korean national anthem.
  • A 13-year-old guitarist comes on stage and begins to shred, while a bunch of dancers dressed in Tron uniforms proceed to flail about on the cauldron ramp. Then a giant circle of musicians playing traditional Korean string-instruments called gayageums starts to play as a smaller stage filled with a Korean rock band begins to play. I don't know if any of this has any meaning, but it sounds pretty cool.
  • Here come the countries' flags. They all form a circle in the middle of the arena, then the athletes come in as a big mass of people. As in the Opening Ceremonies, there are lots of flashing lights in all of the seats of the stadium, but it doesn't appear that there are any people. But all the athletes have to be waving at someone, right? It all just seems strangely sterile. Heh. It turns out I'm not the only person who thought that.
  • The Koreans enter the stadium to cheers, with the North and South team mixed together. If anyone from the North wants to make a break for it, now is the time! All they have to do is dump that jacket and run for the exit! Defect! Defect!
  • Thousands of athletes are now on the floor, and closeup after closeup shows them using their phones to take selfies and videos. Team USA, your goal for 2020 is to teach your athletes one thing: SHOOT VIDEOS IN LANDSCAPE!
  • Next, a thousand drones make a white tiger in the sky, which then morphs into a heart. A white tiger, says Johnny Weir, is considered lucky in Korea. So those were white tiger hats on those kids earlier, not pandas.
  • Now giant dandelions enter the stadium, followed by a 30-foot long glowing turtle. A giant circle of oompa-loompas surrounds the turtle, and as they do rhythmic dancing with ribbons, the turtle's shell breaks apart and its rainbow ghost passes through a flowery tunnel. It exits the flowery tunnel and disappears into the clouds in the sky.
  • The floor transforms into a giant digital clock. The glowing hands of time reveal a line of dancers who cast asymmetrical shadows on the floor. They dance into a grid-like formation which scatters as the floor pulses with dots. Then concentric circles appear to suck them all into a vortex. The dancers meet in the middle of the floor around what I believe is a giant Festivus pole. Are we going to air some grievances? I've got a lot of problems with you people!
  • Next, K-Pop star "CL." Team Rockwood child Sara sees her enter and asks, "Is she a good guy?" I guess that's the impression you make when you wear your Matrix outfit to the CC. CL wants to know where her bad girls are at? Then she gets the crowd to chant something in Korean. I'm sure whatever she's chanting was pre-screened, but you never know what you're saying when you do something in another language.
  • An eleven-year-old boy sings while traditional Korean guards lower and fold the Olympic flag. Now president Thomas Bach comes to the floor to take his last official payout. I'm sorry. President Thomas Bach comes to the floor to officially proclaim the end to the PyeongChang games and transfer the flag to the host of the next games, Beijing. Really? Beijing is hosting a winter games, now? Are they going to kick out a bunch of poor people and build a mountain? Well, I guess if you're looking for governmental graft, there's no better source than the commies.
  • So let's see what the Chinese have to offer. A glowing panda and the Dancers of Tron appear in a swirl of dots and humpback whales, because what says China or ice skating better than a humpback whale? A bunch of below-market-value Chinese HDTVs fill the arena floor, signifying how China dumped on the rest of the world to get the next games. The Tron dancers and the glowing pandas skate across the floor, trailing multi-colored lines behind them. On the TVs, a giant space station appears, because what says winter Olympics better than a space station? The pandas and Tron-nettes meet in the middle of the circle while colors swirl about them. Imagine if the star gate segment from "2001: A Space Odyssey" was an infomercial. That's what this whole presentation looks like.
  • Now the pandas fly off into a video to China, where hundreds of absolutely not-coerced people welcome you to Beijing for the next winter games. The pandas return to the stadium to show everyone the Beijing 2022 logo. It's not a giant mountain crushing the proles, so that's a good start.
  • Thomas Bach speaks. These games are the games of new horizons, he says. This sounds like something that would have been more relevant at the beginning of the Olympics. Maybe he mixed up his speeches in his briefcase full of under-the-table cash.
  • Straight from the subway system, a guy with a tambourine and a dancer busk for dollars on the arena floor. Then a bunch of four-wheelers bring in what I guess is a K-Pop boy band. The New Korean Kids on the Block pull off all their best N'Sync moves and bring in their dancing troupe. All the troupe members having glowing gloves, which is probably where Michael Jackson would have ended up had he lived this long.
  • The five kids from the OC are back, and they've brought their globes with them, along with an ambush of white tigers, and a giant present. What's inside? Another globe, but this time it's a 20-foot-tall snow globe. It sits in the center of the circular floor as it's surrounded by highlight images of the these Olympic games. Hundreds of hood-wearing children holding glowing orbs watch as video snowflakes rise from the floor and extinguish the Olympic flame. Now is the time for the Loc-Nar to arise.
  • The athletes hit the floor to dance as a Dutch DJ takes over the party. A Dutch DJ? This is Korea! How have we not seen Psy in this entire Olympics? Barring that, why isn't this the world's biggest karaoke party? PyeongChang missed a great opportunity here.
  • Fireworks explode. People dance. The orb controls all.
  • Mike Tirico ends our trip to Korea with his assemblage of politics insights and sports highlights. There's nothing special here, but he delivers it well and it's pleasant. That perfectly describes the hosting job he's done during these games. I look forward to seeing him in 2020.
  • And now, THIS is the end. The ending montage of highlights. Red Gerard. Ester Ledecka. Cheering people. Crying people. Pure joy. Crushing heartbreak. Listen to me. I'm writing the same kind of boilerplate stuff I just accused Mike Tirico of saying. Well, you know what? Sometimes that works, I guess. When you spend an entire Olympics like I do, enjoying the games but simultaneously looking for snarky stuff to say, sometimes you forget just how many amazing things happen in just 17 days. And then some editor puts together a highlight clip like this and you realize that, wow, we've really seen a lot of amazing things. Yes, it's five minutes of fluff. But man, it sure was cool, wasn't it?


1:33 0:42 0:15
Events Ads Fluff

The 2018 Olympic Watch Wrapup

Normally, I wait until the day after to do this. Except the day after turns into two days after... then three... then a week. This year I'm getting this done on time for once! So without further ado:

The 2018 Rockwood Olympic Watch Medal Ceremony

Team Rockwood has carefully tabulated scores from the entire PyeongChang Olympics and our results are:

Bronze Medal: Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic. Usually, Team Rockwood reserves these spots for Americans, but how can you not throw a little love toward someone who not only won a gold medal in the sport she is known for, but also won an unexpected gold in a sport she was ignored in. Have you ever won an Olympic gold medal when no one expected you to? I thought not.

Silver Medal: The US Women’s Hockey Team. It almost seems unfair to only give them silver when they finally got that Canadian monkey off their back after 20 years, but putting them in second isn’t a reflection on their achievement, but more an indication of how spectacular the gold medalists are. Had I said to you before these Olympics began that the US women would win gold in hockey, you would have replied, “Cool.” Had I said to you before that the US would win gold in both curling and cross-country skiing, you would have told me I was crazy.

Gold Medal: The US Men’s Curling Team. Because it’s both gold AND completely unexpected, and because they belted out the national anthem like nobody’s business when they won, they win again here. But wait! Much like multiple bobsled events this year, there is a tie! The US Women’s Relay Sprint team of Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall also won gold, and also was completely unexpected. And both the curlers and the skiers were thrilled beyond words. This is exactly what you hope to see in the Olympics.


70.1% 25.2% 4.6%
Events Ads Fluff


  Events Ads Fluff
2000 Sydney 62.7% 24.4% 12.9%
2002 Salt Lake I attended the Salt Lake Games, thus I didn't keep time for them.
2004 Athens 68.1% 23.5% 8.3%
2006 Turin 65.0% 27.0% 8.0%
2008 Beijing 70.8% 22.1% 7.1%
2010 Vancouver 68.2% 23.9% 7.9%
2012 London 66.8% 23.8% 9.4%
2018 PyeongChang 70.1% 25.2% 4.6%
It's hard to look at this chart over the years and think that this year is anything other than a great improvement. While the ad level has stayed pretty consistent over the years (as you would expect), the ratio of events to fluff has dramatically increased. In 2000, when the Rockwood Olympic Watch first appeared, there was nearly three times the amount of fluff as there was this year in PyeongChang. And of course, Team Rockwood attributes this improvement to our diligent efforts to keep you informed, so if you'd like to click on the ad links below and reward us for improving your Olympic viewing experience, we would be thankful.

So that's it! Once again we have made it through another Olympics together. I have to say, with the limited fluff and the live events, I thought this one turned out pretty well. I could have used a few more medals on the American side, but unless I'm willing to put in the hard work myself, there's only so much I can do about that. So journey across the Sea of Japan and meet me in Tokyo two years from now for the 2020 Summer Olympics. 안녕! (That's "goodbye" in Korean).