Will avoids COVID
That's What Xi Said

Sunday, February 20, 2022

These were a (censored) games.

What better way to wrap up Beijing's winter Olympics than by forgetting things that make the host country uncomfortable?   
  • It's over! And we're back at the Bird's Nest in Beijing for the Closing Ceremonies (CC). We're just two-and-a-half hours away from the official end of the Olympics and the official start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. What? Too soon?
  • But are the CC ready to start? Oh no. Not even close. First we're going to get some fluff. A lot of it, I'll bet. Get ready for K-Tel's "Olympics Greatest Hits." We start with a replay of Nathan Chen's gold-medal-winning free skate. Yep. He still won.
  • Mike Tirico brings Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir into the studio so we can spend even more time talking about the Kamila Variyeva situation. Tara says the whole situation was heartbreaking. No one has any solutions. They all reject age limits, but seem to agree that the adults around the teenagers would need to be more responsible. But how? No one knows. But some good news: Tara and Johnny will be co-hosting the CC. This should be interesting.
  • It's time for some Shaun White fluff. This is just a replay of fluff from earlier. We can't even get fresh fluff? Wait. He's in the studio with Mike, so that's new. Since he's retiring Mike asks the big question: was he going to do the triple cork? Shaun says he was, but he crashed. You can tell it still bothers him a little bit. That's the kind of attitude that gets you into five Olympics.
  • Back in the studio, Terry Gannon is with Tara and Johnny, who is dressed like… like… an angel with plaid pants? He's got a sparkly halo thing in his hair, white pants with black plaid stripes, and a jacket with shoulders so big they could fit Earl Campbell's shoulder pads.
  • We're finally at the CC. As usual, I'm not on drugs, so everything I describe is real, not a hallucination. Children holding snowflake lanterns dance around on the floor of the stadium underneath the lamest torch ever, which is barely even noticeable in the giant LED snowflake it's mounted in.
  • The corrupt leaders of the games, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and mass-murderer Xi Jinping, the president of China make their appearance. They both stand for the national anthem of China, and so does everyone else in the crowd, lest they be shot later.
  • The lantern kids jump into 12 giant ice skates and push each other around the floor of the arena. Then a giant computer-generated graphic that none of the stadium's crowd can see hovers over the floor. If the whole Closing Ceremonies is just an After Effects rendering, why do we even need a stadium?
  • All the athletes come in simultaneously. We're all one world! Except the Uyghurs, that is. They don't count in China. The stadium is full of LED-illuminated red Chinese lanterns under complete control from a central authority, just the way the CCP likes it. Enthusiastic volunteers welcome the athletes into the by jumping up and down and applauding. How do they have the energy to do this the entire time the athletes are parading in? Easy! They all know what happens to the first one to stop.
  • On the stadium floor, Jessie Diggins gets America's last medal of these games, a silver medal for cross-country skiing. She lost, of course, to a Norwegian, Therese Johaug, who sings along to her national anthem. Well done, Therese!
  • Action shots! It's just quickly-edited montage of athletes from the games. Pretty, but not much substance to it. Fluff!
  • A group of dancers comes out onto the floor, dancing slowly to some somber music. Have they been taking cues from the figure skaters? They form a circle and are slowly approached by couples carrying long bundles of green glowsticks. It symbolizes the return of spring, says Terry. I know I always look forward to the blooming of the glowsticks every March.
  • The flag of Greece is raised and the corrupt officials of the IOC, Beijing, and the next Olympic host city, Milan, all assemble on a giant snowboard in the middle of the stadium. A children's choir sings… what was it? The Olympic anthem, maybe. I don't recognize the song, so that's probably it. Thomas Bach looks on, wondering where he left his briefcase full of dirty cash. The Olympic flag is lowered and Beijing's mayor, Chen Jining, hands it to Thomas Bach, who waves it as a symbol of the transfer corrupt money, and he hands it over to the mayors of Cortina and Milan from Italy, the hosts of the next winter games. Fortunately, we can look forward to accountability in 2026, because no one in Italy has ever been corrupt.
  • Cortina and Milan roll out a giant globe onto the stadium floor. They must not have gotten the After Effects memo. Practical effects are out, Italians! We can do this all in post, now!
  • The Italy promo video plays. A camera swoops around Italian landmarks while some people run through the snow. Where are they running? To the mountain! To the city! Now they're on the floor in Beijing doing some modern dance. The man and the woman from the video dance toward each other. They're the balance of mankind and nature, says Tara. "Which one is nature?" asks Team Rockwood member Sara. I don't know. She thinks it's the girl because she was crawling around like how weeds spring up. That makes as much sense as any of this. They continue to dance on what is now a graphic of a snowcapped floor and they reveal a stylized '26. The next Olympics are officially promoted!
  • To Italy we go! Italian hockey players ride a gondola through Venice. The Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team leaves red, white, and green smoke trails over St. Marks Square. Everyone in Venice is so excited! Venice is 100 miles away from Cortina. Sounds like someone in the IOC wanted a fully-stocked bar in a Venice five-star hotel.
  • Thomas Bach addresses the crowd of lanterns and athletes. All of you athletes gathered in peace, he says. May political leaders do the same. Later, he will hoof it out of town quickly before China invades Taiwan. He says everyone around the world needs equal access to vaccines. He praises China as a winter games country, then proclaims the Beijing games closed. With that, he will walk off stage, take his briefcase full of cash, then never set foot in this country again.
  • And now the extinguishing of the Olympic flame. Are they going to get a small child to blow it out? That's all that tiny thing would take. Team Rockwood member Sara asks "Where is it?" It's right there in the middle of the screen, about three pixels tall. A small child takes a Dixie cup half-full of water and dumps it on the torch, putting it out. No, not really. They just turn off the gas and it unceremoniously snuffs itself. It's the same plan that the CCP is hoping works with Hong Kong.
  • Thousands of After Effects snowflakes rise out of the stadium. Real life fireworks spell out "One World" and "One Family." Then another set of fireworks goes off that says, "Except The Uyghurs."
  • Now on the floor, "Up With Chinese People" or something like that. There are thousands of performers jumping around and singing. But Andrea Joyce doesn't care about that. She's going to interview some US figure skaters. They're all a big family! Just like the fireworks said!
  • Mike Tirico wraps it all up. This whole speech is so schmaltzy. This is all fluff. Six minutes of it. I'm not even going to bother to describe it because it's so generic. Okay, I'll briefly summarize. China has done some questionable things, but we won't name them and won't discuss this any further. Instead we'll talk endlessly about this one figure skating scandal that criticizes the one country we can all agree to hate because they're not the ones giving us briefcases full of dirty money. Also, yay athletes! There. Stretch that out to six minutes and you get the gist of it.
  • More slow-motion action shots for the montage finale. This is where they used to run the credits identifying the thousands of people working the Olympics shows for NBC. I used to count that as events just because I thought all those people deserved some recognition. But now they just run the montage without credits so I'm just counting it as more fluff. Bring back the credits, NBC!

That's it for China. At least until the next time they come up with a plan and a bunch of cash. So maybe sooner than we think! Back to home


1:13 0:36 0:41
Events Ads Fluff

The 2022 Olympic Watch Wrapup

I've been doing this now for 22 years. Which year had the least fluff? Welcome to 2022! Yes, really! The record only lasted a year from the Tokyo games. The final tally:


72.4% 23.7% 3.9%
Events Ads Fluff

There has never been less fluff in NBC's Olympic broadcast than this year. Let's look back at Games from the past.

  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%
2021 Tokyo 67.7% 27.9% 4.3%
2022 Beijing 72.4% 23.7% 3.9%

What does this mean for the future of the Rockwood Olympic Watch? Has Team Rockwood been rendered useless by our own success? Who knows what the future brings! Let's not get ahead of ourselves. How about we just talk about medals instead?

Bronze Medal: It's a tie between Ryan Cochran-Siegle and Nick Baumgartner. Ryan won silver to get the first US medal in Super-G, a position so unexpected that NBC was forced against their will to cover it. Nick thought his career Olympic medal chances were gone on Thursday, only to come back on Friday to win gold. It was pretty amazing to watch his reaction.

Silver Medal: Has there ever been a more feel-good story for someone who only won a silver medal than David Wise? I don't think so. I'd even make him the gold medal winner except there's one person who I think finally earned it. And that person is...

Gold Medal: It's a long time coming, but it's Lindsey Jacobellis. If you remember, I faulted Lindsey for blowing the gold in 2006 by showing off instead of focusing on winning. Well, this year she finally put it all together and won twice. It's a well-deserved win. Congratulations, Lindsey!

And what about the bad medals? They all go to China! I don't think I need to reiterate now why. You've been reading. You know the score.  

So that's it! It's over! You can look for the Rockwood Olympic Watch in Paris! Maybe some enlightened sponsor will pony up some dough and send us there for live coverage, but I wouldn't bet on it. See you in 2024! Faster! Higher! Stronger! Thanks for reading!

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