2008 Olympics: The good, the bad and the fugly.

I've been watching the Summer Olympics pretty much every chance I get. I even stayed up until 5:00 am last night watching Nigeria stomp the pants off of Belgium in men's football (soccer). A lot of what I see is truly great, but almost as much of it isn't, mostly due to NBC's bizarro coverage. Here's a rundown of what I like, what I don't and what I abhor.

The good: Individual badminton. Who knew this game was so exciting?! It's not like the badminton you played at your family reunion while sipping on artificial ice tea. This is some serious shit, with these guys and gals hitting the shuttlecock at almost 200 MPH.

The bad: CNBC's boxing coverage. It seems like it's on constantly. I don't think they've shown any other Olympic sport. If I liked boxing, I'd love that, but I don't.

The fugly: MSNBC's Olympic Update hosted by Tiki Barber and Jenna Wolfe. The main problem I have with this show is that they don't really give you an update. I can see Jenna sitting there just waiting to make a snarky comment. If I wanted snark, I'd watch reruns of Dennis Miller. A google search for the show brings you straight to a MSNBC bulletin board bemoaning how terrible they are.

The good: You know, all that human spirit stuff. These athletes try so ridiculously hard. They've been training for this for four years and they're giving it their all out there in front of tens of thousands of people (plus millions watching on TV). To see them succeed is truly amazing. A personal favorite moment was when American middle-distance runner Shalane Flanagan took Bronze in Women's 10K. Her mom was in the stands cheering her on as she pulled around a runner into third. After she crossed the finish line, she held up three fingers inquisitively. When she realized she'd placed, she broke down into tears.

The bad: Marcelo Balboa's love of the "good foul." The commentary for the Olympic football coverage is actually quite good. JP Dellacamera and Marcelo Balboa both know their stuff and talk to each other pretty well. The main problem I have is with Balboa often talking about "good fouls." I understand that fouling to stop players from making a breakaway is a part of the game now, but I personally feel that it truly undermines the spirit of the game. It's a good thing it's on in the middle of the night because I can imagine kids in youth leagues asking coach about "good fouls" after hearing about it on TV.

The fugly: The hyperbolic grandeur. These athletes are truly amazing and are putting everything they have in their competition, but let's face it, they're not flying to Mars with the power of their farts or shooting rockets out of their crotches. They're doing things that humans can do; they're just doing it better than most everyone else. So enough of phrases like "the greatest BLANK ever." And don't say it will be argued over forever. That's a long time, and I've already forgotten what you're talking about.

The good: NBC's online live coverage. Watch any event live from your computer, and without annoying broadcasters!

The bad: Bob Costas. He just feels over the hill. He keeps cracking jokes that aren't funny, falling over his own words and acting like that awkward unfunny uncle who shows up at birthday parties. You know you've got to talk to him at some point, but you don't want to because you're sure he's going to bring up his timeshare at some point.

The fugly: China's human rights record. Tabet, Taiwan, Sudan, Falun Gong? You can't distract us with fireworks forever, China!

2 comment(s).:

August 20, 2008 at 4:08 AM Jefferysan said...

"MSNBC's Olympic Update" is the television equivalent of a meeting without an agenda.

"Who called this meeting?"

"I thought you did."

I feel bad for Tiki being sandwiched between two crazy women. Note to MSNBC: try using a script...or rehearsals.

August 20, 2008 at 11:11 AM MPU said...

I get my special Olympics news from The Daily Show.

Good points all.

Let the record show, I didn't teach good fouls. Understandable fouls, okay. But not good fouls.