Tuesday, 14 August 2012

I wasn't too surprised that the Belarussian Shot Putter was stripped of the Gold Medal for doping. When I turned on the recording and watched the putt being thrown in the air I was seriously questioning the accuracy of the commentator in regards to whether I was watching the men's or the women's event. It was only when I saw the next contestant step up that I realised the commentator was right and I was wrong. It wasn't the haircut, or the face that threw me, it was the build. I really thought she just looked like a big burly man. So when it turned out that she failed a drugs test it wasn't a surprise in the least.

Finding out that the winner of the long distance walk from Beijing couldn't defend his Gold medal because of a failed drug test now that is just ridiculous, almost pathetic. I know its an endurance sport, but come on what happened to good old fashioned practice?

Watched For Two Weeks And Missed Out

First of all I was pleasantly surprised at how good a job London did at hosting the Olympic games. I have to admit my expectations were not high.

Looking back I previously thought London was a strange choice for hosting the Games when you consider that London had already hosted the Games twice previously.

I also felt a tinge of pity for the city of Manchester considering they had tried and failed in two bids to host the two previous games. However with hindsight I do think that London was the perfect city in the UK to host the games, for one reason and one reason only, London has no qualms about spending money. Whereas in other areas of the UK, and Scotland in particular we are very apologetic about it, almost to the point that our ambition is hampered by it. London though will hear the arguments against spending money on this aspect, or that, and will go ahead and do it anyway.

Anyway enough about London, the Olympics is not about cities, its about individual stories. Its about stories, of attrition, of triumph, of overcoming the odds. Sadly TV producers here seem to miss this point. American tv coverage is boring. The vast majority of the time you sit in front of the box you get the opportunity to watch America winning. You don't even get top to see a proper introduction of every competitor competing in the race or sport. You get to see the Americans, and the expected favourites challenging for the medals, but sometimes the stories of players, supposedly just making up the numbers can be just as interesting. The Olympics isn't just about a few amazingly talented Americans, its about the world, its about every competitor, good or bad, giving it their all.

Luckily I was exposed to the BBC coverage in Olympics past. So I've seen plenty of Brits win medals. But whilst those Brits were winning or losing I would also see other unbiased coverage. I've watched as Africans have ran, and won barefoot. I've saw American gymnastic girls celebrate as they win gold when one member of the team has a perfect landing whilst breaking ligaments. I've seen so many amazing stories of Olympians in the past, not every one of them winners, that feed my hunger for watching ever four years.

Now I realise the BBC have an advantage over NBC in that they don't have to supply time for adverts in order to pay for the Olympic coverage. That does allow more time to show other competitors competing and their stories too. However I do think NBC have opportunities in their schedule to be a little more world focused.

I like beach volleyball, but I have no interest in watching USA 1 play USA 2. I know in such a game USA won before a ball is hit.  I would much rather have Ryan Seacrest do a short piece on lone female Afghan representive. The story of Tahmina Kohistani even making the games which a few years ago would be unthinkable under the Taliban is remarkable. Its even a story that should interest Americans. It brings home a good news story regarding the war in Afghanistan and terror. Here is a woman competing for her country when before she wouldn't have been allowed to have a proper education. Just in case people why people in middle America might be interested in such a piece it could be highlighted in the story that American men and women have given their lives and allowed this opportunity to occur. A short story on Tahmini might have then brought the coverage of the volleyball to a conclusion. Instead I had to read about it online.

The story behind the Olympians is more interesting to me than Phelps winning against people he was expected to beat.