Monday, February 13, 2006

The Olympics are just annoying me

What has changed--the Olympics themselves, society at large, or just my perception? I used to really look forward to the Olympic games, but this time around they feel incredibly annoying, indulgent, and inconsequential. I have lost my patience for endless preliminary heats and broadcast delay tactics that stretch an event out over hours. If an event is taped, why can't they show in its entirety in 30 minutes rather than cutting it up into a million segments that are doled out like rare delicacies? Do they think we care that much about what they are providing? Memo to NBC: I am not even going to devote 3 hours of TiVO recording space to an event like this, much less 3 hours of actual viewing attention.

In this age of anxiety and war, the Games no longer feel like a fun diversion and inspirational example. More like an incredibly indulgent, manufactured media event. Spending years to become the best half-pipe skier or the world's fastest luge slider by 0.05 seconds seems like the biggest waste of time. I know this is pure personal opinion, and probably the first sign that I am becoming a cranky old woman, but it's how I feel.

I sensed a bit of desperation to be relevant last night in Bob Costas' and Jimmy Robert's passive-agressive "tribute" to Michelle Kwan. After praising her 9 U. S. champion titles and 5 World titles they just had to plant the invevitable seed that in the future she would be known as "One of the greatest skater of all time, but...." somehow a failure that the gold medal eluded her.

Of course this is what the Olympic commentators have to say. I have an alternate way to look at this: Michelle Kwan is the greatest skater of all time and her career just shows how irrelevant the Olympics have become. Tara Lipinsky and Sarah Hughes were talented skaters who had great couple of weeks. Their Olympic golds were flashes in the pan and we never heard from them again. Michelle Kwan endured for over a dozen years and evolved as an athlete and an artist. I hope that she holds her head high with grace and pride to discover her next act. Talk about a tranformational Mojo turning point: any 25-year old who has reached the pinnacle of her field but now must move on will face incredible challenges and opportunites in using her gifts and talents in a meaningful way. Missing out on her final chance to win gold is a disappointment, but the rest of her life stretches out ahead of her, and that's what she needs to focus on now.


Anonymous Lauren E. said...

While I don't get annoyed by the Olympics themselves, I agree with you about the commentators. I mean, you can almost just FEEL the HOPE that some skater is going to fall and they can talk about it for 15 minutes.
Michelle Kwan has so much to be proud of, it's too bad that she will always be portrayed by the media as having "failed" to get the gold. It's just further evidence that our society places too much emphasis on winning and having to achieve arbritrary standards of perfection. As a former teacher (now stay at home mom), I am constantly put in the position of having to teach my students to pass some sort of standardized test, a test which knows nothing of each childs unique talents and capabilities. It makes me sad to think of my twins growing up to go to school and be told that they have to fit into a mold or box.

8:20 AM  
Blogger angemez said...

I too felt negative about the Olympics particularly that we celebrate as heroes for our own country one individual who is best at something or the fastest, as though they did it for us. I am from Australia and we all watched as Kathy Freeman succeeded in achieiving Gold in our hosted Olympics. We were proud but at the end of the day. It's Kathy's life and she did it for...Kathy. I wish our Government spent as much on those who are not the best at something, the mentally ill, the infirmed and so on and so on. the Olympics was a euphoric experience as I never before had I felt such national pride mixed with international admiration. It was a great time!

8:15 AM  

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