Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Of course, I'm watching the Olympics...

I've been watching the Olympics a fair amount this week. although I have to admit that I like the Winter Games more than I enjoy the Summer Games.

Having said that, however, I will say that I enjoy watching diving. That's what's on as I write this, and I have to give NBC credit for showing the finals of the women's synchronized platform diving in prime time even though the US team did not qualify for the finals. I've always thought that US coverage of the Games focuses entirely too much on US athletes, leaning toward only showing, especially in prime time, events in which US athletes are believed to have a good chance to win medals.

I also enjoy watching gymnastics, although I don't have any interest in what they call rhythmic gymnastics (the women's routines that use ribbons and hoops and so forth as props). I like volleyball, too, mostly because I played volleyball on a church league when I was a senior in high school. It amazes me how different indoor volleyball is from beach volleyball, but I like watching both. Swimming is fun to watch, as well, although I'm not quite sure why I like it. You can't really see anything but flailing arms and splashing.

I have no use, however, for the track and field events. Running and jumping and flinging things just does not interest me. Well, the pole vault fascinates me in a sort of perverse way, because I just can't understand why anyone would do that. I certainly would never launch myself all those feet off the ground on what looks like an excessively flimsy fiberglass pole. I'm just surprised that those poles don't break more often.

Water polo doesn't do anything for me, either.

The sport I'd like to see more of is synchronized swimming. I know. It's a weird sport. And those nose-clips they wear make them look like they've all had the same unfortunate nose job. But I've always been clumsy in the water, and it fascinates me that those groups of swimmers can look so graceful doing what they do.

My favorite parts of the Games? The opening and closing ceremonies. I'm not going to contribute here to the criticism of NBC's coverage of the Opening Ceremonies this year (I did enough of that on Friday night, other places online, while I was watching), except to say that the commentary and editing nearly ruined the experience for me. I really, really want to see a recording of the BBC's coverage. I've heard that it was much superior.

I will say that what we got of the entertainment portion of the Opening Ceremonies in the US coverage impressed me and entertained me. I loved the Queen, Daniel Craig, and the corgis. That was fabulous, and I feel a great deal of affection for the Queen for agreeing to be a part of that. On the other hand, who could possibly turn down the chance to be a Bond Girl to Craig's 007? I certainly wouldn't. I loved the music that was chosen (and I did catch the sound of Doctor Who's TARDIS at the end the portion of the music segment featuring Queen). And, I loved seeing Paul McCartney performing "Hey, Jude". I was sorry to see so much criticism of his singing, since it was obvious to me that it was a result of his feeling the emotion of the moment. I've heard the emotion-choked voices of individuals trying to sing before, and that is exactly what that sounds like.

And the fireworks. The fireworks were spectacular, even on television. I don't usually enjoy watching fireworks on TV, but I enjoyed those.

The games have just begun, with almost two weeks of events left to go before the Closing Ceremonies on August 12. I'm hoping for exciting competition, no off-the-field drama (although there has already been one incident of some people throwing around accusations of doping, involving a Chinese swimmer), and a little better coverage from NBC than they've provided so far.

I will be watching.

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