A curmudgeonly view of the Olympics

Am I the only person who didn’t see even one second of video or live broadcasting of the Olympics?

I don’t mean to sound overly curmudgeonly, but there are several things about the Olympics which annoy me.

(1) I know that theoretically the IOC is a non-profit organization and that funds are supposed to go “to the athletes” (whatever that means) but it sure seems to be pretty commercial to me. They make it hard to find streaming video and clamp down on anybody who would post anything to YouTube and just generally make it hard to watch – at least from my perspective. Same thing with sponsorships – all the athletes have to make sure they are wearing logos from all the right sports manufacturers.

(2) The whole torch relay thing gets to me. Have people forgotten this was originally devised for the 1936 Berlin Olympics? Every time I see that part of an Olympics ceremony I feel like I’m watching a Leni Riefenstahl extravaganza.

(3) The entry procession of country teams is nice, and interesting, but I really don’t see why they need a three hour opening and huge closing “show.” It seems so fake and unnecessary. I’d like to see the Olympics be more open to everybody to easily watch, concentrate more on making the events accessible, more “laid back” and concentrate less on the “spectacular” and commercial aspects.



A curmudgeonly view of the Olympics — 11 Comments

  1. I caught a little bit of it – I saw some women’s volleyball while standing in line at the Comcast store – but like you I can’t get very excited about the Olympics. I think the London event pulled in somewhere around $5.5 billion, and the IOC keeps 10%. I suspect that as with many successful “non-profit” organizations, the Olympics are a goldmine for the insiders. The athletes maybe get a medal and bragging rights.

  2. I didn’t deliberately turn on the TV to watch the Olympics. But I saw some of it by osmosis–in other words, by being in the same room with my husband, who was watching many of the events.

  3. I have this old 1988 CRT TV (with a digital tuner box I got when analog broadcasting stopped last year.) But I rarely turn it on. I tried checking a couple of times for streaming video on my Mac, but couldn’t find anything and it didn’t seem worth the trouble to even check the TV schedules. 🙂


  4. I saw a lot of the 2010 Winter Olympics in the waiting room of the University of Tokyo’s animal hospital, where I was taking a cat with a rare form of cancer. Fortunately, it was Figure Skating, which interests me somewhat. Watching a group of skiers vying for speed, for example, does not interest me at all. The cat died on January 25, this year.

  5. Sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. Pet losses are… incredibly depressing. I can’t believe how emotionally tied I had gotten to a tiny, 27 gram bird. He just had an amazing personality.

    The only Olympics I ever attended was the Nagano Olympics in 1988. It was spontaneous – I just got up one morning and called a friend and said, “Let’s go to the Olympics! We can probably get a ticket to some even from a scalper.”

    It was a fun day.

  6. Thanks for your condolences, and I send you mine, too. Red Baron was a particularly affectionate and good-natured cat, so we still miss him. But we had three others to care for, and a kitten that had taken up residence in our garden since late last year has since been elevated to housecat.
    I’ve never been to an Olympics, but I did translated the entire Press Kit for the media coming from overseas to cover the Nagano Winter Olympics, which was 1998–not 1988 (a typo, maybe?). What event/s did you see?

  7. Yes – a typo. Thanks.

    I ended up seeing women’s ice hockey, but I can’t remember which countries played or who won. It was just fun to attend an event.

    That’s amazing that you did the translation work for the press kit!

  8. I was given the Japanese manuscript on December 30 and was supposed to hand it back by the end of the New Year’s holiday. We usually went to my late mother-in-law’s house on January 2 but had to postpone that until the 3rd, by which time I had pretty much finished the translation.

  9. Sounds memorable! And apparently media reporting of the Olympics turned out to be fine!

  10. The Press kit was mainly to explain the significance of various parts of the opening ceremony, which included some local Nagano customs and Akebono doing the yokozuna dohyo-iri, as well as who designed the official garb for the Japanese athletes (Miki or Vera Ozawa, a former model and the half-Russian wife of the famous conductor Seiji O.). Presumbably the press covering the sporting events were already knowledgable about those things.

  11. It sounds like it was a good experience and memory. I don’t recall watching any of it on TV…

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