Friday, July 27, 2012

Curmudgeon can't get too worked up about the Olympics

Sorry, NBC. It's the television coverage I can't stand.

Every footrace, every lap around the pool, every tumble on the mat is so freighted down with treacly "up close and personal" profiles of this athlete I've never heard of or that athlete I've never heard of, that by the time they actually show a race or a routine I'm generally in a diabetic coma.

I even understand why the networks lather on all this schmaltz (ABC used to do it, too; I remember): Track meets take forever. There's a lot of waiting around while the next race gets set up. Then there's a minute of action, or six minutes or whatever, during the actual race... and we all start waiting around again.

Fact is, in some events, we'd be bored before the track clears. People can be interested in who finishes first and second -- but no one really cares about the guy who comes in last. And they still have to wait until he's done before they can even start lining up for the next event.

And if they just taped the actual events and ran them one after another, what would they do in the second hour of coverage?

My less-than-enthusiastic attitude is really not sour grapes.

I don't think I was ever more than lukewarm about the idea of the Olympics coming to Chicago in 2016 (as I said in the linked October 2009 post, on the day the next Olympics were awarded to Rio instead of Chicago).

Even if the games had been awarded to Chicago, I'd still not be interested in the events. The IOC cut baseball as a sport. That's too bad; I'd probably have watched baseball games. But I'm really not interested in track and field. I can't swim. I feel like a dirty old man watching the women's gymnastics. And basketball? I don't much care for the NBA and I'd probably root against the multimillionaires on the American team.

But if Chicago had been awarded the games for 2016 I would be more interested in the logistics of the London Olympiad.

At left is the first logo we had here when Daley II decided to try for the 2016 Olympic Games.  It was a pretty neat logo -- the flame the torch resembled -- maybe evoked is a better term -- our distinctive skyline.

But, it turns out, using a torch-shaped logo was a bad idea.

The IOC thought that was a trademark violation or something.

So we were obliged to come up with a different logo, like the one below and to the right.

The six-pointed star is shaped like one of the four stars in the Chicago flag.  The Olympics, had they come to Chicago, would have been accorded a fifth star.

And the gravy train would have been running full-tilt throttle.  Imagine the boodle bags that would have been filled, the shady deals that would have been consummated.  To a life-long Chicago, the real sport would have been to watch the well-connected racing to find new ways to profit from the games.

The U.S. Attorney's office here would have had to add on a third shift just to keep up with all the indictments.

But that's not logistics.  I'd be interested in where would all the visitors be housed?  The City of Chicago had a plan for the Olympic Village.  But even our abundant stock of hotel rooms would be insufficient to house the athletes' friends and families, the world press, the fans, and all the other hangers-on that the Olympics might have attracted.

Could we have hoped to get to and from work with the Olympics in town?  Would there be any business to be done, other than restaurants and retail?  What additional security arrangements would have to be made?  (Some of the Olympic venues were planned for areas that are -- today -- shooting galleries for gangbangers.)

If Chicago had been awarded the Olympics, I might be watching the London games, trying to see if I could pick up clues or hints or tips for surviving the onslaught four years' hence.  But I still wouldn't be interested in the events.

But, for better or for worse, the next Olympics will be Rio's problem, not Chicago's.  So I've no incentive to watch these Olympics at all.  But I hope things go well for London residents.

Will you be watching the Olympics?  Why?


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

me??? watch sports??? ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

i did like the queen's hat though. i think that was the only thing that interested me in the opening ceremony.

smiles, bee

Anonymous said...

No. I tried and can't get interested. I'm sick already of seeing 40,000 (and counting) interviews with Michael Phelps. For hours last night was mens gymnastics and man that is just not my thing to watch at all so I am done with all of it.