Summer Olympic Games Infomercial

I think this is the one image I will take away from the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. It really captures the focus of the China Olympics coverage.

I tried to avoid the opening and closing ceremonies (except for highlights) and as much of the human interest blather as possible. I did manage to catch a lot of Track and Field in between commercials. I’ve posted other observations about the Summer Olympic Games elsewhere on the Freeway.

NBC gave China a big, wet kiss with its coverage – does anyone know if Bob Costas ever alluded to the irony of having Chairman Mao looking over his shoulder whenever the network used the Forbidden City as backdrop to his commentary?

Summer Olympic Games

I’ve been paying next to no attention to the Summer Olympic Games because almost every time I click over to NBC, they’re in the middle of a human interest story, in a commercial break, or teasing you (like network and local television stations do) with “Coming up…” preview snippets that don’t come up until the end of the broadcast.
When I want to see something I’ve heard or read about, I Google it (like this AP photo of Roqama Al-Gassra of Bahrain celebrating her victory in an early heat of the Womens 200 Meter competition).

I did watch the women’s marathon on the big screen in high definition, and not only was the race exciting, but there were terrific ground and aerial views of Beijing as the 26-mile course unwound.

It was astonishing to see from the air (even through the haze and smog) how much work had been done to scrub and polish the city, and to wall off its less attractive areas. The government buildings and grand boulevards were truly spectacular.

But it was kind of spooky that there were so few people along the course cheering the runners on. Marathoners (as much or more than other athletes) are lifted up by the encouragement of the crowd, and that seemed to be missing.

I was disappointed (and a little surprised) by the lack of candor on the part of the NBC hosts with regard to the age of the some of girls on the Chinese gymnastic team, and the logic of some of the judges’ scoring. It was refreshing to see guest commentator Bela Karolyi show a little outrage (when he wasn’t being cut off).