The Spectacle Blog

Re: Olympic Agonies

By on 2.27.06 | 12:04AM

Jed, I sympathize with you totally, to such an extent that I watched next to nothing of the Turin Olympiad. Sports competition is that last thing TV is interested in. The problem goes back decades, to whenever the "Up Close and Personal" segments began. (I'm afraid Roone Arledge might share the blame.) Moreover, once the winter games were switched to off years, for purely commercial reasons, who in heckfire could have possibly cared about any of the proceedings? Which is why we now have snowboarding and Sports Illustrated covers honoring our leading snowboarders, even the goofy gal who threw her gold medal away by trying to hotdog at the finish. It's a weird new world out there for anyone over 30.

By the way, you could see TV's priorities in full exposure when Tiger Woods was eliminated Friday from the La Costa match play tournament. ABC filed for disaster relief from anticipated lost ratings. Real sportsmen love upsets, like to see new faces, admire unknowns who hang in there to take on the superstars. Not TV. It wants Tiger Woods to finish no worse than the top two every time. Otherwise it worries no one will watch. It simply has no faith in the market, the source of ever new reserves of fresh talent and future stars, chasing after the same moolah TV wants to horde for itself.

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