2010 Olympic Winter Games: Thank God for TiVO

Who doesn’t watch the Olympics?

I’m discovering that quite a few people don’t watch the Olympics.  I even met one person who almost seems like she had never heard of it until I mentioned it.  I said, “I cannot miss the Opening Ceremony.”  She said, “What’s that?” 


She just stared at me blankly.  For a second, I thought she was an alien from another planet, but then she said she didn’t really watch them as a kid.  Slightly mollified, I allowed her statement to pass.  I do notice, however, that the Olympics do not seem as popular as they were when I was a kid.  When I was younger, my sister and I always watched the Olympics.  My sister prefers the summer games because she likes the track and field events, and I enjoy the winter games because I like figure skating.  Regardless, we did watch both so we could learn about these random sports and people from other cultures.  As kids we laughed a foreigners’ funny names and made fun of their flags, but we learned some things like the flag of Nepal is the only flag that is not shaped like a square.  By the time the games were over, we could pinpoint the general location of any country on a map and maybe tell you the capital city.  We learned something, and it wasn’t in school!

Even though I do not enjoy sports, I find the games to be entertaining.  I get swept up in the moment when someone is going for the gold.  Then I get hallucinations, pretending that I am an Olympic contender.  One year, after watching the games I decided that I was going to be a ski jumper (even though I don’t know how to ski and women can’t ski jump anyway).  Then I was going to be high jumper, after which I would compete in the biathlon and finally win the gold in figure skating the day after I run an Olympic marathon.  Yes, quite the accomplished Olympian.

These days, people have much more choice of programming.  When I was young, there wasn’t really a whole lot else going on.  I lived overseas and we only had one TV channel, so it was like watch Olympics or be bored to death.  Even when we moved back to the States, when the Olympics were on, it seemed like there wasn’t anything else to watch.  Now, I have this cable package with 2,145 channels, so I don’t have to watch if I don’t want, but I want to!

I do have to say I’m glad that Jesus invented TiVo though or I’d be forced to watch HOURS of commercials and commentary.  What is up with that?  I know the network has to make money or whatever and the adverts are helping to pay for the expense of broadcasting the Games, but seriously, did I really sit and watch all these damn commercials when I was a kid?  I guess so.  And the useless interviews.  Seriously, if I never see Bob Costas again it’ll be too soon.

The other night I was watching the mens’ figure skating competition and–no, wait, I need to interrupt my complaint so I can complain about something else.  Can NBC please stop interrupting the figure skating competitions?  How come this is one of the few sports that isn’t being played all the way through?  Can I get 20 minutes of uninterrupted skating, please?  I was watching the pairs competition and they would show one couple’s routine, go to commercial, come back and it would be skiiing or some crap, and then go to commercial, come back, more skiing, go back to commercial and then back to the figure skating to show me one couple and then back to skiing.  ALL NIGHT LONG.  I never got to see back to back skating.  If I didn’t have TiVO I would have had to watch all that damn snowboarding.  It was snowboarding, not skiing, I remember now.

Anyway, the mens’ figure skating competition, I was complaining about that.  So they’re going back and forth between skating and some other sport, punctuated by lengthy commercial breaks and then they interrupt skating so they could interview Dick Button.  Seriously?  He skated back in the 50s, and, yes, he’s the only male to win back to back gold in skating, but interviewing him so he can prattle on about how he hates the new scoring system was really annoying.  I didn’t need his analysis on whether he thought Evan Lysacek had what it took to beat Yvegeny Plushenko (hope I spelt your name right, buddy).  NBC is going overboard with the endless interviews.  Yes, interviewing the athletes every now and again adds to the excitement, but some crotchety old man who is basically irrelevant does nothing but make me glad for TiVo.

Random tidbit:  The other day I recorded four hours of Primetime Olympic coverage.  This equates to approximately 75 minutes, or an hour and 15 minutes of actual sports-watching.  The rest is either interviews, back stories or commercials.  I know this to be true because I got on my treadmill at the very start of the 4 hour coverage and I fast-forwarded through all commercials, interviews, other useless crap and only watched the sporting events (skiing, luge, figure skating and something else).  When the four hour coverage ended, I looked at my treadmill and saw that I had walked approximately 75 minutes.  What’s up with that, NBC?

I just read an article on MSNBC.com about how people are watching the Games this year.  Are they watching live, TiVo (DVR) or not at all.  Some people said they weren’t watching at all because they’re not intersted.  Most people said they were watching via DVR because they wanted to get through all the bullshit and just watch the sports.  I would quite agree with that, and not only that:  I’m able to watch even MORE Olympics than ever because of TiVo.  Of course, figure skating is my sport and I’ve watched every single moment available, but I’m also watching most of the skiing events (moguls is my favourite), speed skating, bob sleigh, and luge.  The only thing I’m not really into is the snowboarding.  Let’s face it, Primetime coverage is like 4 hours long, and then there’s all the late night stuff that can go on for hours.  Forget about it if you’re a hockey fan (which I am not), but who has the time to sit through ALL OF THAT without missing a moment?  You HAVE to TiVo it.

How else would I be able to enjoy the bizarre sport of CURLING!  It comes on in the middle of the day when I’m at work and late at night when I’m asleep.  I discovered this little gem of a sport during the Torino Games.  I had no idea what was going on then and I still have no idea what is going on now, but I am utterly fascinated by this sport that involves people sweeping the ice around a 45 pound round rock.  I think I want to be a curler when I grow up.  But only after I win the ice dancing championship, the 4X400 relay and the team dressage.


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