Fans cheer during the women's singles luge competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Bulldog: Olympic Impressions
The following is not a detailed examination and is not meant to mock the Winter Olympics. I love the Winter Olympics. It is simply a sampling of the impressions I gathered after watching the first weekend of coverage from Sochi.
If you were with us for our Olympic Draft on Friday you may already know this. There aren't that many events in the Winter Olympics. There are even fewer that make the cut as being important enough to American audiences for NBC to actually put them on television. This showed up over the course of Saturday and Sunday.
There is a lot of figure skating. More than ever with the team competition new this year. I'm not entirely down on the figure skating but the way things shook out for me this weekend any time I spent more than twenty minutes watching the coverage it seemed I ended up with figure skating. I can't tell you how many actual hours NBC and its family of networks spent with figure skating. I didn't take notes. It was the weekend after all and I work hard enough Monday through Friday. My guess would be something in the neighborhood of eleventy billion hours were spent on figure skating over the course of the weekend. A few different times my sons left the room muttering for me to let them know when the people with the guns started skiing again.
This was capped early on Sunday evening when one of the experts, sorry no notes so I'm not sure who it was, told us that the final result was pretty much determined already and only a skater taking a header into the judges table could change it.
So you know, DRAMA!
I also may have been guilty of watching too much of the coverage at different times of the day. This resulted in some unfortunate repeats. The way things shook out Saturday I was watching early in the morning and saw some men's downhill practice runs and some speed skating. Following swimming class and hockey practice I was back in my chair for the afternoon coverage which provided me with, wait for it, the same men's downhill practice runs and some speed skating.
I took a nap at this point.
I think this pattern repeated itself on Sunday, nap and all.
The guys doing the Biathlon woke me up. They were fired up big time and it wasn't just histrionics. These guys were armed with more info on these competitors than you could shoot a rifle at. I may have even remembered some of it had I thought it would ever prove to be useful to me ever again. But in the moment, I had to hand it to them. They were on the job and crushing it.
Here are a few other observations. I was kind of bummed that Bode Miller didn't perform better in the men's downhill. I was even more bummed that I found out on Twitter at 7:30 am that he finished 6th. Poorly played by me and I'll have to be better moving forward.
That said, downhill skiing is insane and the images it provides mesmerize me every time.
Snowboarding slope style is only slightly less insane.
I don't remember cross country skiers collapsing around the finish line as often in past Olympics. It seems this course is more challenging due to altitude. Still, maybe get a bench or two out there somewhere.
Speed skating is on my list of things I'd like to see in person at some point in my life. I bet the, well, speed is breathtaking in person. I would also bet that wanting to see it means I may have to plan on getting to the Winter Olympics at some point. When is Toronto going to host one of these things? Come on Toronto, step your game up!
Women's hockey could really use another good team. I got up and turned on the game Monday morning between the USA and Switzerland and it was 7-0 early in the 3rd period. Eventually Canada and the US will play and that will be awesome but the rest of the tournament is pretty uneventful.
Fun time so far and obviously much more to come. That includes the men's hockey tournament and hopefully Ryan Miller in goal for Team USA.
As I finish this Al Michaels is telling me about some luge coverage coming up and I realize I've yet to see any luge, bobsleigh, or even skeleton yet. I love these events. A track, a sled and a clock. Can't wait to see them.