Friday, August 08, 2008

Megan McArdle on Olympics Coverage

Megan McArdle has some comments on Olympics coverage, but with a silly title (perhaps she is being ironic). I have watched international sports events on TV in many countries, and the coverage in the US is simply not that different from that in those other countries.

In fact the 'homerism' seems to me worse in many other countries. (The UK and Germany are particularly appalling. Austria is mostly self-pitying in summer events.) I recall Canadian coverage (where I have seen most of them) that is as blithely indifferent to foreign athletes as the worst of US coverage, and for me one of the glories was in the UK in 1978, listening to the finish of a footrace, "and it is XXX (British athlete, named) in first, the Canadian in second, and ...". The Canadian lacked a name, as almost all foreigners' names are lost in the heat of the moment. I suppose I should have been thrilled the country was at least noted.

In the end, sports coverage at Olympics particularly is pathetically laced with stupid nationalism, and ignorant narrowness. Occasionally good broadcasters are used (Geoff Gowan in Canada for Track and Field was one great example) but this is truly rare.

In the end, Megan hits exactly what bugs me:

I do find American Olympics coverage annoying, because they spend too much time "humanizing" the athletes with sob stories. Call me insensitive, but I don't watch runners because their puppy died tragically when they were fourteen. I watch them because they can run fast, and that's beautiful.


At 9:35 PM, Blogger EclectEcon said...

If the IOC really cares about athleticism they will (1) ban all team sports, and (even if they don't do that)(2) ban all sanctioned media from providing country-by-country medal counts.


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