What ever became of the Olympics? Remember those global athletic gatherings that brought amateurs together to compete in feats of strength, speed, endurance and agility? Apparently it has been overcome by marketing and mayhem.
If you were to watch television this past week you would have seen the lion's share of coverage devoted to entertainment rather than athletic competition. The slide has been going on for a couple of decades, but it appears to have culminated in Vancouver.
Ice dancing isn't athletics, is it? There is a skill and agility competition for two people on skates already. It is called "pairs." When you skip the complex jumps and spins in favor of exotic costumes, half-naked women looking like rejects from "Dancing With the Pigs" and mandatory music rather than background accompaniment for athletics, you've got Ice Capades or Disney on Ice entertainment. Fascinating, but not Olympics is it? And is it just me or does American champ Meryl Davis look like a Na'avi with a Micheal Jackson retone job?
Bobsled has always been a favorite for me but the need for an expensive custom venue and a $100,000 vehicle has always raised it a bit above what aspiring Olympians might work on at the local park. Now we've got the world's fastest track and the accidents are piling up in all of the sliding sports.
Is It Sport or Is It NASCAR
Kick off the Olympic games with a luge death and you can only imagine how that bumps up viewership for luge, skeleton (catchy name that,) and bobsled.
For two days we had the dramatic flying of ski-jumpers. There used to be a 70 and 90 meter hill but apparently the concepts need dumbing down for the mouth-breathing audience of Rio Lindo. Now it is the "normal" hill and the "large" hill. The large hill is bigger than normal I understand. Seeing men leap off the slide and fly through a six second descent of more than 200 feet then land without breaking every bone in their body is entertainment.
Hockey went pro a couple of years ago just as basketball did in the summer games. No one wants to watch amateur athletes compete when you can have professional thugs from the major teams on the ice. The thrill of the miracle on ice will never be repeated.
Extreme skiing has been in the games for two cycles now. Half-pipe and free-style events are entertainment not athletics. When Shaun White builds a half-million dollar facility to train then I've got to think that it is more about TV than sports.
Last night it was yet another example of entertainment over athletics when "ski cross" debuted. I couldn't help but think of tractor pulls and monster truck shows in the local rodeo ring when I saw the man made track and watched the four-somes play roller derby jammers down the hill.
Is there some merger between the Olympic Committee and WWE in the offing?