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day permlink Wednesday, 25 August 2004

permlink Olympic coverage: so-so

Jesse Taylor of Pandagon, not happy with NBC: Pandagon: Morgan Hamm Van Den Hoogenband!
...We wonder why certain sports never take off in the U.S.? It's because the only time they're ever given any credibility as sports is when an American can win them. Cycling? I didn't even know the leader of the Tour de France got a yellow jersey until Lance Armstrong rode. Fencing? American won that, right? And you have to, like, touch the other person with the sword somewhere? Judo? Don't even bother.'s a lot more instructive about the actual biases of the media than all the bitching and whining that goes on between left and right talking heads. Holding onto narratives like a virtual lifeline, the estimation that all the viewers want to see is the things they're familiar with, the virtual blackout of any story that doesn't fit with that unless it's forced upon them by undeniable the Olympics if you want to understand why you don't feel informed by the news.
Most over-represented sport in prime-time coverage: BEACH VOLLEYBALL. Yes, it's a real sport, but it got more minutes than all the gymnastics events combined. Or so it seemed.

I agreed with Bob Costas (who's looking pretty bored most of the time) that it was really cool to have people throwing shotputs in the same spot that people did a couple of millennia ago.

Crazy idea: Now that they've built all this stuff, why not have the Games in Athens every time? permlink     5 comment(s)  
The reason is money. Every country wants the chance to jumpstart their economy with some olympic-sized tourist money. Add to this a chance to show off for the rest of the world, and you've got a feeding frenzy every time the Olympics choose a new host city. Why do you think China went apeshit in order to get the next games? They have an international PR image to improve. Hosting the Olympics is like throwing a kick-ass Halloween party for the whole world.
      ...posted by Leper Messiah on August 25, 2004 2:21 PM
But do the Olympics really make money for a city? I heard on NPR that the only one that has made money was 1984 in LA. Now, I'm not sure how they measured that, and I'm not sure how to measure the overall impact of an Olympics on a city's or country's economy, but if they all lose money, then are the leaders just fighting to put them on for the PR as you said, not to mention the exposure it gives those who are running them (Mitt Romney)?

I guess the same can be said for other big things, like the effect the DNC had on the Boston economy (hurt it).

One big upside to Steve's idea of keeping it in the same city every time is that all the stuff is now built, so you wouldn't need to build everything again, so you actually COULD earn money. (Maybe one reason not to have it in Athens though is that no one went- lots of empty seats in the stands, so maybe a different city would be better- NYC? Paris?)

It seems like many cities like to host the Olympics not just to bring in tourists and noteriety, but also to provide an excuse to build lots of cool stuff for their city. They keep talking about all of the infrastructure that Athen built for this, like public transportation systems. Maybe it takes the Olympics to get people behind the costs and debt this involves.

      ...posted by Chris on August 26, 2004 6:05 PM
As far as the Olympics themselves, I believe only one has made money (either LA or Atlanta, can't remember), but as for the businesses in the host cities (all of the hotels, tourist traps, restaurants, etc.), the Olympics is a windfall of epic proportions. A really good week in a good spot with the Olympics in town could double the income of a hot dog cart vendor.

The problems with keeping the Olympics in the same city are 1) who gets to choose which city? Bribe-prone officials? 2) What happens if that country becomes "unpopular" (Moscow in 1980)? 3) Who pays for upkeep on the facilities that the world uses? The permanent host? You think that the current bidding process is corrupt, just wait until it comes time to choose a permanent host.
      ...posted by Leper Messiah on August 26, 2004 11:00 PM
Okay, how about...

Have the Olympics in Athens every other time?

Beijing, Athens, Dublin, Athens...

Best of both options. Hah!
      ...posted by Steve on August 30, 2004 8:34 PM
Athens may not be a good pick, as Olympic officials actually wants people to attend the events...

      ...posted by Leper Messiah on August 31, 2004 6:32 AM
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