Watching The Olympics? Drink Lots Of Coffee.
Well, the 2018 Olympic Games are in their final week in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
They have everything you want in the winter games: cold, wind and snow.
Only thing missing? Magic.
You know, that indescribable quality that makes viewers rush home to tune in night after night to watch super-human athletes in action. Performances so breathtaking we’ll still be talking about them half a century from now. Personal stories so compelling that we find ourselves cheering for athletes from countries we detest. (Olga Korbut ring a bell? Sure, she competed in the summer games in 1972, but who wasn’t cheering for the tiny Soviet gymnast with the impish smile?)
Shoot, in 10 years we’ll struggle to remember a single name from 2018. Except Shaun White.
Where are this year’s Dorothy Hamills, Katarina Witts or Apolo Ohnos?
AWOL, if TV ratings are any indicator.
On Monday, “Variety” politely noted that the weekend TV ratings indicated “signs of fatigue” with the games. Many Americans who tuned in for the first weekend tuned out seven days later.
So it’s not just me yawning my way through the Olympics.
“Most Boring Winter Olympics Ever,” declared a Forbes headline Monday on a story that blamed NBC and its amateurish coverage for the viewing public’s lack of interest.
Gotta go with that.
Not only is the network running commercials every few minutes, but the announcers don’t always think before they speak.
Katie Couric - who apparently prepped for the games by reading the 1865 novel "Hans Brinker" - engaged in a flight of fancy, telling viewers that the reason the Dutch were so good at speed skating was because many people in the Netherlands commute on skates and race each other along the way.
To that, thousands of Dutch men and women stomped their wooden shoes and pointed out that they drive cars like everyone else.
Also during Week One, NBC announcer Cooper Ramo was yanked off the air after he foolishly declared that even though Japan had occupied Korea for many years “Every Korean will tell you that Japan, as a cultural and technological and economic example, has been so important to their transformation.”
EVERY Korean? Very few Koreans, as it turned out.
And on Saturday, as I was watching the women’s skeleton, the commentators kept talking about a British athlete who was the oldest ever to compete in the event.
BUT THEY NEVER GAVE HER AGE.
Not while I was watching, anyway.
“How old is she?” I was screaming at the screen when they broke for yet another commercial.
Not all Olympics give us unforgettable athletes like Jean-Claude Killy (yes, I’m old enough that I had a crush on the French Alpine skier in 1968), figure skater Peggy Fleming or the 1984 ice dancing duo of Torvill and Dean. Not every Olympics inspire movies as the “Miracle on Ice” hockey team did after the feisty American kids beat the stunned Soviets and then snatched the gold from Finland at Lake Placid in 1980.
But these 2018 competitors have trained their tails off to get to South Korea. Surely with a little work, NBC could find a story or two to capture our hearts. And our attention.
Instead, the network continues to shoot the games with the boring gun. And many of us are earning medals in sofa snoozing and channel changing.