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BG Falcon Media

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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Does U.S. care about Games?

Two o’clock p.m. on NBC. Somewhere in this fabled land, a skeleton sledder is hurtling down an ice chute at 80 mph with his chin two inches above the surface. The mere suggestion that someone might get decapitated in the name of athletic competition makes for good viewing, but what’s on the tube? Days of Our Children. All My Lives. All My Days Of Our Children of Our General Hospital Lives. Whatever.

Which seems to reflect the attitude of the host nation of the XIX Olympic Winter Games. We paraded our colors out Friday night. We got the entire 1980 U.S. hockey team to light the torch. We shoveled the pomp and circumstance as high as a Utah snow drift. Then, we fell asleep, got up Saturday morning, and poured over the comics at breakfast.

This isn’t the first week of the Olympics. It’s the first week of the football off-season. Most of our exposure to the Olympics is limited to snippets of ESPN’s Trey Wingo and NBC’s Bob Costas puttering on about the day’s events in wrap-up shows.

After Sept. 11, much of the world stood by us or at least voiced their support for us in our hour of need. It seems we are having a hard time repaying them in some small measure by being a courteous host for two weeks. By courteous, I don’t mean putting a mint on their pillow before bed every night. I mean actually paying sincere attention to them, even in sports like curling that Americans, on the whole, don’t care much about.

Incidentally, if you want to see things like curling and cross-country skiing, tune into the CBC station out of Windsor. Channel nine on local cable. If you want to have a good chance of seeing the Olympics outside of prime time at all, check the CBC.

That’s Canadian Broadcasting Company. As in not American. If you want a true flavor of these games as international competition and not just events that include American athletes, you have to go across the border to get back into this country.

It wouldn’t be such a problem if the games were in Norway or Japan and most events were taking place in the middle of the night local time. But these are right in our backyard.

The prevailing attitude seems to be to wake us up if Tonya Harding comes back and has her bodyguard injure another skater. If it isn’t dirt, or at least dirty girls in short skirts, Americans seem to yawn when it comes to Olympic competition.

These are athletes living their dreams. Maybe the action isn’t always fast-paced, but the Olympics are two straight weeks of the culmination of athletic careers. Every night, somebody reaches the pinnacle, or somebody falls just short. The line between elation and tears is very thin, no matter the sport.

Look at the small sports. For your own benefit as much as the benefit of the rest of the world. Hockey will come. Downhill skiing has started. If it’s team sports and Picabo Street you want, you’ll get them soon enough. If you want another Tonya Harding-type scandal with backstabbing and betrayal, you might want to check NBC at about 2 p.m.

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