Friday, February 12, 2010
Going for BC Gold, Indoors
Nodar Kumaritashvili in a training run before his fatal crash
In his long piece at the beginning of NBC Sports coverage, Brian Williams showed the luge crash four times in slo-mo, but only in the shorter piece on Nightly News did we see it in real time, which was much more horrific. The question of whether the slide was too fast has been dealt with, but not by any means definitively.
These Olympics were already beginning under a cloud of indifference, now under the pall of tragedy.
The set-up piece, complete with melodramatic, over-written narration and faux-majestic music with choral crescendo. Dreadful. And no mention of the tragedy.
They're telling me the opening ceremony will be more "intimate" than Beijing. We'll see what that means.
Of course, NBC launches into a series of interviews with US athletes, looking awkward sitting in stadium seats with no competition voiceover.
Lindsey Vonn's jacket is festooned with logos: Sprint, Audi, Snyder Thinsulate, Red Bull on her cap. She's on Twitter and Facebook. She was interviewed at a fireplace and did speak about the tragedy. She sounded unsure about her leg, but grateful for the delays.
Dan Patrick asked the ice dance favorites whether they got on each other's nerves traveling together. I guess he learned that style on Sports Center.
This crazy AT&T ad showed snowboarders in outer space.
A matter of fact interview with matter of fact tennis commentator Mary Cirello on carrying the torch; a nice quiet Al Michaels interview with Apollo Ohno.
The countdown wasn't intimate. The orchestral video was just like the NBC setup. , A solitary boarder descends the mountain as an announcer recites the past winter Olympic venues until the boarder enters the hall and announces "Vancouver" himself.
The Governo General of Canada Michaelle Jean, a great beauty, is a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
A lovely 16 year-old on a very high dais sang the Canadian anthem, "O, Canada," intimately and in a red dress and sexy red shoes, in front of a phalanx of Royal Canadian Mounties.
I won't even mention the Indians, the aboriginals, and the phallic symbols. Maybe that's what they meant by intimate. One thing for sure, the US would never honor its original nations, 'cause we either killed them or put them on reservations. Canada's history is also checkered, but tonight's ceremony didn't get into that.
Without fail, Bob Costas uses the opening and closing ceremonies to prove he is the undisputed king of vapid commentary. Matt Lauer just read his notes and did matt Lauer-bland.
We're so used to these ceremonies, learning about the guy who formed the first Ethiopian ski team by himself and the Finn who set a world record for sitting in a 230 degree sauna. It's just the way they are: pageants.
Costas said Georgia would be more of a focus than it ordinarily would be. He really said that, in those words.
Where would these kids be without digital cameras?
Nelly Furtado's off-the-shoulder dress would be bad enough without her platform stilettos.
I loved Sarah Maclachlan, although "Ordinary Miracle' was hardly an original contribution.
The grand sound and light show with constellations and thousands of pounds of snow and virtual trees was very impressive but made me long for real snow. A fiddler in a cartoon-like-virtual canoe gave way to dancer on a bed of "light-leaves. Hokey.
Here was inserted a Toyota commercial.
The strain of this production to make up for the fact that it was taking place indoors when the Games take place either outdoors. The tattooed dancer was unbearable, though the crowd seemed to love him.
"Who has seen the wind?" was a tribute to the prairie with a flying boy on very visible wires to strains of Canadian Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now."
The Canadian Rockies came alive with the help of thousands of flashlights. Snowboraders on wires, again due to the lack of real snow.
Some guy with what looked like a fake beard gave a somewhat hyperbolic soliloquy on the meaning of Canada, as the commercials started to multiply, maaking NBC some money, which they'll need after this fiasco.
But the very smartly outfitted governor-general did a great job opening the games as did Canadian K.D. Lang rendering Canadian Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. In fact, she nearly redeemed the evening. Until the Audi and Home Depot commercials, that is.
I liked Bobby Orr and Anne Murray carrying the flag, both looking great.
The diva who sang the Olympic Hymn was on the highest stage I've ever seen. She did it justice, too. (Costas: "And that's a hymn for ya.")
The final moment of silence for the Georgian luger put the evening in chilling perspective.
The cauldron lighting didn't work right, leaving Wayne Gretzky (and Steve Nash) twiddling their thumbs for a bit.
That was it.
Bottom Line : No Snow.