So, the Olympics are over.  Part of me is sad, and part is happy.  I’ve never been a highly competitive person, nor a really great athlete, but I like watching the best in the world give it their all and show us what they can do.  I like seeing people from different backgrounds and ideologies come together and compete as equals and sportsmen.  I like seeing humans come together for at least a short time and celebrate all we can do with our bodies and what makes us all common.

I dislike ceremonies.

Now, as I write this, the closing ceremonies have just finished.  This post won’t publish till Wednesday, so maybe things will change by then.  As it stands now, I can’t find any pics of the closing ceremony online.  Of course, considering how hard it is to pull up pics of other opening and closing ceremonies online, I might never be able to. [Editor’s note: found them!]

I only caught the last half of the opening ceremonies in Beijing for the 2008 Olympiad.  I will admit I really enjoyed Li Ning running the entire circumference of the arena with images of sport following behind him.  It was a very “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sort of image, and I think it worked well.

The fake minority parade, fake fireworks, and fake singer were a little annoying however.  Even stranger was the closing ceremony, which I can only describe as bizarre; guys wearing bike helmets and power ranger costumes hitting drums, women wearing sleigh bells all over their heads, people riding around in devices I can only describe as “Suessian” (there, I made up a word), and people flying with gigantic wheels of Gouda over it all.  Yes, I know they were supposed to be drums, but they looked like cheese.

I read around online and the immediate response in the press is that this was the most spectacular display ever in the history of the world (I may be exaggerating a bit).  If you honestly believe that, then ok; I won’t argue with people’s opinions because we’re all entitled to them.  My opinion was that it was a big waste of time and energy.  I would, however, like to think that the composer and choreographer at least had a sense of humor about it all:

Composer: “I just finished the closing ceremony music!  I call it ‘Westerners Will Think Anything Is Art!‘”

Choreographer: “Excellent!  It will work perfectly with the sequence I’ve titled ‘Get The Hell Out Of Our Country And Our Affairs‘.”

Before anyone starts thinking I’m biased at all against the Chinese, I’m not.  I live in Utah and was very excited to have the Olympics here in 2002; I was down at Washington Square when it was announced we were getting them, I hung out at the awards plaza nearly every night, I went to events, I told my boss to shove off and let me watch my old schoolmate take gold in skeleton.  I went Olympic-crazy when they were here, just like everyone else.

Despite all my enthusiasm for the games themselves, though, I had a hard time watching Satan and the KKK chase a poor Mormon boy in our own opening ceremonies.  I skipped the closing ceremonies entirely.  I heard KISS performed.   Ooooh.

  • zohner

    I hate the ceremony that surrounds events like the Olympics.  It’s a bunch of staged crap that I couldn’t care less about.  I say forgo the opening and closing ceremonies and just let us watch Americans win gold medals.  What’s going to get somebody excited about the Olympics more: Michael Phelps winning eight gold medals or some parade with people carrying flags? 

  • I believe the age of Video On Demand will evolve enough by the time of the next Olympics that we will be able to watch which ever ones we WANT to watch, when we want to watch it. With TiVo and HTPC and PVRs to the level they are at already, it will just be up to the networks to manage to provide streams of ALL the events for us to choose which ones to record.

    As for the ceremonies, they wouldn’t be so bad if they had more to do with actual sport. Like I said, the runner carrying the torch with the images of past olympic greatness behind him was very cool.

  • I was stoked to see some water polo this year.  The On Demand service that Comcast had sucked when it came to the coverage (only a few highlights instead of full water polo games).  

    I was getting a little tired of some of the items they kept sticking in prime-time.