Needless to say, the Winter Olympics are not hugely popular in Brazil. The Brazilian delegation consisted of 5 athletes. The mayor of Rio as well as the head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee were also there to glad-hand and sign "information sharing" documents. Even though global warming can't be blamed for Brazil's lack of snow, Brazilian television stations are keen to start honing their coverage skills, and TV Record sent a team of 80 to Vancouver to cover the games.
The coverage is hugely different from that of NBC in the USA, primarily in the generalized absence of interruptions for long stretches as well as the lack of "up close and personal" coverage that makes Bob Costas such an intolerable sycophant. The biggest attraction for the TV Record producers was ice skating. Perhaps they are taking their coverage cues from NBC, but there seems to be something about the skating competitions (and non-competitions like the "gala") that glues people to the set. It is beautiful and takes dance to some crazy place, but personally, I'd rather watch an Olympic snowball fight.
The other sport that received coverage in an inverse proportion to its diffusion and cultural signficance was curling. Perhaps the slow pace appeals to the millions of doormen, security guards, waiters, and retirees in Rio. Brazilians must think that everyone in cold countries curls. The televisual reality is that there were some pretty good looking women bending into strange poses, which always makes for good tv.
As I was trying to tune into the USA v. Canada gold medal match, TV Record had a "Campeonato de Tunel" on for about an hour. The Tunnel Championship was structured like a knock out football tournament, except the contestants were dogs, dressed in the shirt of the preferred team of their owners, who were also dressed in the team shit, I mean shirt. If you can stomach it, check it out...way better than USA x Canada.
Now that the Vancouver Games are over, it's time for British Colombia to start cleaning up the mess and paying the bills for another IOC party. It's a shame that all of the human drama and accomplishment of Olympic sport come at such a tremendous cost to the host cities, their residents, and the urban and natural environments.
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