When reality shows beat the oldest and most famous sporting event in the world in terms of television viewership, it may be time to reconsider whether all the hype surrounding the Olympics is even relevant.
That's right, folks. "American Idol," "Survivor" and "Dancing With the Stars" all get better ratings than the Olympic Games. Amateur singers, dancers and island natives are more interesting than "amateur" athletes.
The hissy fits of singing twins from Chicago are apparently better television than those of a speed skating gold medalist from the same Windy City.
The dance moves of World Wresting Entertainment star Stacy Keibler are more attractive than those of Canadian ice dancers. Hey, at least Keibler only gets thrown around inside a ring. In case you missed it — and by the ratings you probably did — the only highlight being talked about "in these Olympic games" — a phrase NBC host Bob Costas loves — is Canadian ice dancing pair Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon suffering a painful fall after Lauzon missed the hand of his unfortunate partner.
So what's the problem?
Well, it's a Grrr statement from the "little people" on the grandiosity of the games.
It sounds overly simplistic. Scholars would have us believe that the deteriorating interest in the Olympics has more to do with the end of the Cold War than it does with elitism. And they might have a point, because a wrestling match between the U.S. and Iran for a gold medal might generate some huge ratings.
But I can't help but think that the spectacle of the Olympics just comes across as too big overall.
Opening ceremonies are nothing more than advertisements for sporting apparel companies.
The percussions and the horns of the Olympics theme song don't send chills up our spines like they once did.
The lip mumbling of athletes trying to sing along to their national anthems on the gold medal stand aren't any more genuine than an Ashlee Simpson concert.
The bickering and feuding of teammates on the ice and on the slopes aren't any better than Terrell Owens versus the Philadelphia Eagles, and the syringes found in a raid on the Austrian team facilities are reminiscent of last summer's baseball steroids scandal.
In short, we've seen this all before and we're just over the Olympics.
I feel sorry for NBC. They spent hundreds of millions for the rights to broadcast the event, and several millions more to cover the games, and lately it seems they bought nothing more than a bag of goods.
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