August 14, 2008

Who Are You Calling Homer?

They say that all news is local (don't they?)

Americans have complained for decades, at least, about the Olympics on television. The most common gripe is: What about the athletes from other countries? I'm here to tell you it ain't as bad as you think. At least NBC occasionally shows athletes from other countries in events that are big. At least as far as I remember.

You get to see the gymnastics, even if the Americans aren't doing well. You get track and swimming. All the "big" sports -- and I'll bet NBC even does a feature on the smaller, odder sports like Greco-Roman wrestling, fencing and archery.

But the prevailing attitude is: Wouldn't it be great to get another country's Olympics feed? Well, no. Rumors on the web abound that CBC, the Canadian network, shows fair, all-encompassing coverage. I kind of doubt that.

In France, one could be watching an exciting basketball game only to have the state-run television network cut to judo, because hey, there's a Frenchman competing. Or worse, team handball. Have you ever tried to watch team handball?

In China it's the same thing. In our hotel room, where we have China Central Television -- all 30 channels of state-run programming -- they show the Olympics on four or five channels at night and it's all-Chinese all the time. Sure hope you like weightlifting. And shooting. And if it's team sports you're interested in, you'll get to see whatever event China is in. Big soccer game between, say, Argentina and Brazil? Sorry, you're out of luck.

But we did get to see China and the Dominican Republic in ping pong.

I'm so excited!

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