Can you sense the Olympic anticipation building? NBC is set to launch unprecedented coverage of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. With China as the backdrop, we should be in for unparalleled stories. Deep breath, cough cough, exhale.
As the festivities commence on 08-08-08, you will be subjected to heart-tugging stories and reminders of the human spirit. On the flipside, we will be inundated with failure, dejection and cheating. The Olympic experience is what you make of it.
Here are a few highlights and lowlights I'm especially giddy about.
Can Team USA regain dominance in men's basketball? By all accounts this team was constructed properly. The right players with the right attitudes are ballin'.
It is a lose-lose proposition for the group. A landslide victory will be expected. A loss would go down as a failure of epic proportions. I can't wait. Who's with me?
Doping hovers over this Olympics like a Beijing pollution fog. There are more needle pokes in track and field than orange cones in downtown Tulsa. Once seen as the center piece of the Summer Games, the sport has taken a backseat stateside.
Human growth hormones and steroids overtook the competitive balance. We may be a decade away from having the IOC regulate the usage of performance enhancing drugs. If you can't beat the cheats, join them.
Archery is about the beauty of the arrow. Just kidding. No one cares.
I was just making sure you were paying attention.
Am I the only one intrigued by beach volleyball? How exactly is it an Olympic sport? Don't get me wrong, there is something erotic about it. Let's move along quickly before I say something sexist.
Is gymnastics the final frontier for amateur sports? These little people can't possibly dope-up to improving flipping, balance and showmanship can they?
Defending gold-medalist Paul Hamm withdrew from the Olympic competition last week. Wimp. His loss is the University of Oklahoma standout Jonathan Horton's chance to shine. Can he be the "Wheaties" athlete at end game?
Swimming is cool. Who isn't interested in watching Michael Phelps attempt to break every world record while not celebrating and drunk driving around Beijing a stupor? Oh yeah.
Soccer. Pfft. Table tennis is the action sport. The Chinese dominate this event. Terrible movies aside, (Balls of Fury anyone?) ping pong makes for five to ten solid minutes of TV gazing. Forget watching the players, watch the crowd's neck rotation.
Now for my final two. Weightlifting and wrestling.
I'm reminded of the SNL skit years ago where the weightlifter's arms dislodge from his torso during a heavy lift and blood spews like a faucet. Here is one sure-fire bet: A weightlifter will test positive for doping. If not, the drug testing is bogus and you can write my column for a week.
Wrestling in the Olympics is boring. No flying elbows or figure-four leg locks. Whoo! Just two dudes holding each other behind the back of the neck making a slapping motion with the other hand. Yawn.
Here is what I don't get. What exactly can you do after the Olympics in these two sports? What's the next career move? WWE heel?
Let's dump weightlifting and wrestling and add some watchable events into the mix for 2012. Golf, poker and MMA. Yeah, like you would not watch these.
The Sport of Channel Surfing
Are you amped up yet? Of course. The viewer is faced with a daunting task. How can I cram this mammoth schedule into my life? Should I take a leave of absence from work?
Cox Communications is doing their part. No need to quit your day or night job.
Cox is making surfing the games easier. Our local digital cable provider has taken several steps to ensure the Olympic events unfold with relative ease in your home.
For starters, they have grouped together all of NBC's and their affiliated channels. Channels 807-819 are dedicated to Olympic coverage. No getting lost on the blue screen of inactivity. Want to watch NBC on the regular location on the dial? Fine. It's being duplicated, not moved.
Channel 807 is the On Demand channel. It's a great feature. This allows you to meet some of the athletes participating in the games. Famous and not-so-famous athletes at your fingertips. The best part is it's free, with your subscription to Cox digital cable of course.
NBC provides the content and Cox provides the layout on your dial. The coxoklahoma.com website will also link to the latest Olympic content. A link to NBC from Cox's homepage hooks you up to live streaming broadcast once the games begin. Don't tell my boss.
My favorites may end up being channels 811-812. These two are dedicated to basketball and soccer coverage.
The total damage? 3,600 hours of coverage from Beijing.
"According to Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports, there will be more televised coverage in the Beijing Olympic than in all of the previous summer Olympics combined," said Christine Martin, Director of Communications at Cox. She gave me a sneak peek. It's nice, very nice.
Not sure if all this coverage is a good thing? Think about the alternative. The Oxygen channel (815 on the new Olympic style layout) will run daily recaps for gymnastics, equestrian and tennis for at least 20 hours. Would you rather see quick highlights of Olympic events or Oxygen programming? I rest my case.
What would an Olympic column be without some giving some local love? Current Tulsa Drillers Dexter Fowler and Casey Weathers will represent Team USA in baseball. Fowler and Weathers were two of the 22 minor leaguers named to the 24-man squad.
Good for Team USA, bad for the Drillers. Actually, it will be fantastic for the home team if the US captures gold. Not to place any additional pressure on the players but imagine a walk off home run to win the gold by Fowler.
I can hear the "USA (Drillers), USA (Drillers), USA (Drillers)!" chants right now. Regardless of the outcome in '08, the results will trump the '04 games for Team USA baseball.
Former University of Tulsa athlete Sarah Haskins (1999-2003) earned the right to represent the red, white and blue in Beijing. She competes in the triathlon so here's hoping the pollution is rated acceptable as she runs, bikes and swims her way to a medal stand.
A few wrestlers and weightlifters also hail from Oklahoma or attended college in the state. You already know what I think of those sports.
Now come out fighting and let's keep it clean. USA, USA, USA!
Share this article: