August 27, 2004

Rule-proving exception

The Olympic coverage has been pretty damn mediocre, including if not quite because of the commentary. Tonight, during the pole vault coverage, they had a little sidebar that wasn't a fluff piece on one of the athletes and it wasn't a discussion of who won the last time around and it actually wasn't anything I've seen before in this Olympics. It was a piece on how the pole vault worked. For those of us that weren't track and field stars in high school, it was nice for them to actually talk about some of the mechanics of the event, and the speeds involved.

It would have been even better (thought I) if it or a similar sidebar had talked about pole vault scoring, which I still don't get. And this got me thinking further: with all of the time they waste on inconsequential crap, and especially given that they have this five-to-ten-hour delay between recording and broadcast, why don't they insert a whole bunch of explanatory pieces on all the events? Explain how out of bounds or foul lines work, since it's different for every sport. What's that extra line down there for? How are these five scores and a difficulty combined to make the total score? How come they got away with that US-rules-illegal move? A lot of this stuff could be prepped well in advance of the Olympics, and then just inserted at an opportune moment. Some of it (the more schematic stuff) could even be done on the fly during the excessive time delay, if an exotic point of the rules comes up and turns out to be important.

But no, nothing like that. Oh well, maybe in Beijing.

"Update: Apparently, the secret of traffic is to dis economics professors. J. Bradford DeLong, your mom wears combat boots!" --Michael Kimmitt

Posted by blahedo at 10:42pm on 27 Aug 2004
You're just too damn logical for this planet.

The other contestents/inmates will be voting you off shortly.

(slightly back on topic) Of course, with the tight, tight lock on media distribution that the Olympic committee wields over the games (I'm sure you've heard the stories), I'm sure nothing as sensible as you propose will ever get implemented. Sorry, it's late, and I'm more cynical than usual. James Posted by ansible at 11:26pm on 3 Sep 2004
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