Article by: Coop Cooper
A.K.A. The Small Town Critic
Although I’m not a big fan of most of the sports in the Olympics I really admire the athletes and what the organization stands for. Sportsmanship, the competitive spirit, team camaraderie, solidarity among nations… all of it adds up to something special. This year, I’m afraid the media has ruined it for me and the negativity surrounding the event hints at dire consequences for the future of the Olympic games.
Instead of touting the triumph of the winners, here is what the national/international media is spending most of its time focusing on:
London apparently hasn’t handled the crowd or the events very well. Critics claim that much of the city is open to terror attacks (despite a plan to arm rooftops with guided missiles), the city is constantly gridlocked and for some reason there aren’t many fans in the seats of the arenas. Plus there are criticisms from other countries that the opening ceremony was ridiculously bizarre and not palatable to the non-British.
There are allegations that NBC has consistently botched the coverage of the events, edited out a segment in the opening ceremony that was a tribute to British terror victims, falsely claims feeds are live and has strong-armed Twitter into forcefully silencing journalist Guy Adams who has been critical of the network’s handling of the issues.
The American ceremonial uniforms had a very un-American style and were made in China. Plus the Saudi female judo contestant, Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani, has demanded to be allowed to wear her hijab while competing. Officials say wearing the hijab could cause safety issues for both athletes in the ring. Religious leaders in her home country condemn Shahrkhani and her competition in the event regardless of the hijab issue.
Two athletes so far have been ejected from the games due to alleged racist posts against their opponents on Twitter, and a 17 year-old has been arrested for sending threatening tweets to British diver Tom Daley.
Columbian soccer player Lady Andrade brutally assaulted American phenom Abby Wambach with a violent strike to the face causing a black eye. Officials did nothing. Wambach eventually recovered and USA beat Columbia 3-0. The unapologetic Andrade was suspended days later and filed a formal complaint that the US should be investigated, “because they’re the United States.”
16 year-old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen shattered records in the women’s 400m individual medley so spectacularly that she even beat the men’s world record in the same event. Worldwide accusations of illegal doping are flying furiously against the gold-medal winner.
A timing clock malfunction leads to the defeat of South Korean fencer Shin A Lam. In protest, Lam sat on the fencing piste, weeped and refused to move for a full hour while her coach argued the decision which was not overturned.
Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, was criticized by British Prime Minister David Cameron for criticizing the logistical and security problems at the London games.
The games still have a long way to go and I only touched on the multiple controversies the media is covering. Most of the news stories of the winnings are hidden behind these negative articles which seem to have been given precedence. With the blow-by-blow of the relentless media/internet coverage these days, even the most negative issues come to light and somehow rise above the positive. I believe it’s a turn off and a detriment to the Olympics, but I also believe the practice is now entrenched and here to stay. I don’t even know who is winning what but I do know who is causing drama. I guess it’s reality show entertainment bleeding into what is supposed to be a dignified sporting event.
Not so surprising is the fact that the Olympics are negatively affecting the film industry box office numbers. “The Dark Knight Rises” is still at the top of the numbers, but the tragedy in Aurora, CO kept some moviegoers away. Now that the Olympics are in full swing, the box office numbers have dropped even lower and aren’t expected to rise much for the upcoming “Total Recall” remake or for “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days”. After the games, the numbers should rise but for now, the film industry is in a bit of a slump.