The 2010 Winter Games is upon us! Err... it's upon Canada. But once again, the (American) world is being looped-in via NBC. Personally, the Olympics is something that I respect, and I am always in awe of the grandeur that comes with the games --from the athletic prowess of the world's best, to the special care that the host country brings... it is something that is much bigger than any of us. And above all, it is a time when the nations of the world know no borders, and come to share in the spirit of camaraderie and healthy competition.
There is definitely something special about being part of the Olympic games.
Unfortunately, the games of Vancouver have been set-off with a tragic start. Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili, was killed after a training run on the Whistler Sliding Centre some 125 kilometers north of the Olympic city. The track, which claimed about 25 crashes during the luge training run, has become known for being a very hard course. Recent crashes along the track have prompted concerns about its safety.
The passing of Kumaritashvili put a damper on the opening day of the games, and is sure to resonate throughout the course of its run. The Georgian team decided to remain in competition in honor of their comrade, and walked during the parade of nations with proud, yet somber, faces. Team members from other nations threw their support by wearing black arm bands.
Yesterday evening, NBC opened their telecast with the unfortunate news, and they moved forward by showing a clip of the accident on national TV. Bloggers and fans alike have blasted the network for what they deem to be a poor choice. Onecommented: "It should have never been shown! I changed the channel not to be a part of such a shameless act. Do you think it would have aired if it was the producers son. NOT! Ratings at any and all cost!" Similarly, another had this to say: "They never should have shown that. They should have respected his family and the fact the he had just passed. The videos were very uncalled for."
That said, I have to say that when I later caught the broadcast on DVR, I believe that the broadcast of the video and subsequent photographs were prefaced with a warning. So to those who claim otherwise, do make note. Also, and in defense of the network, and more importantly the journalistic decision behind the airing of the clip, I am glad that the footage was showed. For one, it is a clear-cut reporting of what happened. It sheds some light on the plight that our athletes go through for these games. The Olympics are more than over-sensationalized glorification of celebrity athletes. It is a true competition, with sports that are not always safe. For me, seeing the clip reminded me of the heart that athletes like Kumaritashvili have for their sport, even if it means giving up their lives for it. Secondly, the media is damned if they do, and damned if they don't. I must say that there are many times when I find myself abhorred by what the media reports. However, with this report - despite the horrific truth about the accident - I was thankful not in a macabre kind of way. But I felt that the network was being truthful about what had happened, and it made me feel a sense of loss, something I probably wouldn't have felt at the same level had I not seen the clip of the tragic event.
If viewers found the clips disrespectful, then fine. They are entitled to their opinions. However, I didn't find anything about the reporting to be disrespectful at all. There weren't any needless comments that were made along with the report, and all that was said was merely the truth. While watching the accident made me sick to my stomach, at the same time I truly felt sadness for the athlete, his family and teammates, and all of those concerned with these games --a sadness I may not have truly been able to comprehend had NBC not shown us what happened.
So to the network I say "thank you" for not glossing-over the incident. It was a story that had to be told, and I feel like NBC did what they felt was right.
Now... on with the show, Vancouver!
1 year ago