Watching the Olympics here in Australia has been quite an eye opening experience for me.
Firstly, I've noticed the coverage here tends to favour sports that the Australians are actually competitive in (ie have a good chance of medalling) and that these are not the same sports that are emphasised in the USA. It makes sense doesn't it that each country would have a handful of sports that are preferred and played with more frequency than others. There are also certain nationalities that seem to dominate particular events. The Australians seem to put a lot of their emphasis on the swimming. The Australian swim team is very competitive and is a tough rival for the USA.
After the swimming, Australia's Olympic performances are pretty hit or miss. They've medaled in a variety of sports, but haven't dominated any. The Australians love their sport so much though that each and every medal is celebrated and cherished. There isn't a single medal that has gone by uncelebrated by the Australian media and public. There have been a few hard fought silver medals that have almost captured more media attention than some of the gold medals.
In fact, the entire Olympic Games coverage here has been pretty Australian-centric. That is to be expected I suppose, but even in the USA, I remember the networks doing profiles of athletes from other nations and really explaining who were the top contenders in each sport. That seems to be missing here. So much so that I'm not even sure who any of the US athletes are. It's all Aussie all the time and as a result, I'm all Aussie all the time. I find myself barracking (that's Aussie for supporting or rooting) for the Australians even in races when they are competing against Americans. I've been questioning this behaviour for two weeks now and have finally come to the conclusion it's because I don't know the stories of the athletes from the USA. I didn't get to experience a media build up to the Olympics that let me know who these people were--I only saw the Aussies. Well, that's not entirely true. Michael Phelps has gotten quite a bit of media coverage here, but I'd say he's the exception to the rule and the exception is made because he's 1. a swimmer 2. EXTREMELY GOOD and 3. 8 GOLD medals are hard to ignore.
Other than Michael though, it's been hard to keep track of Olympic athletes from other countries. This strikes me as very odd because normally I'd say Australians are very outward focused. They are quite interested in what's going on in other parts of the world and are very knowledgable about other places. I guess the Olympics are one of those times when their competitive spirit takes over and they see it as "us against them".
Whatever the motivation, I haven't enjoyed the coverage as much as I used to in the USA. I say, give me Bob Costas and a sappy athlete profile any day...(does he still do that? anyone? anyone?)
Tomfoolery by Ree
18 hours ago