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Olympic withdrawal

With the closing ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics last night, our house will now be in a brief period of loss for the next couple of nights. I always find the Olympics to be an interesting experience as a television viewer, as the magnitude of the event causes even casual sports fans to root for (or against) individual and team competitors in such relatively obscure sports as the Nordic combined (ski-jumping and cross-country skiiing), short track speed skating and bobsleigh racing (not bobsled, as we all call it). Even got my wife to watch some hockey this time around, as it helped that Team USA was playing for a gold medal yesterday.

But that's always been the mystique of the Olympics....getting people to become emotionally invested in sports and athletes about whom they would not normally give a passing thought. I credit ABC, and particularly a production executive named Roone Arledge with figuring out how to do that. ABC had already cornered the television sports market on uncommon sporting events with their Wide World of Sports program, so it was only natural that they would do likewise with the Olympic Games. "Up close and personal, the ABC way" was their Olympic motto back in the '60's and '70's, until NBC bought the rights to all Olympic Games for what seems to be twenty years.

And as a former broadcaster with friends involved in sports broadcasting I'm always interested to see and hear some folks that I might not have seen and heard since, well, the last Olympics. There are always a couple.....

But it's over, so I suppose that it's back to HGTV for the Smith household. Imagine what our Nielsen ratings book would look like......


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