I've never liked the Olympics. Call me an ugly American, call me closed-minded, whatever you want. I know enough of the history to appreciate the fact that in today's turmoil-filled war, there's something special and pure about a place where all the nations of the world can get together and compete against each other to see who's best. That part of things I can get behind.
But does that mean it has to be so utterly boring?
Track and field does nothing for me. Skiing is neat to look at like ..once, but then it's the same thing over and over. Ice skating and gymnastics just don't hold any appeal for me. Even sports that I enjoy on a regular basis, like basketball and hockey have been diluted by the presence of pros who not only create mismatched games, but coverage that tends to focus on anything but the actual game that's going on.

About the only interesting thing they ever have is that "ski a little while -- pull out a rifle and shoot things" event they used to have, and even then the entire appeal of that sport (as far as I can tell) was to try and figure out which country has the best cold-weather assassins.

But the thing I hate the most is that every time it comes around NBC does it's best to shove it down my throat, literally smothering their coverage with sappy human-interest angles that are supposed to get me to care about a specific athlete because of the things he's had to go through just to reach the Olympics. Not because I have a cold heart and don't care, but because after like 19 of these in a row it just gets to be mind-numbing.
"So and so was raised by wolves, worked 10 jobs and trained in the middle of the night amidst freezing temperatures and constant attacks by Pterodactyls to build up the skills needed to qualify for this competition. His one dream is to win the gold for his home country and bring glory to the people"
Complete with sweeping orchestral background music, close-ups of the person smiling to a soft-focus camera lens, and teary endorsements by fellow athletes and countrymen.

Then you get to the actual race and So and So wins by fifty lengths, completely slaughtering all the other nameless competitors who's life stories were not tragic or interesting enough to consider them worthy of coverage -- all within the record time of under a minute, which is approximately 14 minutes less time than it took for the human-interest profile to play altogether. And if that's not enough, the next thing you find out is that so and so is set to compete in 6 more races before the games are over, meaning there's plenty of chance to go through the whole thing again, just in case your heart wasn't moved enough the first time around.
It just gets old after a while.
I know a lot of people love the Olympics, but try as they might -- the networks and international competition committees have yet to find the magic combination that could make the whole thing interesting for me.
Or at least they hadn't -- until they decided that the 2008 games should be held in China.
The games themselves are still months away, but reports are surfacing out of Beijing that there's going to be plenty to be excited about -- especially when it comes to giving awards.

Apparently the people in charge of organizing the games are looking for women to be presenters at the medal ceremonies for each event -- but there are restrictions as to just what kind of woman can qualify.
"We have some very clear conditions and demands," explained Zhao Dongming, director of the Cultural Activities Department at Beijing's Organizing Committee for the Games. "We have certain requirements for their height, since they are to present the medals to our athletes. They need to be of a height between 1.68 and 1.78 meters (roughly 5'6" - 5'8"). That's above average."

There was no specific requirement on their weight according to Zhao, but he added: "Generally speaking, they can't be too fat. Their figure should be good. They shouldn't be too heavy."
I mean, sure -- maybe it wouldn't look all that great on TV if the world's greatest high jumper or whatever were to stand on some platform while his countries national anthem played in the background -- only to have to step off the platform and bend over just so he could receive his gold medal from Margaret Cho, but let's hear it for China coming out in public and basically playing the "No Fat Chicks" card in front of the international press.
I mean seriously, who's in charge over there -- Al Bundy-san?
[Listening to:    Nonpoint"A Way Out" ]