August 15, 2004

Lighting the Torch in Athens

I had the following thoughts watching the opening ceremonies of the Athens Olympics. I like living statues, so I thought that bit was interesting. While I understand the need to clothe all the actors, doing so in certain cases looked peculiar if the goal was indeed partially historical verisimilitude. The break-apart sculpture was remarkable. I really liked the runner who marked all the Olympics of the past (and who stumbled or stopped to mark the war years). The new stadium is beautiful (itís a shame we donít have more Calatrava works in the United States, though the new World Trade Center PATH terminal, and if itís built the 80 South Street Tower, will be high-profile exceptions). Roger Federer rules, so it was entirely appropriate for him to be carrying the Swiss flag. And my eyes have rarely had the misfortune to gaze upon clothes as ridiculous as the outfits worn by the American delegation.

As to a more fundmental matter causing distress, while I realize that the Olympics (like professional sports) have become essentially an advertising racket, it was disheartening to see that made so clear right from the start of these games. The almost constant commercials and fact that certain things that had no reason to be in English were nonetheless in English were frequent reminders that our ability to watch the actual competitions will often take a backseat to NBCís attempts to make some cash. Hereís hoping their cloying, manufactured schmaltz doesnít take away from the real competitive dramas like the upcoming Michael Phelps vs. Ian Thorpe match-up.

Posted by armand at August 15, 2004 12:31 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Sports

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