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anartist's avatar

The Olympics: how much does a country's coverage of the events emphasize their own strengths as opposed to the overall offerings? I particularly wish to hear from non-Americans?

Asked by anartist (14781points) July 31st, 2012

I notice that US coverage emphasizes sports in which we excel [like swimming events] or that we invented [like beach volleyball or basketball].

The Olympic competition is huge, and many events occur simjltaneously. But I see little of such things as track-and-field or curling or many other events. Do those from other countries see a different offering?

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16 Answers

Bellatrix's avatar

This limited emphasis only on sports Australia is involved in is one of the things that really irritates me about Australian television coverage of sporting events like the Olympics. I understand we want to see our own athletes competing but I also want to see other countries succeeding too. Especially those tiny countries with maybe one or two athletes, where uniforms and other funding has had to be donated so people could compete.

I seem to recall (and this could be a rose coloured glasses thing) that when I was in the UK, the coverage was broader and wasn’t so focused only on sports UK athletes were competing in.

shrubbery's avatar

I agree with @Bellatrix. We also get mostly swimming in Australia, which is kind of annoying these days as we’re clinging to our Sydney glory days and we’re not even doing that well anymore. Like okay we are doing well but we’re not smashing all the golds and I’d really like to see some other sports, thanks. Like the rowing, which we are doing quite well in. But not just our guys, I wanted to watch that guy from Niger who’d only been rowing for 3 months before the olympics. The athletics haven’t started yet so hopefully they’ll be showing more of that at the time. And I love watching gymnastics no matter who’s doing it because I just can’t believe people can physically do that crazy stuff. I’m really quite disappointed in our coverage this year, more so than other years I think.

amujinx's avatar

I have no idea if this is still the case since I no longer have cable, but in previous Olympics, the CBC would televise either an entire event or quite a good portion of an event regardless of Canadian involvement. I would always prefer the CBC coverage to the American coverage that jumped around and only showed how Americans did in an event.

mattbrowne's avatar

German television also focuses on how the German athletes are doing, mainly because most viewers are interested in that. But overall the coverage is not as extreme and more balanced as in the US or France. Patriotism is still a difficult issue in modern German culture. In 2004 we spent 2 weeks in France and I was shocked about the French-only focus.

ucme's avatar

Every sport is covered extensively here in Britain, which is as it should be.
The temptation to focus on our home athletes is well & truly resisted, unlike the constantly tub-thumping yanks, we realise it’s a global games where widespread exposure of so called minority sports/nations is a policy worthy of the host nation.

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Nially_Bob's avatar

@ucme With due respect, I’m inclined to disagree. Though the British global media such as the BBC makes a concerted and respectable effort to be objective and focus on all athletes there remains a preference towards the British. Just a brief look at illustrates this; many of the leading stories are focused on medals won by the British, or when and how medals will be won by them.

The fact is that the majority of Olympic supporters are going to cheer on their home team, but from what I have observed this does not significantly detract from the overarching mentality of the Olympics; support for an individual nation (be it the one in which you live or otherwise) and belief in human solidarity are not mutually exclusive ideals.

wilma's avatar

@Nially_Bob The fact is that the majority of Olympic supporters are going to cheer on their home team, but from what I have observed this does not significantly detract from the overarching mentality of the Olympics; support for an individual nation (be it the one in which you live or otherwise) and belief in human solidarity are not mutually exclusive ideals.
Exactly my feeling about this.
I believe that you can have national pride and also believe in human solidarity.
I have often wondered why some people think that they cannot go together, particularly when it’s concerning Americans, but that is a subject for another question.

ucme's avatar

@Nially_Bob Of course there’s going to be home bias, that’s only to be expected, but there’s by no means blanket coverage to the exclusion of all other nations, which is how I understood the question.
Just now on the BBC there’s an interview with the great Olga Korbut reflecting on her past olympic titles, there’s a load of events where Brits don’t even feature where significant coverage is shown, weightlifting/judo/table tennis, etc & they each have their own unique qualities/interests.

Nially_Bob's avatar

@ucme Agreed, as I said, the global news from the UK does make an active effort to be unbiased, but I think it’s unreasonable to assert that it’s entirely so. I have liked their recent interviews with many of the international judokas; they always seem like such friendly people, must be the sport.

ucme's avatar

@Nially_Bob I’m actually surprised ITV have no olympics coverage this time over, in previous years it’s always been shared between the two broadcasters.
Most of the presenters on the BBC are “refugees” from childrens telly & appear a little overawed by the whole occasion.

flutherother's avatar

The BBC have 24 HD streams this year and are showing pretty well everything. The commentary is very partisan at times, not what the Olympics should be about.

mattbrowne's avatar

On a side note: The opening ceremony was truly impressive. Wow!

rooeytoo's avatar

If you have cable in Australia, there are 8 channels devoted solely to the olympics. Therefore you can get pretty good coverage of all events. I do notice on free to air tv though that definitely the focus is on Australian sports. But so far not much to brag about. I think the selection process this year was very flawed and biased.

This nationalistic approach drives me crazy during the grand slams of tennis. Often free to air will show a doubles match with aussies you have never heard of instead of the top players. I hate that! Thank goodness for cable, that is at least a little bit better. And now with more and more sports being available on smart phones and internet, the universal coverage is really getting good.

anartist's avatar

Yes it was delightful @mattbrowne both impressive and culturally revealing. Capitalizing on the beauties and strengths of British culture in such an artful manner and with such variety from the “Queen’s skyjump” to the transformation of a pastoral country into an industrialized country, to the texting romance with the British music, the sly appearance of Mr Bean and the closing with Sir Paul. So very British, and in some ways, so very droll.

A few things bothered me a little—Jerusalem being sung amidst the pastoral bit, when in reality Blake was protesting the “dark, satanic mills” and the torch not being seen outside the stadium . . . but minor quibbles all.

mattbrowne's avatar

@anartist – Yes, it was an intellectual masterpiece. Quite unlike the megapompous Chinese opening four years ago.

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