The Gustavian Weekly

Has NBC ruined the Olympics? | The Gustavian Weekly

By Oakley Clark - Opinion Columnist | February 23, 2018 | Opinion

Team U.S.A. walking into the Opening Ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Team U.S.A. walking into the Opening Ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

On February 9, the Olympic torch was set aflame once again; this time in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The flames were met with extravagant fanfare;  an Opening Ceremony that told the story of South Korea’s history, identity, and global contributions.

For us in the states, however, we had to deal with the National Broadcasting Company’s horrid commentary and coverage.

During the Opening Ceremony, NBC commentators spoke over music performances and gave shallow, Wikipedia summary-like discussions of Korean culture and history.

At one point, the commentary was so bad that they were attributing aspects of Shintoism—a religious tradition that originated in Japan—to Korea.

Much worse, NBC mentioned Japan’s contributions to Korean society.

Japan, just so everyone is on the same page that NBC certainly isn’t on, “colonized” and brutally occupied the Korean Peninsula from 1910-1945.

Clearly, both countries have changed significantly since the 40s, but attributing Korean accomplishments to a historically evil regime wasn’t the best idea, NBC.

Beyond the Wikipedic ignorance, NBC subjects its viewers to hours of commercials and poorly made biography videos to make you “feel connected” to American athletes—especially when other countries are competing.

Look, I get it, we’re in the United States and want to focus on those representing us.

But, I don’t want to miss the other athletes’ performances, especially when those performances lead to a medal.

Also, I’m an average US college student.

There’s no way I’m going to connect to the strength, determination, and overall impressive nature of Olympic athletes.

NBC, finishing 10 pages of our 60-page reading assignments and making our bed after waking up is basically the pinnacle of achievement for us college students.

More importantly, I would rather see these impressive athletes perform rather than missing some of the action for a 20 minute clip about how someone became an Olympic athlete.

Continuing with the coverage, NBC really couldn’t stop talking about politics.

Trust me, I love me some good political commentary, but there’s a time and a place.

They really did not need to interrupt the Opening Ceremony’s music to say “Did you know that North and South Korea are not best friends? Isn’t that weird? I mean, the Dakotas get along just fine and march under the same Olympic flag, too.”

Seriously, leave it to CNN.

But, since I’m not speaking over a cool performance, I might as well swing into the political realm.

Notably, Vice President Mike Pence who—just a couple feet away from Kim Yo-jong, the North Korean dictator’s powerful sister—refused to clap when the unified Korea team marched in the Parade of Nations.

Pence sent a message to South Korea that the administration won’t support the Korean team—a courtesy to an ally and host—due to their attempts at talking to their northern neighbors—an extremely petty move on his part.

Ms. Kim, who is a brutal accessory to mass murder of the North Korean people, managed to receive more public praise than Mike Pence for her appearance and actions at the Olympics—how charming.

For instance, she shook Moon Jae-in’s, the South Korean president, hand several times and invited him to Pyongyang for negotiations—an incredible offer considering the recent tensions with North Korea over its nuclear program.

In politics, appearance is everything—hence why Mike Pence looked like some ungrateful and bored dude and a North Korean tyrant received positive reception.

However, Kim Yo-jong did play her cards right, and the North’s almost eerily peppy cheerleaders were one of those cards.

The large group of smiling and identically dressed women attended a variety of events and have made a splash on social networks for their precise, almost robotic, chants and cheers.

Leave it to North Korea to surprise the West with a bizarre cheer squad.

Politics and horrible coverage aside, the US, at the time of writing, has five golds and a total of 10 medals—placing fifth at the moment.

I hope we improve from this fairly disappointing standing before the games conclude.

If we don’t, we should all blame NBC—it’s a corporation, it doesn’t have feelings—instead of the athletes who worked so hard to get there.

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