Friday, August 15, 2008

Do You Know Why the US Does so Well in the Olympics...

I have been absolutely transfixed by these Olympics. I am always a big fan of the Olympics, but this year I am glued to every prime-time minute. The storylines are captivating

...there was the unbelievable Jason Lezak come from behind US victory in the 4X100 swimming relay
...and the gutsy performance of the US Men's Gymnasts stealing the Bronze medal in the team competition without two of their "starters" (think the Lakers taking 3rd in the NBA playoffs without Kobe or Gasol) about the spectacular dominance of the Chinese Men's Gymnastics Team winning the Gold
...I love the undefeated US Men's Volleyball team playing at another level for their coach (who lost his father-in-law in the Beijing stabbing)
...or the neck and neck battle between the US and Chinese "women" gymnasts in both the team and all-around competitions
...and of course the entire Michael Phelps storyline.

NBC has done a fantastic job covering this Olympics and accelerating the drama with broadcasting passion and excitement. The Gymnastics team has been brilliant; Trautwig is great on the play-by-play and the analysts Tim Daggett and Elfi Schlegel have provided enough technical analysis of the performances without being nit-picky. They have shown objectivity and true compassion for the best performances of the night.

Rowdy Gaines has also been very good as analyst for the swimming competitions without being over the top in his US bias. I have learned quite a bit about the science of swimming and turn management. I never thought swimming to be a particularly exciting sport until this year and I am just eating it up.

Bob Costas always brings his A game and blends the right level of passion with professionalism to bring home a story. And last night's "behind the scenes" look at Bela Karolyi's excitement watching Nastia Lukin take the Gold on the floor exercise of the women's all around competition...well that was "Must See TV" (to steal a line from NBC). If that did not grab you up into the excitement, well then you just might be beyond help.

So why is it that the US does so well in the Olympics? You might have guessed my answer by now...its the US media and NBC, in particular, that has covered the Olympics for as long as I can remember.

Many experts have said that our fascination with Television is creating a "star-struck" nation of "materialistic" media junkies...and maybe that is true. But we are also a country of dreamers and we like to dream BIG. Our ability to dream big has produced a lot of our success as a country...think Microsoft, Apple, Genentech and Amgen...or Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter and Lance about Madonna, Al Pacino or Oprah Winfrey...and of course all of our Olympic Champions.

NBC and the Olympic athletes have done a great job compelling millions of children in the US to dream BIG and drive to become our next generation of Olympic Champions.