Thursday 14 August 2008

Downtown Phelps-ville USA

People (well, my mum) have been asking me what the Olympics coverage has been like in the US, and I was wondering how this would go myself. Turns out the TV coverage has been similar (or better) to what we get in Australia - we have three channels-worth during the day, and one (NBC) that continues through prime-time. The coverage is US-athlete focused, but with three channels during the day they actually cover much more events where the US isn't involved than Nine covers events without Australians.

Mum tells me if Michael Phelps was a country, he would be beating Australia in the medal tally at the moment. He may not be a country, but he's definitely a city - he's from Baltimore and I hear his name about every 30 seconds on the TV. NBC just did an article about a massive increase in kids' swimming lesson enrolments in Baltimore and showed me how much he eats for breakfast - the american version of '16 weetbix'.

Are any Americans actually watching it? Well, it's not like football season where after a Ravens game you can hear everyone at work talking about it the next day. Having said that I think quite a few watched the opening ceremony, including a few with us. My favourite quote from a particularly loud American "Cameroon? Oh my god, is that a country?".

The timing is awesome. We have seen lots of the swimming finals live during our night time, that would have been during the work day in Australia.

I have a new favourite athlete - Reese Hoffa, pictured above with his famous turkey-leg celebration at the US track and field championships. He can solve a Rubik's cube in 55 seconds. Awesome.

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