In accordance with what seems to have become a newly-adopted Rust policy stance that elite sporting games/events staged in the absence of crowds are unedifying to the extent of being unwatchable, I am currently “not watching” the Tokyo Olympics.
Despite whatever brave and noble performances our boys & girls are putting up in their various events – and however well these are being “covered” by our favourite British broadcasters (and that is a debating point in itself) – I am resolutely, and without a great deal of effort it has to be said, avoiding getting remotely excited about Team GB’s progress in any of them.
Without wishing to belittle or mock the endless hours of toil and training that the competitors have been putting in over the years just to get selected for the Olympics, the absence of spectators and crow noise has left this unengaged viewer largely unmoved.
If competing without crowds is a sadly “reduced” experience for the participants, then for viewers/listeners far away like myself it’s a positive turn-off.
Even if it is the legendary breaststroker Adam Peaty winning an epic second Olympic gold medal in succession – a unique feat in British swimming history, apparently – I strongly suspect that the absence of a full auditorium made it a rather underwhelming experience for him.
It certainly did for me. I listened to it on the radio with about as much excitement as if I’d been watching paint dry.
It was just the same with the women’s cycling road race which involved eventual Austrian winner Anna Kiesenhofer getting away in a group of four from the start and then eventually staying ahead throughout the race on her own.
As stunning and unexpected as her victory was, the real story of the race – i.e. the one that properly reflected the actualité of the lack of spectators – was in fact the experience of Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten who, having sweated at the coalface all day and finished several minutes behind, managed to reach the finishing line suffering from the delusion that she had won the gold medal by a significant margin.
About par for the course for this Olympics, one might venture to suggest.
Elsewhere the BBC is rightly getting mountains of stick for the ineptitude and inferior quality of its coverage which de facto appears to be anchored in the UK with only occasional input from Japan.
It shows and is unfitting of a national broadcaster – as is the fact that somehow the BBC’s deal limits which events that it can cover “live” as opposed to “recorded”, with the result that sometimes the BBC websites are providing up to date news on the results of events that – on its television broadcasts – it is pretending have yet to begin because they are intending to represent them as “being shown live” at some later point in proceedings.
Roll on, the Closing Ceremony!