Tuesday, August 07, 2012

TV in the Olympics

Watching the Olympics on Sunday meant watching the women's marathon. For distance events like that there's a difference in how they're covered for television from swimming or track or any event held in a specific venue: the place where the athletes are performing also has motor vehicles on it, driving right near the athletes as they are competing.

I don't watch these distance races much, and I'm sure that the athletes get used to it, but it seems like running 26 miles is hard enough on its own without a motorcycle speeding along a few feet away with a guy on the back pointing a camera at you. The motorcycle in front of the pack spewing exhaust is probably unavoidable but it seems like that is hardly ideal for performing physically demanding feats. (Of course, that's probably no worse than how the air is in Beijing most of the time, but we digress.)

There was a shot during the telecast from that leading cycle with the camera showing the leading runners, and in the shot one could see the other cycle behind the runners. Not behind them and over to the side, but directly behind them in the path they were running. And not back 15 or 20 feet but practically on the heels of the runner in back. Had that runner tripped and fell there's no chance the cycle could have avoided her.

I'm not saying there isn't an imposition of cameras in all the coverage of the games (especially in the gymnastics when a gymnast who's just erred and knows it, and after pushing aside her couch's attempts at comforting her afterward, while crying in a chair, and the camera operator sticks it right in her face), but in these distance events there is literally the possibility of the attempt to get the shot for the viewing audience resulting in the athlete getting run over.

But the TV audience would feel like they were in the action, and isn't that ultimately what matters in these events?

1 comment:

  1. I would love to see a cameraman speared by a javelin, I would. I tell you what, though, I am sick unto death of women's volleyball after this Olympics. Sick. Unto. Death.


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