The past few days have begun calm, only to turn quite windy in the afternoon. By the time we are ready to kayak, usually in the later afternoon or early evening, the wind has come up and the water has turned to choppy to go out. This morning is quiet, the leaves barely moving on the trees. The milky sky is reflected on the broad water, promising a fine day.
We have been trying not to become completely captured by the Olympics on the television. Still, last night we found ourselves staying up late to watch women’s gymnastics. As is their want, the networks sandwiched the prerecorded gymnastics on either side of live events, notably swimming. They also focused almost exclusively on the U.S. team.
This over-focus on the home team seems problematic, as the Olympics is supposedly about a diversity of cultures and athletes. Ideally we viewers are exposed to many individual and national narratives, allowing us to see other competitors as human, if different in some ways from ourselves. Instead, we are presented with Cold War like narrative of American exceptionalism, every other country and competitor cast only in relationship to the aspirations of the U.S. team.
Watching the Olympic coverage, I am left with questions. What other narratives might be explored by the announcers? How might we view our own athletes differently? Might we highlight the diversity of human experience, rather than focusing on a very few heroic narratives? What would the viewing experience be if the focus were on something other than winning? Who decides which stories are worth telling? What would happen if the announcers sought to make the ideology inherent in their coverage visible and transparent? I wonder.