The Olympics have become just a nothing event. (Unless, of course, synchronized swimming is your idea of chills and thrills). For the sake of brevity (and the fact that I have an appointment at the car wash), I have come up with 10 absolutely convincing reasons not to watch.
(Note: This does not reflect the views or opinions of the the Daily News, Knight-Ridder, or its subsidiaries.)
1) More is less: For that $125 you are asked to spend for a Triplecast subscription, you will get 24-hour Olympic coverage on three separate cable stations. That comes to 1,080 broadcast hours over 15 days, in addition to the 161 hours of free viewing on NBC. Do you really need to see that much of anything?
The overwhelming percentage of Americans seem to be answering that question with a resounding "no"! Triplecast sales are reported to be embarrassingly slow. Even Chuck Dolan, the chairman of Cablevision, conceded that "we might lose our shirts on this one." I hope they do. Triplecast is the biggest rip- off since Atlantic City installed $1 slots.
2) Team USA 143, Angola 3: I know, I know, the other side has been using pros for years, but come on: Is it necessary to send in an infantry division when a cop would do just as well?
3) Dan or Dave?: When decathlete Dan O'Brien choked up in the pole vault during the trials and failed to qualify for the Games, we were sorry for O'Brien, but Reebok got what it deserved. Kicking off what was to be a zillion-dollar ad campaign during the Super Bowl, Reebok trotted out O'Brien and arch rival Dave Johnson in those obnoxious "Dan and Dave" spots that breathlessly predicted a "high noon" showdown between the two in Barcelona. I understand the hotshot who dreamed up the ads is now selling eggbeaters door to door.
4) Only two years until the next Olympics . . .: Instead of getting the Olympics once every four years, it comes to our attention that the Summer and Winter Games will be held at two-year intervals. In other words, instead of getting the Winter Games again in 1996, we will get them in 1994 . . . followed in 1996 by the Summer Games. This, to me, is like holding the World Series at the end of spring training, then again at the All-Star break, then again in October. (Of course the Phillies certainly would go for this arrangement.)
5) Carl Lewis: I remember when his agent said before the 1984 Games that Lewis was destined to become bigger than Michael Jackson. And so he has. He is far bigger than the San Francisco Giants' reliever.
6) The Costas factor: I like Bob Costas. NBC chose well when it selected him to host the Summer Games, but is it just me or is the little fella all over the place? He does "NFL Live," "NBA Showtime," the syndicated talk show, "Later with Bob Costas," and the radio show on Sunday night, "Costas Coast to Coast." We now get him for hours of Olympic coverage. (This is just a rumor, but we hear Costas is moonlighting as a St. Louis cabdriver).
7) The good guys vs., er, the good guys?: Beating the Russians used to be a big deal, but no more. The cold war is over. The Soviet athlete is now a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which is something like dressing up Frankenstein in a tuxedo and sending him for piano lessons. Sorry, but world peace is not conducive to staging exciting international sporting events.
8) Chaos: When Kim Kelly, of King of Prussia, was unceremoniously dropped
from the U.S. gymnastics team at the 11th hour after an unusual, one-day evaluation camp in Florida, it reminded me what a shabby spectacle the Olympics truly are. Were we surprised? Noooooo.
In fact, the chaotic events that happen away from the track, field, court or pool commonly overshadow the Games themselves. In the days ahead, as the Barcelona Olympics unfold, rest assured that this will happen: Someone will protest something.
9) Sports nobody cares about: Three new sports for the Barcelona Games are badminton, pelota (which is something like jai alai) and roller hockey. I can hear it now: You are sitting in the living room watching the roller hockey battle between Spain and Brazil when the wife pipes up, "Can we switch over to the pelota, hon?"
10) Alternative TV viewing: Last (but not least), We're in the midst of reruns of that critically acclaimed third season of "Who's the Boss."
Need we say more?