Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Country Tis of Thee

It is weird for an American to experience the Olympics outside America.

Americans have spirit. Oh yes, we do. Not many nations have so much and are so ready to display it. I don't quite understand the logic but Germans are not supposed to be so proud to be Germans. It has something to do with World War II. Lately, this demand has given way a bit. During the month-long European Cup, there were some cars driving around with little German flags hanging on them. Nowhere near as many Sixers flags hung off cars in 2000 when the team had a good shot at winning the NBA Finals with Allen Iverson but more than there were during the 2010 World Cup games.

I live in northern Germany. I get television programming for Germany and Denmark. That means that the stars of the games are Danish and German (and for some reason, Usain Bolt. Germans love Usain Bolt. I guess everybody loves the World's Fastest Man.). I have seen little about Ryan Lochte, Sonya Ross-Richards, Serena Williams and Gabby Douglas.

U.S. Womens gymnastics team flash their gold medal.

That also means that I see the games live. I can read the Internet without fear of hit spoilers. I know who has done something amazing as soon as it happens. I like the immediacy of the London Olympics.

This immediacy also means that I don't get the smooth packaging. Because their are events happening simultaneously, I am watching table tennis for 12 minutes, then swimming for eight, and then fencing for 10. It is very disconcerting.

But, it also means that I saw the opening ceremony as they were happening without the inane commentary and, more importantly, without commercial breaks. I read that Matt Lauer, Bob Costas and Meredith Vieira were not the most impartial hosts. I preferred to decide on my own that this opening ceremony was too British (I mean that the themes were not accessible for people who were not familiar with British culture. I understand the farm turning to smoke stacks but will someone sitting in the middle of nowhere in Angola or Uruguay. Will everyone in Detroit no what NHS stands for?) and not spectacular enough.

The hardest thing is discussing the Olympics when you are from a nation that, as of this upload, has more gold medals than the total medals of the nation you are in. Germany has earned few medals this Olympics and no one here is happy. I am psyched about America's high medal count. I was bursting out of my skin when Gabby Douglas won the all-around gymnastics gold. Ain't nobody here to share that with.

Despite these obstacles, I am still lovin' the Olympics. I'm OK loving alone.