…it’s a funny thing…

I have been watching the Olympic Games in Vancouver and I must admit, I wish I had planned it better and had cable to see more events than those broadcast on NBC during prime time.  I am fascinated by curling, but did not see a single game.  I was even curious to see a sport called “skeleton” but again, that was not possible.  At a time when technology and the internet are connecting the world ever so closer, I am surprised that NBC broadcast the games in a time delay.  I understand that NBC has to make it’s money by airing programing all day, but would it have killed them to postpone daytime soaps, talk shows or whatever else it broadcasts by showing some events live? Are they not confident in their commentators ability to deliver play by play reporting?

A friend of mine commented to me about the lack of people of color at the Winter Olympics.  We all know this is a geographic sport.  Until recently, I can’t remember the last time 6 inches of snow fell in Africa, South America or Mexico.  This is why the Jamaican bobsled team was such a wonderful story.  I am usually critical when there isn’t enough representation by minorities in certain professions.  But when it comes to sports, I can’t complain.  People of color excel more so than their white brethren during the Summer Olympic games.  Let them  race down mountains at neck-breaking speeds, dance on shoes balanced on blades, do acrobatics in the air on a half-pipe of snow or drive down a concrete trail on a plastic go-cart if they want.  I suspect that even if those sports were done on grass and in the Summer, chances are we would never attempt to do that.  So let them have their 2 weeks in Winter, we’ll enjoy our own in Summer.

Having said that, I will comment on one important aspect of the Olympics — the commercials.  During the Beijing Olympics, Morgan Freeman provided the voice to a beautiful series of commercials for Timex — the official time keeper for those Olympics.  This Winter, Proctor & Gamble stole the show with their ‘Thank You Mom’ commercials.  I am a sucker for great movies, so long as they have a great story to tell.  But these commercials, each filled with vignettes of mothers sacrificing their time and energy to take their kids to learn a sport from their infancy until their appearance at the Olympics are both entertaining and moving.  Some have criticized them for not showing fathers supporting the athletes but I’m okay with that.  In a world where women are rarely credited with making this world go round, I’m glad someone thought about honoring them and their sacrifices.  Yes, most P&G’s products are gender biased but there are some that only men use.

I hope that when the Summer games come around in 2012, P&G continues with this tradition and produces commercials with mothers in Third World countries.  It is from those countries that most of the athletes in those games originate.  And it is in those countries that most women are repressed, oppressed and ostercized.  If mothers from the North find it hard to support a child’s dream of reaching Olympic glory, imagine how much harder it is for a mother from the South?  We are 10 years into a new millennium and there is still much work to be done when it comes to women’s rights.  If it’s true that over 1 billion people watch these sporting events, lets do what we can to empower those unable to speak up or do much feel a little gratitude for their sacrifice too.

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