A selection of sport in Sochi

Published February 24, 2014

The Winter Olympics drew to a close last night, with one of those closing ceremonies that include about ten minutes of fireworks. I don’t get fireworks at all.

Anyway, the games themselves saw two weeks of triumphs and controversies and tears and flowers, and all sorts of stuff. I really didn’t get to see as much of the games as I wanted, but unlike the London 2012 fortnight, in which I wrote off the rest of my life in favour of solid TV viewing, I couldn’t afford to hand over too much of my time to Sochi.

Sochi 2014

What I did see, I mostly liked, although I went through a good few days of finding only curling or hockey on my TV, whenever I switched it on. The country has gone mad for curling, and it’s great that we got two medals in it, but I couldn’t get into it at all. I didn’t think the commentary was particularly inclusive for new viewers, which was a shame. Ice hockey I couldn’t get on board with, because the puck moves so fast I can’t follow it and then you’re just left with a bunch of people bashing into each other!

I loved the downhill skiing, the slopestyle antics, and of course the snowcross races – the snowboarding was just like Crashed Ice, only better! The longer course allowed for more overtaking or incidents to occur and the greater number of participants also allowed for incidents aplenty!

The other sports I could take or leave, particularly things like the luge and bobsleigh. I spent a lot of time watching the coverage on mute, and it turns out that skeleton isn’t as exciting with visuals only, as each run looks exactly the same! I was also disappointed in the ice skating. When I was a kid, I’d watch the sport whenever it was on TV – look at those people twirling and gliding and leaping. But now, it barely registered and it was one of those that was relegated to the mute button.

Although the BBC promised a lot with this Olympics, huge amounts of coverage and variety and all sorts, I felt underwhelmed by what they delivered. I love Clare Balding but she was everywhere, and always talking to Amy Williams. It was next to impossible to find any specific catch-up programmes on the BBC Sport site, particularly compared to London 2012, when there were 16 online channels, one dedicated to each sport, and you could always find what you were looking for. There was also a lack of professionalism in some of the commentary teams. It’s a fine line, the one between discussing the hopes of the country you are broadcasting to and then being totally biased. The BBC missed the mark on occasion.

Overall, it seemed like a good games, better than people were expecting considering the controversy over Russia hosting. I didn’t watch as much as I would have liked, what I did see was split between awesome and then reminding me that I prefer more of the sports from the summer games. A great way to pass a couple of weeks though. Roll on the next big sporting event!

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