Technically, I’ve already been in France for two different Olympic Games: Beijing (or Pekin as they call it here and does anyone know why?) in 2008 just before I moved back to Texas, and Vancouver in 2010. But in August 2008 I was busy spending my last week in Paris, without a TV, and in February 2010, I was, surprisingly, also in Paris, and looking for a new apartment in Poitiers. Usually I love the winter olympics, but I guess in 2010 I just had too much going on, and what with the time difference and the roommates, I didn’t really feel like I could co-opt the television.
All this is to say that this is the first time I’ve really paid attention to Olympic coverage in France (as in, I’m spending a good four hours a day watching it). Here’s what’s annoying about it.
1) They really, really, really talk 90% about French athletes. I know we focus on our own athletes in the States too. But, for example, last night the French women’s swimming 200 m relay team won the bronze, and the commentators went nuts following the Frenchwomen come in third while barely saying two words about the two teams (U.S., Australia) ahead of them.
2) They count the medals constantly. Not just by publishing the totals every day in the paper. They talk about it all the time. “France is in third in the medal count!” “This was a great race, and we have more opportunities to medal tomorrow!”
3) They sometimes don’t even call the athletes by their names. This doesn’t always apply. Yannick Agnel, Camille Muffat, Laure Flessel, Ruthless Decosse—they manage to call these (mostly gold medalists) by their names. But seriously, I watched an entire table tennis match where the competitors were just, “l’espagnole,” and “la française.” What?
Maybe I just miss being at home and being able to hear about American athletes. But I also miss the cheesy specials on different athletes from all over, telling us their back story and getting me to root for them (I’m easy to win over).
Am I being too critical here? Has it been too long since I watched the Olympics in the States to fairly judge?