Note: The actual names in the following account have been changed to protect the innocent …
Thinking back to 1994 and watching the Lillehammer Olympic races, it’s not hard to remember that American ski coverage has come a long way. I was 16 at the time and will never forget watching the EuroSport coverage with the father (we’ll call him “Gunde”) of another kid on my high school ski team. That was the first world cup race I’d ever seen, and it totally got me hooked.
Ever since, the 4×10 relay has been the most exciting sporting event I could wish to watch…all those Norwegians out to cheer on their boys only to be beaten in the Games’ most exciting event. Then, do you remember Uncle Thomas trying to get Zorzi to lead the anchor leg in Soldier Hollow, only to dish out (in the words of Rob Whitney) an “old-fashioned *** kicking” for the gold medal? It just so happens that my high school teammate, the son of “Gunde”, was standing right there on that hill when it happened, but I was still stuck at home…waiting for a video.
But hold on a second, I was 13 when the Lillehammer games were actually held, so that means that the day when we watched the tape was 3 years later! “Gunde” got the VHS (gasp!) tape from someone else in the ‘hood (we’ll call him “Bjørn”), that got it from another dude that recorded it right off the TV from somewhere in Europe. Wait, what?!? How shady! Were we trying to sell drugs to kids or watching the planet’s fittest sportsmen and women fight it out on the biggest stage of one of the oldest sports in the world?
If there is any indication that we live across the pond both physically and culturally from the heartland of our athletic interests, it becomes painfully obvious when you try to get a hold of good race coverage. This year Universal Sports has allowed us to feel like upstanding citizens again, but wouldn’t it be great to buy and download the races so you didn’t have to watch the glitchy streamed versions? How about saving them on your computer so you could watch some now and the rest later? How many of you leave your web browser open over night only to get up and accidentally close the window it or restart your computer in the morning?