Watching the Olympics on the tube

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency

I think I'll start calling these the No-lympics.

As is, "No, Steve, you don't get to go to the games. We need you to stay here and write about the Olympics on TV and online. It's a very important" -- short pause while my editor struggles to contain an involuntary burst of laughter -- "a very important part of our team coverage."

Like the little brother who gets left behind every time the big kids go to the rink to play shinny, I'm once again stuck at home while my esteemed colleagues fly off to soak up the energy and the excitement of an Olympiad. It's Beijing all over again.

"No, Steve, you don't get to go to China. Only the big kids get to go to China. You stay home and watch TV and surf the Net and scribble your little scribbles instead."

For the next 384 hours, or approximately the same length as CTV's Olympic torch relay coverage yesterday, I'll be carving an even deeper butt groove into the already moon-shaped centre of my couch. Watching the games on TV, sussing out Olympic oddities online and just basically eating, drinking, sleeping and dreaming the five-ring circus. Without the actual fun of, you know, being there.

But hey, that's the boat most of us are in, right? The Olympics are the ultimate vicarious experience. An elite handful compete, a small number see the spectacle live and in person, and the rest of us watch from a distance. But in the age of PVRs and timeshifting and BitTorrent downloads, it's kind of cool that the Olympics are still one of those TV events that millions of people experience together in real time, each of us nestled in our own little butt-grooves.

These will be the most digital Olympic Games ever, from the hi-tech equipment used to transmit images from the slopes of Whistler to our living rooms to the unprecedented amount of online coverage available for your free perusal.

Heck, you could get a pretty decent and well-rounded Olympic experience from your mobile phone.

For the next 16 days I get to show you how to play along at home by accessing the dizzying array of video on demand options, commercial-free satellite channels, streaming video and even mobile phone apps that range from the indispensible to the goofy.

From Twittering athletes to bobsleigh browser games to online lists of the hottest skeleton competitors (hey, you might be surprised if you go look), it'll be all Olympics, all the time. All from my couch. Like some kind of professional shut-in.

Needless to say, I've got Domino's on speed dial.

Is it as good as being there?

No.

Will it be fun?

Oh heck yes. Butt-groovy, even.

steve.tilley@sunmedia.ca

POLL