Fri, September 20, 2013

Tilleyvision: Olympic events we want to see

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency


Forget about skeet shooting, bring back live pigeon shooting! (SUSANA VERA/Reuters file photo)


Like most Olympic Games, London 2012 has introduced a handful of new sports to the mix, such as women's boxing and the multi-discipline cycling event called Omnium, which until now I thought was the name of a sleep medication.

But when events fall out of fashion, they're removed from the Olympics, often never to return. While some fans are still griping about baseball being dropped from these games, here are three much more interesting sports I'd like to see make an Olympic comeback.

Live pigeon shooting

Clay targets tend to fly in a straight line, but where's the fun in that? In 1900, Olympic shooters took aim at live birds, with the idea being to kill as many as possible. (The Belgian gold medallist bagged 21.) Sport and urban pest control combined -- it's a win-win!

Hot air ballooning

Another event that appeared just once at the 1900 Olympics in Paris (there was a ton of batpoop crazy stuff going on in those Games), balloonists were scored on their flight duration, distance and how closely they could land to a specific target.

Tug-of-war

I'm not even being cheeky here. Tug-of-war is a fun event to watch, with all the grimacing and straining and ground being lost and gained centimetres at a time. It was last in the Games in 1920 -- maybe a 100th anniversary comeback at the 2020 Summer Olympics is in order. Heave!

HOW LIVE IS "LIVE?" AND HOW CAN WE TELL?

NBC has taken tons of heat from U.S. viewers for tape-delaying events at these games, particularly those in which superstar athletes like Michael Phelps are competing. It hasn't seemed to have had a huge impact on the network's ratings, although you could argue NBC's reported 9% gain in viewers over the 2008 Summer Olympics is paltry compared to, for example, CTV's reported 45% gain in prime time viewers over CBC's 2008 numbers from Beijing.

Maybe when you broadcast big events live and then repackage them in prime time, viewers respond by tuning in instead of cussing you out.

But one thing NBC is doing right is at least letting viewers know when an event is live by slapping a "LIVE" bug next to the NBC logo on the screen. On CTV, it's tough to tell if what you're watching is actually happening right now over in London. In fact, before Friday's shot-put final with Canada's Dylan Armstrong, I hadn't noticed CTV using the "LIVE" designator on-screen at all, and I haven't seen it since.

Then again, do most people care if an event is truly live, as long as they haven't had the result spoiled ahead of time? Me, I don't even like watching the online feeds because they lag about three minutes behind real time, but maybe that's my weird nitpickitude.

Still, it wouldn't hurt to let us know when something is happening right now. "Live" and let live.

THIS JUST IN

Our athletes have terrible taste in music.

After seeing that annoying Coca-Cola commercial starring "Mark Ronson and the athletes" (you know "the athletes!") for the eight trillionth time, I finally decided to seek out the related video by using the Shazam app on my phone, as per the commercial's on-screen command. Baaaaaaa.

In the video, Coke-branded Canadian athletes talk about their favourite Canuck artists, our most influential Canadian music, their first concerts and so on. While there are some solid mentions in there (Neil Young can do no wrong), the athletes also name-drop Justin Bieber, Nickelback and Celine Dion. Multiple times. Toned muscles: Yes. Tone deaf: Possibly.

ROYAL HUMOUR OF THE DAY

"It's a hidden hobby of hers, clearly. Who knows what she is going to come up with next." -- Prince Harry to CTV's Brian Williams on the Opening Ceremony skydiving performance put on by Harry's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.