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Tim Arsenault: Olympics coverage is on steroids

South Korea’s been crawling with commentators for almost two weeks.
South Korea’s been crawling with commentators for almost two weeks. - 123RF Stock Photo

South Korea’s been crawling with commentators for almost two weeks.

By one count, there are about 80 different broadcast outlets in Pyeongchang for the Winter Games, which must make catching the media bus off the mountain at the end of alpine skiing an event in its own right.

However, like many things, Games coverage has been affected by social media and increasing audience choice exponentially. Commentary has become a wide-open field and you can participate with your phone just as well as I can with my desktop.

In a sense, it’s a little bit like when you didn’t like the television announcer working the baseball game so you turned down the sound and turned on the radio. Except in 2018 that option for the Olympics is available on steroids. Or, if you’re a curler, meldonium. Pick your poison.

Enjoy all the Armchair athleticism, follow the Games here.

For instance, regardless of where in the world you may be watching you could create a two-screen experience for yourself by watching figure skating and following Dick Button on Twitter.

Button, 88, is a two-time Olympic champion and was a long-time figure skating commentator for various American outlets, though he’s probably best remembered for his run on ABC skating telecasts. He’s followed some events this year more closely than others, but you can still pick up his cadence and hear his distinct voice when you read his opinionated tweets.

“Thoughts on the evening, some very good and confident skating,” Button tweeted early Wednesday.

Tim Arsenault
Tim Arsenault

“I would like to see more stretch, more pointed feet, straighter backs, deeper edging, tighter rotation, better flow in and out of jumps and more performance. Everyone is capable. Looking forward to tomorrow.”

For someone who only has 1,600 tweets under his belt, it didn’t take him long to get used to the 280-character limit.

Speaking of limits, it’s possible to innocently run up against them.

A Nova Scotia rock band, the Town Heroes, became internet sensations last week when an amusing impromptu commentary video of a Tessa Virtue-Scott Moir ice dance routine got passed around the Web.

But it didn’t take long for The Man, famous for not having a sense of humour, to clamp down.

“Well pals, it looks like the International Olympic Committee took down our video,” the band said Friday in a post on its Facebook page.

“We really can't believe it almost hit one million views in a little over two days. We're pretty pumped you folks got a little chuckle out of er and sent so many amazing messages.”

While being internet famous is still famous, it can sometimes feel more like how the great philosopher David Lee Roth described singers of his time: “Here today, gone later today.”

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