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Feb 25, 2010

Olympic Rings North and South

On our 3-day North Dakota getaway this week, we were fascinated to see the vast difference between Canada and the USA in awareness of the Winter Olympics.
Granted, they are happening on Canadian soil, not American.
But the US is doing so well in so many events. And it's the Olympics. And there are several Dakotans competing. And North Dakota is not exactly winter-free...
In Canada, Olympic-branded or -related merchandize is everywhere. In 3 days in North Dakota, we did not find a single scrap of Olympic merchandise for sale anywhere.
In Canada, one sport or another is on just about every minute of the day. In the US, it seemed to only show up in the evening prime-time spots, usually as something taped earlier in the day.
In Canada, the broadcasts are filled with interruptions, where event A is suddenly cut into by an important live moment in event B. During our watching in the US, such live updates were absent in the extreme (maybe because of the tape-delay).
So after weeks of Olympic saturation in Canada, we were stunned by its almost-complete absence for our 3 days in the US. We had to hunt out the broadcasts and the special newspaper coverage. HAD to, because we couldn't quit, 'cold-turkey' ...

Our biggest amusement at US coverage was watching NBC broadcast curling games. The sport is big in Canada, and HUGE in Saskatchewan - the proverbial 'little old ladies' leave meetings early to get home and watch curling broadcasts. But the sport is so little-known apparently in the US that they brought in Canadian Maritimer and champion curler Colleen Jones (6-time Cdn champ, 2x world champ) as colour commentary (or 'color-commentary' for our American friends ;-) and to educate the viewer.
Fascinating to hear the NBC announcer react with, "Nice shot!" while at the same time Ms. Jones is saying 'Oooooo....' - and not a good, admiring OOO!, but with an 'Oh, what a shame!' tone. She would then explain why and how the shot went wrong.

Fascinating cross-cultural couple days!


  1. Thanks for posting your great observations, Julie & Steve. I especially like the comment about not being able to go cold turkey. :)

  2. Have been watching a lot of curling the past two weeks. Been SO frustrating watching the Danish ladies trow away one game after another. Last night (yes it was night) I got to see the final. Too bad Canada didn't take the win that they almost had, but I was cheering for Sweden all the way - sorry ;)