I can hardly tear myself away from the Olympics coverage on NBC.
But I don’t care. From the couch where I’m sitting, there’s more gripping drama in one hour of Olympics coverage than in an entire week’s worth of junk on all the other stations.
Take the last two nights, for instance. On Sunday night, three couples competing for the gold in the ice dancing competition–the least risky of the four figure skating events–either let go of each other, tripped, or wabbled, then fell over and landed on the ice.
Italians Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margaglio, who returned from retirement for the Torino Games, were among them. Going into Sunday night’s first round of ice dancing in their home country, they were in the lead. As they skated past the judges, Margaglio lifted Fusar-Poli to shoulder level. She wobbled, he lost his balance and they stumbled down, touched the ice and watched the gold disappear.
But that was just the warm-up for what would become an Italian soap opera for all the world to see. Fusar-Poli got up off the ice, stood and stared holes through her partner, then refused to look at him or talk to him the rest of the evening–at least while they were on camera. When she broke down in the “kiss and cry” area, her partner knew better than to try to comfort her.
Just before Monday night’s competition, the two arrived at the arena separately, warmed up separately, and barely acknowledged each other. Then they took to the ice for a sterling performance that resulted in–ta da!–a lovefest on the ice.
So what does this mean to you, just a plain old Publicity Hound? If I were working in the media, I’d love to hear these kinds of pitches:
–Sports coaches, psychologists and skaters commenting on Fusar-Poli’s behavior. Was it tacky to take it out on her partner? Or, in the end, are they both real pros for pulling off a great performance during their hissy-fit?
–A fashion expert commenting on the outrageous costumes. Some are stunning. Many look like they came from my rag bag. A few look more at home in a strip joint. Read more about it here.
–How about lining up two snowboarders at your school to take opposite sides and comment on Friday’s horrible display by snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis? With just a short distance to the finish line, she was far ahead of her closest competitor, then lost the gold when she performed what’s called a backside method grab, wiped out, then continued down the hill to win the silver medal. Was she showboating, or is it all part of the artistry of the sport? There’s a real debate under way, depending on how old you are.
–If you aren’t watching the Olympics, try contacting the TV columnist for your local metro newspaper and explain why. You could be the local angle to this international story.
–Ad agency execs can comment on the best and worst TV commercials with an Olympics theme. My favorite? The Allstate commercial where an out-of-shape couple rent skates and go for a whirl on the ice to the 70s tune “The Hustle,” until the guy skates backwards into a building, and snow from the roof falls onto his car and crushes it. My least favorite? That annoying SBC commercial with the lyrics from “All Around the World.” It’s permanently embedded in my brain.
–Will somebody out there please explain why curling is a sport? If you’re a curler, this is your chance to defend yourself.
In my “Special Report #19: How to Use Polls and Surveys That Brand You as an Expert,” I suggest taking a quick poll or survey and reporting the results to the media before or after a major event like this one.