Sliding Sports on TV
February 27, 2010, 04:42 PM
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Is there any way to make Winter Olympic sled sports, such as the bobsled, luge, and skeleton, more gripping on TV? As far back as I can remember, the 1984 Winter Olympics, the networks have televised the sliding sports using much the same camera work as Philip Kaufman used in 1983`s The Right Stuff to show us that test pilot Chuck Yeager was going really fast when he broke the sound barrier: Zoom! Zing!

It looked pretty exciting a quarter of a century ago, but, let`s be honest: everybody looks alike as they`re all crouched down trying not to get their heads knocked off in a crash. And, I, personally, can`t tell whether they picked the right line or not. So, you just end up waiting around for the announcer to tell you when they get to the bottom whether the latest guy with a Teutonic name went 0.05% faster or slower than the previous guy.

Maybe what they should do is show it tape delayed a few minutes on TV (yeah, you could go look up on the Internet who won just before you saw it on TV, but do you really care enough to get off the couch?) and show in split screen two sledders going down the track side by side. That would give the viewer more of a sense of competition, and actually let you see why one team is faster than another. (And it would only take half as long.)

As TVs get more wide screen, split screen becomes more feasible.

They could also show two skiers at once, too. But, that would be somewhat less of an improvement. Generally speaking, precarious-looking sports where people try to stay upright up on snow or ice, like skiing, skating, and snowboarding, are more fun to watch than ones where they have the good sense to be already lying down because, hey, it`s slippery out there.