Why would someone choose to watch Olympic coverage that is twelve hours old, with the outcomes known, when you could choose to watch the ritual humiliation of "American Idol" while it is still relatively fresh and the results are still "secret?" A great chunk of the United States made that choice this week. More of us chose to watch Simon and friends pick over the performances of the talented and not-so-talented on Fox, while NBC was left carrying the torch. I know that there was at least one heart broken yesterday, when my seventeen year old niece learned that Jeremy Bloom failed to medal in Freestyle skiing. It put me in mind of the list of second, third, and fourth place finishers in history, whose stories are left behind as soon as the competition is over. As a test, try to remember the losers of the last five Super Bowls, or the last five World Series. Olympic athletes have already climbed to the heights of their sport within their own countries, and then compete against the best from across the planet. Theirs truly is a "world championship."
Jeremy placed sixth on Wednesday. No shame in that. He had given up a chance to play for the University of Colorado football team (where he had been a star receiver for a couple years prior to that) because the NCAA says that you can't get money for doing sports when you're playing sports in college - it's a rule, okay. Okay, says Jeremy, but he petitioned the NCAA to allow him to receive money from ski endorsements while he played football. He argued that since freestyle skiing wasn't an NCAA sport, there wasn't a conflict. The NCAA said yes there was a conflict and stop bothering us with your silly petitions.
Jeremy left football behind and concentrated on skiing. Yesterday fellow American Toby Dawson won the bronze medal. Now Jeremy can turn his mind to something much more tangible: a career in the NFL. With six touchdowns of 75 yards or more during his two-year college career at Colorado, he might have been a first-round draft pick had he stuck with football. Now he goes home and gets back in line with the rest of the hopefuls. In the meantime, you can continue to support Jeremy's dream with the purchase of a poster or two from his official web site - and did I mention that he's a capital H hunk?