At the risk of being a judgmental hack, I'm pretty sure Bob Costas is convinced that the reason we're having these Olympic games is to provide him more face time (fairly certain he believes the Lord created major league baseball for the same reason.)
I've long thought the ceremonies (both opening and closing) are too long, too lavish and too overstated. They're no longer about athletes and athletic endeavors - they're about "productions." My point, I think, was proven by the use of farm animals (let me repeat FARM ANIMALS) in the ceremony I witnessed last Friday night. I was shocked to learn the budge for this ostentatious display was $42 million. I was more shocked that the $42 million price tag paled in comparison to Beijing's $100 million opening ceremony budget. One suggestion to Danny Boyle should he be asked to produce something of this magnitude again - less Paul McCartney, more Pink Floyd.
Speaking of opening ceremonies, kudos to Michael Farber @ Sports Illustrated who provided this gem:
"...the avantgardist winter ceremony in Albertville, France, two decades ago, at which each nation paraded into the stadium behind a woman encased in a bubble that stretched from neck to knee while a voice on the P.A. system recited a rhyming couplet that included the name of the country. Mercifully, Nantucket had not declared independence."
In this same piece by Michael Farber, I learned there that the concept of flyovers by military aircraft at sporting events was apparently born (if not born, this had to be the earliest instance of such things) at the 1936 games in Berlin. The aircraft that flew over Hitler and the opening ceremony and the torch relay that day? The Hindenburg.
Good move NBC. For those that avoided any print, online or broadcast information during the day on Monday, July 30 (so as to enjoy the events at night with some degree of anticipation) you ran a promo 6 minutes before her race advising us that gold medal winner Missy Franklin was going to be on Tuesday's "Today" show with her parents. Well played, well played. (as they allowed in this morning's ajc.com, even if you had your t.v. muted, they showed a picture of the 17 year old sweetheart flashing her gold medal.) Perhaps less time should be spent on Bob Costas' hair and more time in the details.
Can you imagine the jokes if they'd used farm animals in the opening ceremonies in Atlanta in 1996?