a gripe

August 11th, 2008

Y’know, it’s tempting to complain about CCTV’s Olympic coverage. They’re continuing that fine old tradition from the last Olympics of making really bizarre decisions that suggest those in charge know nothing of sports or sporting culture. Take this morning, for example: For the 3rd day in a row CCTV 2 has had live coverage of the equestrian three day event in Hong Kong starting some time after 8. Except that the competition has began at 8 each morning. Turn on CCTV 2 at 8am and instead of Mark Todd on a horse you have two talking empty heads blethering on inanely in a studio, followed by ads that seem interminable, and then eventually equestrian. Need I point out that this is Mark Todd’s sixth Olympics (Andrew Nicholson’s sixth, too), and that he won gold in LA ’84 and Seoul ’88? The first ever rider to win consecutive Olympic individual three day event golds in 60 years? And he did that on the same horse, Charisma- a horse that, in my childhood, was just as famous as Mark Todd. And at 8am when he’s riding you subject us to two inane twits in a studio?!

But odd broadcasting decisions aside, actually, CCTV is providing quite passable coverage. Expecially when you compare it to New Zealand’s media. CCTV is showing a lot of China’s sports, which is cool, I mean, we are in China and Chinese people want to see their athletes. That is as it should be. But they’re also broadcasting a variety of other sports, sports and/or matches in which China is not necessarily involved. It can be frustrating for a Kiwi in China with no international TV trying to keep up with Kiwi athletes, but with what is making it onto CCTV and the internet, I’m doing alright.

No, actually, I don’t want to complain about CCTV’s coverage. Their decisions are sometimes a bit odd, and their commentary is sadly no better than what you’d get in New Zealand (during this morning’s equestrian coverage we were treated to the astounding observation that equestrian is the only Olympic sport where men and women compete together- and actually, the only Olympic sport in which humans and animals compete together (but I thought they’d included modern pentathlon which involves horse riding- bizarre sport that one, with a legend behind it which just reeks of horse shit)), but they’re doing a good job and we’ve managed to catch a variety of sports. I mean, we may not have seen much of NZ in the cross country this morning, but we did get to see a fair slice of the action (and perhaps it’s better they stopped in the middle of Andrew Nicholson’s apparently disastrous run), we caught the second half of NZ vs Spain women’s basketball, and today we’ve managed to see Emma Twigg and Mahe Drysdale advance to the semis in single sculls. We’ve also managed to see the ends of both road cycling races over the weekend- pity the Kiwi riders weren’t up to it, but nevermind, there’s still time trials and track, and we just caught a small slice of white water canoe. Oh, and a small bit of women’s boardsailing, but that was so dreadfully boring with the lack of wind that we zoned out pretty quick. We’ve also seen, naturally, plenty of Chinese sport- gymnastics, weightlifting, shooting, archery, men’s and women’s football and basketball, women’s volleyball, and more. And there’s been plenty of other random stuff not involving either China or New Zealand.

Judging by their websites, if I had to rely on the New Zealand media, I’d probably find myself wondering if the rest of the world was only showing up to provide an opponent where the particular sport in question required it. Where, for example, is Stuff’s article on last night’s China vs Belgium men’s football game? Even if we’re going to take a narrow-minded Aotearoa is the centre of the world approach, this is important because China and Belgium are in our group and our next match is against Belgium. If we beat Belgium we have a chance at the next round (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). China, who scored a face-saver in the 88th minute to draw us 1-1, lost 2-0. And they got two red cards. Where is Stuff’s coverage?!?!?!?!?

And the rest of Stuff’s Olympic page is at best only marginally better. There are articles about things that don’t immediately involve New Zealand teams or athletes, but they’re few and far between.  TVNZ seems only marginally better- and that is a very recent development. Last time I checked it was all NZ all the time. The Auckland Tabloid New Zealand Herald does manage a Kiwi Athletes/Around the Olympic Games divide, but forgive me for finding that Around the Olympic Games section rather distressingly empty. And to go back to that football example- I still haven’t seen any Kiwi coverage of the China-Belgium game even though those two teams are in NZ’s group and we play Belgium next.

Still, the Herald does manage to include this little piece, in excellent English that betrays only a couple of hints of the author’s Chinese origin. It’s well worth a look.

Oh, and now that CCTV 3 (and judging by what was advertised this afternoon, 12 as well) has joined the Olympic fray, we got to see the men’s hockey NZ vs South Korea (alright, it was still a Kiwi team, but hey, it’s Chinese TV, and CCTV doesn’t care about the needs of expat Kiwis, but even so, they’re broadcasting live a match which does not involve even one single Chinese person), which NZ just won 3-1- and those were three perfect goals from NZ. Brilliant match.

Well, Jing Jing Wei’s article suggests that TVNZ’s broadcast in Aotearoa might be more inclusive than their website. I hope so. I remember seeing a hell of a lot of Olympics on TV as a kid, all kinds of stuff, whether it included Kiwis or not. But the NZ media’s internet coverage this time round is so far beyond pathetic I’m going to have to go shopping for several new dictionaries and thesauruseseses and go searching for a new adjective.

So, minor gripes about odd broadcasting choices aside, I’m liking what CCTV’s doing this Olympiad- especially now that we’re up to five channels offering live coverage. New Zealand media? Shit, you’ve got a long ways to go before you even come close. “Lift your game” is hopelessly inadequate. And actually, I have not linked to the worst of the NZ media’s excuse for coverage. I can only hope that what is being broadcast and printed in NZ at least approaches what I remember from my childhood. What I’m seeing online does not give me cause for hope.

4 Responses to “a gripe”

  1. michael Says:

    Olympic coverage by Channel 7 in Australia is dire. Hopelessly narrow focused and even then it misses so much. They put AFL on instead of the Olympics. This is one time when CCTV looks ggod.

  2. wangbo Says:

    Wow, Channel 7 has got their priorities right… Yeah, CCTV is looking good, especially now that they have five channels offering live coverage.

  3. nick Says:

    My parents are in oz at the moment and frustrated they can watch the kiwi’s.. I think I get more on CCTV.. Kudos to the Chinese for adding more channels!

  4. nick Says:

    read “can” = “can’t”