Let's put cameras in the bobsleds.

Scenes from the Olympics.
Feb. 25 2010 2:29 PM

Bob-Cams

My suggestions for improving the Olympic TV experience.

Bobsleigh.
German bobsledders Claudia Schramm and Janine Tischer

Has my Olympics fever broken or was last night's broadcast kinda dull?

Troy Patterson Troy Patterson

Troy Patterson is Slate's writer at large and writes the Gentleman Scholar column.

Women's aerials was on, but, as I've already whined, halfpipe snowboarding is far awesomer than this, its old-school cousin. Lovely Lydia Lassila ain't got nothing on illuminated Torah Bright, and the aerialista suffered for having to follow the snobo babe. That said, the fact that Lassila and her peers were jumping in dense fog did add some interest. Maybe the sport's governing bodies should consider mandating smoke machines at all future events.

The gorgeous ladies of bobsled were likewise victims of the fortnight's calendar. In terms of the overall schedule, there was a problem with rising action in the sliding sports, an anti-climax: Who can get truly psyched about bobsled after thrilling to the skeleton and the luge? Where a bobsledder hurtles along the track in something resembling an actual vehicle, her colleagues race down on what are basically aerodynamic cafeteria trays. Maybe the sport's governing bodies should consider mandating that multiple cameras be mounted on each bobsled—bob-cams, one of which would use night-vision technology to reveal the brakeman's contorted face.

On CNBC, Finland beat the Czech Republic at men's hockey, an exciting contest, or so I have read. I've never been able to get into a hockey match without being surrounded by at least 1,000 belligerent drunks, and I didn't want to disturb my downstairs neighbors on a school night.

Thus did I come to face an important question: Was there anything good airing anywhere else?

The Diary of Anne Frank was on TCM, but sometimes not even Nathan Zuckerman is in the mood for that. Channel 13 was revisiting Ken Burns' Civil War, but I know how that one ends. Turning to MTV, I tried to demean myself with a bit of Real World XXIII: Washington, D.C.but encountered opposition from the wife, who wondered, "Why? Why?WHY? Do we have to?" I flipped to TNT just long enough to confirm that Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby holds up beautifully. Alas, I missed the scene that speedskater Shani Davis evoked when, interviewed on Today earlier in the week, he remembered himself as a tyke "fascinated by trying to go fast."

Ah, yes—there was more short track last night. Oh, hey—the furious butt-shoving vortex of the women's 3000-meter relay gave pleasure! Mm, ugh—an interview made it clear that the most overexposed athlete of the Vancouver Games is Apolo Anton Ohno, whose smirk and soul patch have fused into one insufferable unit. His personal charm is to be located under a heap of sunglasses and unmatched mittens in some local lost-and-found.

I don't remember whether Ohno delivered his most recent feather-stroking self-assessment to Bob Costas or to Cris Collinsworth, both of whom have been dressing like they're members of "a prep-school singing group," to use Costas' own words. With the sole exception of last Monday, when he donned a mock turtleneck and radiated an unfortunate golf-club hepcat vibe, Costas has been looking good, maybe too good. In sync with the U.S. team's Ralph Lauren gear, he's gone deeply preppy with a lot of flannels and a few paisley prints and a couple of narrowly striped shirts that, as he knows damn well, distractingly strobe on the screen. There's a fine line between natty and fancy, between dapper dude and total fop, and handmade loafers do not necessarily help a man to walk it. So I have one more question this afternoon: When all is said and done and Ukraine and the United States and Uzbekistan have marched in the closing ceremony and Costas' assistant checks him out of his hotel, how much of NBC's money will have been spent on the laundry-pressing of pocket squares?

Become a fan of Slate on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Global Marches Demand Action on Climate Change

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.