The spirit of the athletes I have been watching compete in the Winter Olympics has inspired me to really challenge myself this week.
They seem to be willing to try anything including triple flips with a few spins thrown in while sliding down a snow covered hill at 60 kilometres an hour, so I’ve decided to up my game and try to make watching those games relevant to Voice readers.
Yeah, I know, we don’t see a lot of snow or ice in southern Africa and few of us have ever tried the things the athletes are doing in Sochi, but I still think I can find something important for us to learn from the occasion.
I guess I could go for something uplifting like the potential benefits of a positive attitude or talk about all the hard work the athletes have put in, but I’m not going to do that; instead I’m going to go with something much more down to earth.
It doesn’t have anything to do with the skiing or the skating or any of the games, it’s about the coverage and the judging of the events and it is important because it is relevant to what you are doing right now… reading a newspaper.
If you have been watching the Olympic coverage you may have noticed that you don’t always agree with scores.
Hey, the judges often don’t agree with each other and the commentators are sometimes horrified by how the performances are ranked.
If you haven’t been following the games you might still be familiar with what I’m talking about from listening to the commentary of a football match or the blow-by-blow account and scoring of a boxing match.
What I’m getting at is that there is no such thing as objective reporting. People’s opinions always come into play.
The temptation now is for me to say, ‘trust me on this one, I know what I’m talking about; I’m a professional newspaper man.’ But the fact of the matter is that I never really know what I’m talking about… not totally anyway; usually I’m just expressing my opinion.
That’s kind of how columns are supposed to work, but as far as I can tell that’s how all reporting works.
Have you ever read a newspaper report about an event that you attended – again, sports events are a good example – or something that you have first-hand knowledge about? Have you ever fully agreed with the reporter’s take on what happened? I’ve been in that situation many times and I never have.
It seems to me the Winter Olympic coverage gives us a particularly good chance to see how this works because unlike football matches and other more familiar sports we are less likely to be supporters of one of the teams or countries.