The Winter Olympics are here. Finally? After all it’s been less than a week since the Super Bowl and this is the time of the sports year where there is VERY little going on. This weekend is the NBA All-star game. Ho-hum. And the NHL will be over shadowed by Olympic Hockey. NCAA basketball is still weeks away from March Madness.
NBC Universal paid $ 820 million for the right to televise the 2010 winter games. In 2006 NBC paid $ 613 million. I cannot think of another valuation that has increased that much (+33%) since 2006. All this and NBC has reported they will lose money on the 2010 winter games.
So who stands to benefit most from the games in the U.S.? My prediction is World Cup skiing champion Lindsey Vonn. Fresh off her appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue (May Lou Retton and even Nancy Kerrigan never had that opportunity), Mrs. (yes that is her married name) Vonn will become the most covered up yet over-exposed participant (American or not) at the games. Check the ‘photo shoot’ NBC has posted on its winter Olympic website – http://www.nbcolympics.com/photos/galleryid=261208.html#lindsey+vonn+magazine+fashion+shoot
Just yesterday there was concern that a shin injury might preclude Lindsey’s participation in the Olympics altogether. Yet somehow miraculously she took a ski run and declared herself fit and ready for the games. She averred that she hoped to win ANY medal at the games but if she fails to bring home gold of any kind it will be seen as a monumental failure. As the reigning World Cup champion (something that simply does not occur for American skiers regardless of gender) the pre-games hype is hardly unwarranted.
Unfortunately since ski races take place during the daylight hours many people will not be able to view Lindsey’s exploits in the comfort of their living room. A ski run takes 2 minutes or so and I am sure people will be watching at work or wherever – once the event has taken place – but not live.
Vonn is planning to race in no less than five events. NBC and the U.S. Olympic committee have hitched its wagon to Lindsey’s rising star. No other American athlete is even close on the radar screen. Be prepared to be tired of all the ‘up close and personal’ and background on the life of Lindsey Vonn. Remember the Michael Phelps love-fest a couple of years ago? Kind of makes me tired of it before it even starts (and yes I will be rooting for her despite all that).
Your fifteen minutes are here Lindsey. A lifetime of living off them awaits you. What will you do with them?