Shaun White’s Air Guitar: Thanks for the Laugh!

I love winter sports and every 4 years I go crazy watching the winter Olympics. There are a lot of objections I have to the institution of the Olympics; and also to the classist nature of the Winter Games–it’s not a racially or economically diverse competition: not many kids have access to ski slopes and, once adults, the type of health coverage for multiple knee surgeries and top-notch PT.

But once I get past that, I really enjoy the great competition and inherent ideals of the Winter Games.

It’s been a painful Olympics though, for me as a viewer because NBC’s coverage is AWFUL. At times like this I wish I lived in a more enlightened place with a live feed of all events, no commentary, just a straight feed: like, in Canada.

Instead, we in the States have….NBC….and endless McDonald’s and Walmart commercials.  And almost exclusive tape-delayed coverage of….mostly Americans. Well, Canadians, too. But any other nationality only gets covered if they’ve had a spectacular wipe-out. The commentary is largely patronizing, too. I wish they’d just leave it up to Bob Costas, who’s quite smart.

Enough will be said about one of the most stunning performances at the 2010 Winter Games:  Shaun White’s super-human half-pipe tour-de-force. What probably won’t get the credit it deserves is Shaun’s fun, spirited air-guitar riff at the end of the national anthem during his gold medal ceremony. It was absolutely hysterical. It was like a court jester had hopped up on the podium, doing what jesters do best: poke fun at everything folks in authority take seriously. Finally, for once, someone brought  something other than….traditional dull patriotism to the ceremony. It was really inspired.

NBC cut most of the original full-on air guitar out of their online replay: I guess they found it too embarrassing. Which is too bad because I’m certain Shaun White delivered their highest ratings. You can watch the air-guitar here, but you have to be quick to catch it; it’s at about 4:46 on the clock, during “the land of the free”.  You’ll also have to download a Microsoft video player (if you don’t already have it) and watch a commercial first. I hope someone posts something better on Youtube soon; but so far, there’s nothing worth linking to.

Thanks for the fun and irreverence, Shaun. I need all the laughs I can get.