Olympic Horseplay

Today's cuppa: Yorkshire Gold tea in the morning, and an afternoon trip to the coffeeshop for decaf Viennese coffee

Beijing_2008_logo_240 OK, just Googled for information on Olympic equestrian coverage and got inadvertently spoiled on the results of the three-day eventing competition, which I was planning to watch when I got home tonight.

I vote to call this the Spoiled Olympics, since the time difference between here and Beijing has made it nearly impossible to avoid results coverage, at least for someone who has to spend as much time online as I do.

If you care, here's what happened.

Spent a chunk of last night watching DVRed coverage of the cross-country middle phase of the three-day (first day, dressage; third day, show jumping). It was odd, mostly because the NBC commentators were in a studio in New York, talking about a feed from Hong Kong over which they had no control. It was kind of like the Olympics version of "Mystery Science Theater 3000."

However, I am grateful to be able to see the full equestrian coverage at all (it's mostly on Oxygen, with bits on USA and NBC. Click here for info on Zap2it). If you've never checked out equestrian sports, just consider these points: men and women of different ages and all sizes compete together; geldings, stallions and mares (but not colts and fillies, since sport horses tend to be much older than racehorses when they start competing) of different ages, sizes and breeds compete together. It's all about who can do the job, whether human or equine. I like that. And horses are pretty. I like that, too.

Disclaimer: In case you were wondering why I was watching this stuff in the first place, it's because somewhere during my career as an entertainment journalist, I also spent three years covering equestrian sports on weekends as a freelancer for a no-longer-published regional equine magazine in the Northeast. I covered show jumping -- which I fell in love with watching TV coverage of the fabulous gray Thoroughbred Gem Twist and rider Greg Best winning home team and individual silvers in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul -- dressage, Thoroughbred racing, pairs carriage driving, the National Horse Show and a variety of other horsey subjects. I always joke that standing in the rain and the sun and the cold and the mud and the bugs and the horse poo at many outdoor shows was awesome training for the challenges of TV set and location visits.

I wasn't spoiled ahead of time on the results of the team mens gymnastics competition, but it ran so late that I just couldn't stay up. I put it on the DVR, but it ran over the stated finish time and was cut off prematurely, which I discovered to my chagrin this morning -- especially since I gave up my morning "Red Eye W/Greg Gutfeld" to watch. A day without the Halftime Report With Andy Levy is not a good day.

Worst of all, I'm a West Coaster, so I know this wasn't live while I was watching it. But NBC wants those primetime ratings across the country, so while I could have seen it all done and finished by 10 p.m. my time, instead I missed it. Same thing happens here for the Emmy Awards. At least we get most other sports events and the Academy Awards truly live.

End of whining (but, in my defense, I'm not the only one). Thanks for your attention. I now return you to the Beijing Olympics, already in progress.