Does that 'Star-Spangled Banner' get sung? Does anything, NBC?

Does that 'Star-Spangled Banner' get sung? Does anything, NBC?

One of my favorite parts of the Winter Olympics is the medal ceremonies. Nothing  in my mind will top the ceremony on Feb. 24, 1980, when the whole men’s hockey team from “U-S-A” got to crowd up onto the gold medal platform with its great captain, Mike Eruzione. (Happy anniversary, gentlemen, and thank you.)

But that doesn’t mean I don’t mind that we’ve seen so few ceremonies on broadcast coverage of this year’s games in PyeongChang, South Korea. I love sports, but I also love music. They aren’t mutually exclusive, especially at the Olympic Games.

The first time I heard “Advance, Australia Fair,” Australia’s new anthem, one of its athletes was singing it on TV at  a ceremony. (I was expecting “Waltzing Matilda,” I admit.) I’ve even liked comparing “O Canada” to the Olympic theme music — not that I’ve had a chance to do that this year when the Chicago Blackhawks weren’t playing a Canadian team.

I would have liked the chance to learn the Norwegian national anthem and celebrate with them, and my friends of Norwegian heritage, as Norway led the way in gold medals won at these games. But I have yet to hear a hint of their music.

Proximity, or closeness, is always a news value — but it is not the news value. Just because it’s not from the U.S. doesn’t mean people aren’t interested.

Could this be why I’ve been reading about low ratings, NBC?

Just a thought.


Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.


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Filed under: Music and language

Tags: Winter Olympics


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  • Thank you! I was thinking the same thing. I think I have only seen medal ceremonies on YouTube. Something tells me it must have to do with the incessant commercials they run. NBC's coverage in general has been terrible.

  • You're welcome. I have seen and heard similar comments, just put my own hockey-and-music spin on them today. I have been able to see very little of the cable coverage, but to me, the decline of the broadcast (unpaid -- aha) coverage dates from the "let's get some programming for the cable channel" era.

  • Trump's favorite place in the world, Norway, won the most medals, I believe. He could live out his days in exile there, perhaps. Close to his bff.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    The golf courses tend to get snowed over, though. Just ask Hagar the Horrible.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    As I understand, you're right about the medal count. I don't know why anyone's surprised -- they have the kind of Serious winter we get only in parts of this country, but they get it nationwide. Exile... oh, don't get me started!

  • Reportedly, even though the Putin Federation of Russia was not there, its anthem was sung.

    Also, even though the Canadian Parliament kick out "our sons" from "O Canada," someone didn't tell Jim Cornelison. I remember, though, when "O Canada" had different lyrics in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver (via Hockey Night in Canada) and that was in English.

    Since I had previously posted that the Winter Olympics had become irrelevant, I could live without the nationalism in it, too.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yes, I read that the Russian team sang the Russian anthem (sang it, Blackhawks!) after winning the gold. They didn't care that it wasn't permitted because of the sanctions. I read recently that the lyrics to "O Canada" have changed "in all thy sons" to "in all of us" -- and no, I haven't heard Mr. Cornelison try it that way. The different lyrics you may have heard before different games may be because of different translations -- the bilingual, all-French and all-English versions all need to fit the same music, so they must adjust the words. Mr. Cornelison's bilingual version is excellent, by the way, just as his all-English one is.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    When I was getting it on cable TV, the first issue was that while Roger Doucet sang the first verse in French (and I only could figure out bits of that), he substituted in the second, English, verse, "we stand on guard for rights and liberty." (You Tube) I had the feeling that that had something to do with Quebec secession fever at the time. We got CBLFT (French) not CBC (English), so I don't recall the Toronto version as well, but it was not the version we know, which was sung in Buffalo and Detroit on a regular basis. Quebec City was all French.

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