Reality Check for The Olympics

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Oh, the pomp, the pageantry, the skaters, the skiers, the luge, and sneaky judges. You say Turin. They say Torino. It doesn't matter. The Winter Olympics are here again.

Faster than you can say "extreme sports," the new class of snowboarding, freestyling, short-tracking X-game events have put the USA in robust medal contention in Italy. But who cares?

It's all about top speeds: luge — 85 miles per hour! Bobsled — 88! It's about drama: will Bode Miller sober up? Did Michelle Kwan deserve her slot? It's also about grace, and heart, and athleticism, and ratings.

As the Turin games begin, hear how the Olympics go nose-to-nose with the champions of reality TV.


Mark Starr, in Turino, Italy for Newsweek and covering his ninth Olympics

Sam Walker, sports columnist for The Wall Street Journal

Robert Thompson, Professor of Media and Popular Culture at Syracuse University and founding director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television

This program aired on February 10, 2006.


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