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Cranky

Christopher was really under the weather yesterday, 40°C fever and coughing, but somewhat better today. We're staying inside, which is a shame with the fine sunny winter weather.

It doesn't sound like that anyone in the States is happy with the Olympic TV coverage, especially those on the West Coast where everything has been tape-delayed. Here in Germany, the main coverage has been split between the two public networks, ARD and ZDF, switching every evening (as is usual for big sports events like the Olympics, World and European Cup, or World Track and Field Championships). We're 8 hours ahead of Salt Lake City, so the coverage begins about 4pm, the early afternoon events are in prime time, the hard core can keep watching until 5 or 6am. The multilingual satellite channel Eurosport has 24-hour coverage, showing mostly repeats. The digital pay-TV network Prmiere World has 5 sports channels devoted to the Olympics, but we don't subscribe, so we don't have any details.

ARD and ZDF are governed by politicians and financed by monthly fees paid by all TV owners. They can only show commercials between 6 and 8pm, the Olympics are no exception. (Update: I explained more later.) Usually ARD is more stodgy and ZDF more modern, but this time the ARD has the better and more entertaining coverage. They both concentrate on German athletes, of course, and on the traditional sports where the Germans are most successful: luge/bobsled, nordic and alpine skiing, and speed skating.

The highlights of the German coverage so far have been on ARD: Katja Seitzinger teaching Katharina Witt how to ski (and, vice versa, how to skate) and the Bavarian commentator admitting that the only sport being performed at the studio was pouring Weißbier.

Sportwise, the surprise German medals (biathlon and cross-country come to mind) and the 3000 meter skating duel between Friesinger and Pechstein have been the most fun to watch. Like Friesinger, many favorites for gold have been only to win the tin medal... 4th place. Für Vierte gibt's nur Blech!

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