Forget Olympics: Gladiators Takes Gold for Fun

Rocketball and Gauntlet make better TV than all that running and swimming
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2008 7:58 AM CDT
Wrestler Hulk Hogan talks with MTV VJ Lyndsey Rodrigues at MTV studios in Times Square for MTV's "Total Request Live" to promote "American Gladiators", Monday, Jan. 7, 2008, in New York.    (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
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(Newser) American Gladiators wraps up just before the Olympics, and the Games will seem mighty dull by comparison, Ben Mathis-Lilley writes in the Washington Post.  Rooting for the team is what makes watching sports fun, he writes, and it's much easier to root for an ordinary joe playing Rocketball than for "mythical, inhuman-seeming champions" competing in arcane events. "Staggering physical ability, in and of itself, is a boring thing to observe on TV," he writes.

"The NBC Olympics team would be well-advised to produce back story segments that are less inspirational and more banally relatable," Mathis-Lilley writes. "A sprinter who washes his car and does online banking is a sprinter the people can believe in. That's what Gladiators understands that the Olympics don't."