Comparing How We See, To How We Portray Curling

My Question: How has the sport of Curling in America become stereotyped through media coverage compared to Canada, and what characteristics of athleticism does Curling maintain to keep it a Winter Olympic sport?

Andrew Billings’ article talks about a sense of nationalism in terms of the United States’ NBC broadcast of the Olympics. Curling is just not known to be an American cultural sport and Americans want to see their country succeed which brings ratings to the network. While this article talks mostly about how NBC intentionally broadcasts successful US Olympic sport events, it can be applied to my argument tying in the fact that because we are not visually exposed to the sport of Curling through Olympic broadcasts, we cannot appreciate the sport. I want to use this article to not point fingers at NBC, but compare and contrast as to if our US men and women’s Curling teams were more successful, perhaps more primetime coverage would be provided. The article continues to talk about how the network must tell a story about these athletes to personalize the experiences we the viewers have. I plan on talking about how the barriers of entry into this sport are very low, thus broadcasting Curling athlete interviews would be no different than interviewing an athlete from your local Curling club.

The article by Don Morrow introduces us to his view of Olympic masculinity through media portrayal. Starting with the 1976 games and going up through 2000, this article analyzes Canadian newspapers and their considered representations of masculinity. I plan on using this article to help define what the main masculine discourses are surrounding other Olympic sports, and applying that to what Curling is lacking in to help see why these negative stereotypes surrounding the sport are present. As Morrow leads up to the 2000’s, he talks about the commercialization of the Olympics and how sponsorship of athletes had taken off. I found this to be great evidence of how the sport of Curling becomes weak because of lack of sponsorship, meaning lack of media coverage, meaning no exposure to a viewing audience.

Wieting and Lamoureux’s article gives a good background history of the sport of Curling starting with its origins and how it developed into a Winter Olympic sport especially in Canada. They talk specifically about how the 1998 games had NO coverage of Curling whatsoever on television in the US. This is where I want to compare Canadian broadcasts of the sport, to American broadcasts and how they began to develop as time went on. These authors address the amount of local integrity of the sport in Canada compared to the global marketing of Curling. I want to expose the vast differences between these by explaining the cultural characteristics born into the sport itself, thus arguing my point of why it should be an Olympic sport.

 Citations:

Billings, Andrew C. “Conveying the Olympic Message: NBC Producer and Sportscaster Interviews Regarding the Role of Identity.” Journal of Sports Media. 4.1 (Spring 2009): 1-23. Print. <http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_sports_media/v004/4.1.billings.pdf&gt;.

Wieting, Stephen G., and Danny Lamoureux. “Curling in Canada.” Culture, Sport, Society. 4.2 (2001): 140-153. Print. <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/713999820&gt;.

Morrow, Don. “Olympic Masculinity: An Analysis of Canadian Newspapers During the 1976,1988,and 2000 Olympic Games.” Sixth International Symposium for Olympic Research. (2002): 123-134. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. <http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/ISOR/ISOR2002p.pdf&gt;.

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One Response to Comparing How We See, To How We Portray Curling

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    Nice job finding articles that relate to a less well-studied sport, and specifically how you wish to study it. I was having a conversation with a friend from Canada about watching the Olympics in a country other than your own. She shared how this experience reveals how nation-centric the broadcast really is. She found the experience of watching the Olympics outside Canada jarring, as it revealed how much national ideology is embedded in the experience (and she’s watched them in 4 different countries, not just the U.S.).

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