Olympic flame has Byrned out

Has anyone seen my Olympic spirit? Though I gave it the old college try, I just can't find it. Perhaps someone out there can help me.

I struggled to find a way to get interested in the Olympics from the get-go. The over-indulgence of the men's hockey team, qualifying rounds and, just as we see every four years, the judging in figure skating is mind-boggling.

The lead up to men's hockey gagged me. The talk that this year's team was reminiscent of 1980's Miracle on Ice just reached too far. How in the world can a team of millionaire hockey players be compared to a bunch of ragtag college players? It left me shaking my head.

I was all set to give men's snowboard cross a try. I couldn't wait until I could see four snowboarders head down a track at the same time. Only, I had to wait hours through qualifying to get there. Actually, I didn't get there. The boredom of watching one snowboarder at a time killed me.

One event where I'll just have to face acceptance is figure skating. When Cody Hay and Anabelle Langlois out-pointed USA's Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig in pairs during the short program, I realized the judging would always be moronic. Langlois fell, the Canadian duo stumbled through their routine and, at the time, they were positioned in second place. D-u-n spells done.

I had to put all this aside. I'm a sports writer, so I have to be compelled by the Olympics, don't I?

I forced myself to watch the USA beat Canada in hockey. I'm glad I did because that felt good. There's nothing like beating the favorites on their home ice. Should we beat Finland today, we're playing for their gold. It'll be USA's first gold since 1980. Darn it, I just did it.

Thank goodness for Apolo Ohno. I've truly enjoyed his run in short-track speed skating. He's got the name for speed skating, and the sport is fun to watch as four skaters round the track right on the heels of each other.

The medal count has brought me closest to my Olympic spirit. The USA has a precarious lead over the Germans for total medals, and it's exciting to see if we can hang on. Germany was supposed to blow the field away, and yet the Americans are giving them a run for the money.

In all of that excitement, I've had to deal with NBC. As my co-worker and hockey-fan extraordinaire Erin Taylor said, "Why is the game on tape-delay when we're close to the same time zone as Vancouver?"

That was Wednesday regarding USA hockey against Switzerland. I'm sure it was because NBC thought they could get more viewers at 2 p.m. than if they televised it live at 1.

Unnecessary tape delays like this are just bad business. While I wait for NBC to televise an event, I just click on its Web site and find out the results before the event gets on the air. Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket. It leaves me glued to the TV, I tell you.

NBC's latest fiasco with the Olympic games leaves me with one question - why do I care? I shouldn't really, there's something in my soul telling me to let it go. I can't though. I want my Olympic spirit.