The television broadcasts from the Olympics aren’t merely an act of capturing reality, but an act of creation. TV sporting events are something we make, and they have a tension at their core: On the one hand, we want to feel as if we watched from the stands, but on the other, we want a fidelity and intimacy that is better than any in-person spectating could be. Our desire is for the presentation of real life to actually be better than real life.
Well, they made up the rowing noises and played them during the broadcast of the event, like a particularly strange electronic music show.
On delivering sound when capturing them is drowned out by the visual reporting. There’s even a name for it:
This is sonic fiction. They are making up the sound to get at the truth of a sport.