NBC Olympics equals “No Bolt Coverage Olympics”
Posted by silentarchimedes on August 17, 2008
The decisions by NBC during this 2008 Olympics has been mind-boggling, to say the least. If they are so worried that fans will turn away after Michael Phelps quest for eight golds are over, they should have been doing a better job preparing and accentuating other popular events. Here are some decisions by NBC that have made many Olympic fans frustrated:
1. NBC equals No Bolt Coverage. If you are into track and field, like I am, you knew that Tyson Gay’s chances for gold in the Olympics were gone when he went down with a hammie in the 200m US trials 2 months ago. You also knew that as good as Asafa Powell is, he is a choker at big meets. Yet, NBC continued to focus on a dream final of Powell, Gay and Usain Bolt. Bolt’s performance in the 100 has been totally dominating since he started running it 13 months ago. With his care-free, happy, dancing Jamaican attitude, he was the perfect athlete to introduce and show to the American viewership. Instead NBC never showed the most amazing 9.69s world-record breaking 100m final live. It was shown more than 13 hours later, after Phelps historical swim, near midnight on the east coast.
2. Why are Michael Phelps swimming events not shown live on the west coast? Instead they are shown tape-delayed or hours later? Their explanation that showing it live on prime-time increases viewership is morally flawed. A true sports fan, although a minority in total viewership, wants to see a historic event live at all costs. Imagine watching the Super Bowl on the west coast hours after it happened because of this reason? It’s just wrong. If necessary put it on twice, live and prime-time. It’s not like the events take 2 hours to complete. It’s a few minutes! You don’t even have to put it on NBC. Put it on cable, MSNBC!
3. What is NBC’s infatuation with beach volleyball? As much as I love beach volleyball, it’s not really a sport I want to see at night during the Olympics. I get to see it often enough on TV. Yes, we get the point that the women are in bikinis, but this is NBC. It’s not like they can really show the shots that men want to see (ie from behind, close-ups, esp of the Brazilians). So we are shown lots of women’s beach volleyball with too few spikes and blocks and too many dinks from afar. If you are going to stick to volleyball, I prefer indoor volleyball, which I never get to see except Olympic time. The times they did show it was very fun to watch. There were enough jump serves, digs, blocks, spikes, dives to last me a lifetime!
4. I feel for Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson. This one is not so much NBC fault, although by completely focusing on Michael Phelps, the most awesome 1-2 punch by the US women’s gymnasts was neglected for most of the days. The US has never finished 1-2 in the women’s individual all-around. What Liukin and Johnson accomplished would have been the main story of any other Olympics. Too much attention was focused on the age of the Chinese gymnasts and not on the positives of other gymnasts.
5. Are there other countries in the Olympics besides China and the U.S.? The way NBC has focused on Chinese (rightfully) and American athletes it almost feels like this is a two-country Olympics. I never would have known from the coverage that the Aussies are third in medals count, or that Great Britain has the third number of golds, or that Kazakhstan has 8 medals.
In the end, the 2008 Olympics will be defined by two topics – China and Michael Phelps. Everyone knew that going into the Olympics, and nothing was going to change that. The only one capable of drawing deserved attention to other athletes, such as Liukin, Johnson, Torres, Bolt, Lochte, Nadal, and Wariner, is NBC.
My related Olympic posts:
- Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt? Who had the greater Olympic achievement?
- Olympics – Usain Bolt and the new generation of men’s 100m sprinters