Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Olympics Musings

Random thoughts on the XXX Olympiad:

* I've been watching the Olympics since 1968, and I think I've put my finger on the difference between ABC's "Golden Era" coverage and NBC's "Media Era" coverage.  ABC approached the Games as an athletic competition, while NBC approaches them as entertainment.  ABC showed a lot of events on taped delay, so it may not be entirely fair to criticize NBC for that.  But although it's been a long time since ABC covered the Games, I never got the feeling that they were deliberately manipulating the viewing audience; whereas, NBC happily does that on a nightly basis.  I think Sunday's coverage is the perfect example of the evolving (or devolving, if you prefer) approach.  Everyone in the world seemed to agree that the Men's 100 Meter Dash was one of, if not the, signature events of the Games.  To my way of thinking, there is simply no excuse for not showing it live.  And I do recall that even when ABC was showing many events on taped delay during weeknights, on the weekends what we saw was live, to the extent that was possible.  What was inexcusable to me was the way that NBC used the 100 Meter race simply to generate increased ratings in the third hour of a program that was packed to the gunnels with filler.  Of course anyone with any interest in the outcome already knew the outcome, so why make us wait?  Did we really need to see a 36 minute Bob Costas interview with Michael Phelps?  Why couldn't that have been shown in the 11 o'clock hour?

* It saddens me how track and field has fallen in the pecking order of Olympics events.  Track and field has always been the heart and soul of the games, but today it clearly is lower than gymnastics and beach volleyball.  There was a time when an Al Oerter could become an Olympic legend for winning 4 consecutive golds in the discus.  Does anyone remember the last time NBC showed the discus, aside from 3 minutes of highlights?  Again, remember the mantra...this is now entertainment,  not an athletic event.

* Jarring:  NO U.S. runners in the Men's 400 Meter Final?  That's roughly equivalent to the Men's Basketball team not making the medal round.  And the decline in the Men's long jump?  Shocking.

* Forgive me, but a little beach volleyball goes a long way.

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