What a joke NBC’s Olympic coverage is!
A single Olympiad occurred during my time in Europe and, having watched it in two different countries, I was impressed with the coverage both on BBC and also on Italian TV. It was much closer to what I remember from my Soviet days, when during the Olympics, practically every event could be seen on TV in its entirety, either live or earlier recorded, with the focus on the present competition.
Now, NBC has done its darnedest best to prove its uniquely inept approach to covering the Games.
Listen, NBC! I don’t need to hear for the fifth time in a couple of days that a Canadian skier draws inspiration from his severely-handicapped brother, or that his Australian rival is actually a Canadian born in Vancouver who bolted Down Under because of a conflict with Canadian team authorities, or that Chinese figure skating favorites have given 18 years of their lives to their pursuit of a gold medal. I already heard and saw that all on the last night’s broadcast! It is no longer enlightening if you keep repeating it. And it is not even news anymore if you simply re-cut the same video segment differently.
Least of all do I need two minutes of commercial breaks for each four-five minutes of event coverage. Especially when there’s been no athletic performances shown in the last 5-minute segment.
In the three hours of prime-time Olympic coverage that I watched last night, we’ve seen about ten downhill runs, a handful of snowboard cross heats and half a dozen or so figure skating pairs’ programs. With charitable approximation, that’s about 70 minutes of the actual event coverage out of 180 minutes spent in front of the TV. Ridiculous!
Some scheduling decisions are impossible to understand, period. I realize that with the 3-hour difference, some prime-time events are simply occurring too late for the younger kids to stay up and watch, but why would the broadcast of a final of a day-time event be pushed all the way back towards midnight? Kimmy was rather fascinated by snowboard cross, but only quarterfinal runs were shown before her bedtime. Semifinals were slotted in between figure skating performances around 10pm, and even I did not stay up beyond 11pm to see the final run. On the other hand, in one of those prime-time segments, we were treated to a riveting spectacle of a Chinese figure skater throwing a football at the beginning of his warm-ups. Followed by the drawn-out medal ceremony for the aforementioned Canadian skier.
Is there anybody out there who enjoys watching the coverage of one of the biggest sporting events on the calendar with the actual competition taking backseat to fluff? NBC has been at it for as long as I can remember. I suppose exclusive broadcast rights mean that my only alternative is not to watch Olympics at all, and since I do want to watch, I will unwillingly contribute to the ratings that will continue to fool NBC into thinking that their coverage was successful. If only I could move back to London for the couple of these Olympic weeks.