Well obviously they suck because of the stupidity concerning the opening ceremony. While just about every other major country carried it live, we in the US had it tape delayed for prime time. Worse still, it was edited. The march into the stadium by the athletes was a ˜hack job’. Just because a country only has a couple of athletes does not mean that they are insignificant. These young men and women have spent countless hours honing their skills. Sure most of them will go home without a medal, but give them credit for at least trying.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule. In 1988 I was involved with the Calgary winter games. The ˜nerve center’ was a cavernous room containing more than a 100 people, from geeks to timers, from radio nerds to Satellite guys. It was a loud crowd. Well mostly, a strange hush filled mission control when Eddie The Eagle (English ski jumper) took his place at the top of the 90m jump. In fact the whole world watched with baited breath as Eddie ˜snow ploughed™ his way down the ramp, and managed what was a new Olympic record, the shortest legal 90m jump ever recorded. We also had the colorful Jamaican Bobsled team. Neither Eddie not the Jamaicans had any hope of walking away with a coveted medal, but they gave it their all. What more can you ask?

So, having blown the opening ceremonies NBC today launched into actually covering some sports, well sort of. Obviously every country broadcasting wants to cover the efforts of their own athletes. However, there needs to be a balance, viewers want to watch great athletes regardless of which country they represent. NBC skillfully avoided this aspect. There was zero coverage of China winning the first gold in the games. Well, who cares about women shooting air rifles?

They also completely ignored the 60kg mens judo. While shooting BB guns at targets might be boring, Judo is anything but. The super light weight 60kg class is fast and action packed. This is great TV! BTW Russian Arsen Galstyan was the winner. The final bout only lasted 40 seconds, Galstyan scoring a winning ‘ipon’ throw. But NBC could not squeeze in 40 seconds to show it!

Nope, NBC decided that what we all needed to watch was the qualifying rounds women’s Basketball. Watching the (top seeded) US team crush Croatia was a boring and pointless waste of an hour. Another couple of hours was spent on the qualifying rounds of some of the swimming competitions. And right now they are boring the pants off everyone with Volleyball! Watching the (top ranked) US Womens team against underdog Korea is hardly riveting action.

I guess that we should be grateful for small mercies, to the best of my knowledge neither Lawn Bowling, Croquet or Cricket are on the Olympic roster. I could only imagine the NBC coverage if they were, and the US had teams!

The Olympics is not about one country, it is about the wonderful athletes that take part. NBC gets an ‘F’ for Fail on my scorecard. Obviously some people will tell me that I can fix the problem by paying (through the ass) for an enhanced access to live feeds. Sure I could, but if NBC hadn’t been so damn stupid as to pay $1.2 billion for the TV rights they would not need to rape the viewers!

Simon Barrett

2014 update of the situation can be found here.

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