The Olympics are coming to a close this weekend, and this here blog has run silent, run deep throughout the Olympic Mayhem.
Because I have a really hard time not buying in, on some level. I waited, day after day, to watch track events. Many of my favorite websites became verboten after 11 am my time, because I did want to watch the prime time version of the Olympics, and I didn't want it spoiled, no matter how terrible NBC's handling of it was (and it was often terrible).
I didn't care much about the tape delay. I have a job, and wasn't going to be watching a lot of events as they happened anyway. But good Christ, the jingoism and poor decisions combined and abounded in terrible ways.
NBC decided that Synchronized Diving needed to be prime time, because the US had focused on that event as a way of acquiring medals. Hey, that's a great strategy for the US Diving people. That doesn't make Synchronized Diving more watchable than say, top quality handball or field hockey or water polo.
And that's what killed NBC's coverage--their absolute belief that Americans don't care about great moments in the Olympics; that Americans just care about Americans. NBC followed that to line of reasoning to its breaking point--that during the final few days and evenings, Americans would rather see Bob Costas interview the Beach Volleyball tandem of Walsh/May-Treanor yet again than actually cover a sport.
Meanwhile, the Decathlon, which featured two Americans both pushing to break the World Record in the event--got what? 10 minutes for each day? that's 1 minute per event. The field events in the Track and Field, which used to be covered in detail and with drama where often explained in five minute chunks.
Pole Vault, High Jump, Long Jump, Discus, Shot Put, etc--those were all Blink And You'll Miss It Events. Why? Because Beach Volleyball IS JUST THAT IMPORTANT. You can't just watch what is essentially a really watered down version of real volleyball, you also need to set aside 10 minutes for the heavily favorited winners who actually battled with the odds and won to be interviewed.
Did Bob Costas, at any point, speak to a non-American? Did Andrea Kremer begin an interview with anything besides, "What was going through your head when you touched the wall and you realized you won?"
If you leave this Olympics thinking that it was poorly produced, and you live in England? Forget you guys, because the BBC put on a show. If you live the USA, and you think NBC did a bad job, well then, you are quite right. Let's all now get ready to enjoy The Spice Girls on tape delay.
One take away from this Olympics--I don't know if it is possible to put into words what Usain Bolt has done. I think people are like, "Yeah, people are faster, and tracks are faster, and whatever." Usain Bolt's times will stand for awhile, I think.