What Happened, NBC?
As an ardent follower of the Olympic Games every four years, I looked forward to the London Olympics for months before the games began. Of course, I always root for the American team, but this year, since the Games took place in London, I also had a soft spot in my heart for the Brits.
While I don’t get terribly excited over opening and closing ceremonies, I do love to watch world records fall, and I am happy for the teams of all participating nations, respecting all of them.
Nevertheless, this year’s event was disappointing to me. It was not the failure of the US Olympic team. The USA won the most Gold Medals, with the UK third. That was terrific. It was not the failures of some of my favorite athletes. Quite the contrary, Missy Franklin in swimming, Allyson Felix, Sanya Richards-Ross, and Ashton Eaton in track and field, and Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings in beach volleyball provided just a few of the fabulous feats typical of the Summer Games. The problem, in my opinion, was the awful media coverage.
The media must look at future coverage. We can watch NBA pros play basketball any day of the week, so there is no need to air five hundred preliminary matches against amateur teams from third-world countries. Researching the origin of the marathon effort of Pheidippides from a Greek battlefield to Athens in 490 B.C., when the soldier delivered the word of victory, collapsed, and died, one would have to conclude that synchronized swimming has no place in the television spotlight to the detriment of Freestyle Wrestling or the Decathlon.
This year, I felt like my choices were considerably narrowed. Viewers were either forced to remain glued to the TV for a month in hopes of watching an athlete put the shot or clear a high jump bar, or to play hit and miss and suffer through non-traditional Olympic sports preliminary rounds in hopes of catching a glimpse of British star Mo Farah crossing the finish line for Gold in the 10000-meter track final.
NBC, please bring back the old days of Jesse Owens and Paavo Nurmi. Let our youth get inspired by Wilma Rudolph. Please let us wallow in the glory of George Foreman and Sugar Ray Leonard. Allow us to witness the championship efforts of Chris Hoy in primetime, not at 11:30 pm, after we already fell asleep to three hours of diving quarter finals. The Olympics is intended to be a physical contest among the world’s top athletes. Once every four years, you need not be politically correct.