I know that there have been a lot of complaints all over the blogosphere about the tape delay (especially for the West Coasters) used for the Olympics, and even though I don't necessarily agree with the logic used to defend it, it seems futile to keep beating that dead horse. They aren't going to change it, so I just deal with it by avoiding the local news, Twitter updates or Internet sport sites until late at night. However, I do have some other issues with the telecasts, particularly during primetime, that are really starting to take some of the joy out of the Winter Games for me.
Limited or Non-Existent Coverage of Many Sports
You know what some of the most awesome sporting events I've seen so far have been? Women's aerials qualifying rounds, the biathlon and the exhausting cross-country events. Those aerial rounds were filled with jaw-dropping twists and accidents, which would surely thrill a bloodthirsty American audience, while the biathlon had guns (always a crowd-pleaser). And I've never seen people as out-of-breath as the cross-country skiers who practically collapsed at the end of their runs -- not even on The Biggest Loser. And then there's the oddly fascinating sport of curling. Although I can understand why a several-hours-long curling match (along with all of the early rounds of hockey) might be relegated to MSNBC or USA during the day, at the very least NBC could show the highlights of all of these during the evening, so those of us who have jobs and overloaded DVRS can at least see the events in all their glory on those expensive televisions we got suckered into buying.
Go Team USA!
I'm not sure how it is in other countries, but it seems like we see every American athlete's Olympic attempt, even if that athlete is the worst in his/her event, while athletes from other countries are really only shown if they are in medal contention. For example, I've watched curling just about every day it's been on and the only times that I've seen teams other than the U.S. men or women is when they've been playing against the U.S. or when the broadcasters needed to fill 15 minutes after a match ended earlier than expected. Maybe I'm missing secret coverage somewhere because I don't have the proper kind of cell phone? And the only reason that we even got to see a bit of hockey Sunday night was because the American team beat Canada in a big upset. If Canada had won, I bet that news barely would have merited a blip on Bob Costas' radar.
Not Enough Full-Televised Events
I do understand editing, and the fact that the typical American viewer might not want to watch every single ski contender in the preliminary rounds of the Super G, or each and every attempt at the skeleton by all of the women insane enough to try it, but there are those of us who would watch it all if it were televised somewhere. I specifically cleared out my DVR ahead of time to make room to record all the Olympic programs... only to discover that not everything can be found even on smaller cable channels. In this day and age, I guess they expect people to watch online, but I stare at a computer all day every day and would love to have the old-fashioned alternative of sitting in front of the TV and showing my kid some crazy fun sports. Why isn't there a station devoted to showing events in their entirety (even if they weren't actually live)? It seems like a no-brainer. I'm sure I'm not alone in craving 24-hour Olympic coverage. Or am I?
Too Much Info About Some Athletes, Not Enough About Others
If I had to recite the entire biography of Lindsey Vonn, I could. But if you ask me about two-time silver medalist Julia Mancuso, all I can tell you is that she's attractive and likes to wear a tiara when she wins. Similarly, I can tell you all about snowboarder Hannah Teter and her charity work and love of maple syrup, or all about Australia's gold medal winner Torah Bright and how she told her parents to skip the Olympics and just come to her wedding but they surprised her and came anyway. But all I can tell you about bronze medalist Kelly Clark is that she likes to sing (badly) before she heads into the halfpipe. Don't even get me started on how the networks are so obsessed with Apolo Ohno that they are analyzing why he yawns. And speaking of which...
Boundaries, They Don't Have Them
In this day and age of Twitter and TMZ, there's an all-access pass to every detail of every celebrity's life, but I'm not sure that should be used as a template for NBC's Olympics coverage. While I would seriously appreciate more of the actual sports being shown, I don't necessarily need to see poor Kelly Clark warbling like a bad American Idol contestant, or for the cameras to capture private (and sometimes profanity-filled) moments between a coach and a player (and no, I don't think it is the fault of Shaun White's coach that he didn't censor himself because there were cameras around). It's one thing to do an interview with someone before or after an event, but it is another thing entirely to trail after them all day (even if they are a public person) to try to get their personal kiss-and-cry moments. That's what should be edited out, not the actual sporting events.
Non-Sport Coverage in Primetime
Look, I kind of love oddball Mary Carillo and her little segments and often stay up until the wee hours of the morning to watch her interviews with the athletes. But seeing her do a profile of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for ten minutes or more, or chat with Bob Costas about really nothing at all, isn't what I tune into the Olympics for. While I did kinda enjoy learning more about the Mounties (who wouldn't?), I'd rather have had that valuable airtime spent on one of the aforementioned neglected sports. Run Mary's segment that will air after the 11 PM news or during the highly Olympics-centric Today show instead.
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