Friday, August 10, 2012

What You (may have) Missed at the Olympics

It frustrates me when great opportunities are wasted—whatever the circumstances.  I’m frustrated with the Olympics.  That is, I’m frustrated with the Olympics and the way they are covered.  NBC has at its disposal what is, for all intents and purposes, a completely captive audience and yet they still find a way to make the coverage disappointing.  The only things that save this collection of events as a whole are the athletes themselves.  Their performances are extraordinary.  So we watch, riveted by things that we can only dream of doing.

But the Olympics, in my opinion, are an opportunity wasted.  Here is a stage, larger than any other, for the entire world’s peripheral sports, and they still find a way to make them seem peripheral still.  Never ending coverage of sports that don’t need never ending coverage (E.g. live coverage of nearly every water polo and indoor volleyball match), while giving little to no coverage of other sports (E.g.  The amazing drama at the Olympic velodrome got very little coverage) just makes the whole of the experience boring.  I realize that there was more complete coverage online, but let’s not pretend that what is on TV doesn’t get watched the most. 

I spent last week on vacation in Michigan visiting family, so I had some time to scour the TV airwaves for coverage of my beloved cycling events and was left wanting.  After some digging online, I found coverage and complete replays of pretty much any event you could want to watch, which is great.  NBC certainly doesn’t do a great job of bringing these sports to the public eye though. You have to search for them yourself.  This makes zero sense to me.  NBC just invested in airing the Tour de France for quite a few years to come, and they have become a leader in coverage of many other races as well as multisport events.  Why then, is there no primetime cycling or triathlon coverage?  You would think they would want to build those sports in which they have invested. But no, it seemed like try as I might, I couldn't be so lucky to see cycling coverage on any major network.  Maybe I just missed the short segments where cycling aired, but I certainly didn't have any trouble finding water polo coverage.

So this week I’ll do some of their leg work.  Here are links to all the cycling and multisport coverage you can handle—though I think they make you log in to watch it, which is another issue I won’t even get into.

(click on the pics for links)

Anna Meares upset the hometown favorite Victoria Pendleton in the Women's Sprint finals.  During a week of utter British domination at the velodrome.  This was a bright spot for the Aussies, who came into the games with high hopes.  

GB's Jason Kenny upset the French champion Gregory Bauge in the Men's Sprint Final.  This race was plenty exciting.  Well worth watching.  

Chris Hoy was the overwhelming favorite for the Men's Keirin and he delivered.  This is always one of my favorite track events to watch.  There is much to be learned here for sprint positioning and tactics...

It's safe to say that Bradley Wiggins is having one of the best seasons in the history of cycling.  His latest win was in dominant fashion in the Men's Individual Time Trial.  

The Brownlee Brothers took two medals in this Olympics--Gold and Bronze.  Another dominant British performance for sure.  Do you notice a pattern?

The team sprint means one thing: Speed.  This Olympic's winners averaged over 63Kph over 3 laps of the velodrome (that's about 40 mph if you're wondering...).  I bet you can't guess who won.

There is still so much activity on the track and out on the road that I am leaving out.  Check out the NBC sports website and dig around.  There is a lot of great coverage in there.  I just wish they did a better job of plugging sports other than Gymnastics, Swimming or Basketball.  Oh well, there's always next year....Oh, wait.  


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