It’s Wednesday and I’m already sick of the Olympics

NBC is not presenting the games in a way worth watching

I have been a loyal fan of the Olympics since the 1964 summer games in Tokyo.  I have fond memories of the “Miracle on Ice” at the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, Gymnast Nadia Comaneci’s perfect score at the 1976 Summer games in Montreal, the controversial U.S. Men’s Basketball team of the 1972 Summer Munich games where they rightfully refused their Silver medals, and all of the many female ice skating champions starting with Peggy Flemming.  Sadly, I watched the Munich massacre at the 1972 games.

If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the 1968 Summer games in Mexico City where Bill Toomey won the decathlon, George Foreman came to prominence as the Heavyweight Boxing Champion, High jumper Dick Fosbury taught the world his “Flip,” Bob Beamon set his miraculous long jump, Bob Seagren showed us a new way to pole vault, Debbie Meyer jumped into the pool and came up with three swimming gold medals, and much more.  It was an extraordinary games for the United States.

At the time, ABC commanded the Olympic air waves.  Roone Arledge, the legendary producer, did an outstanding job.  His anchor was, of course, Jim McKay of “Wide World of Sports” fame.  As they only had one television channel at the time, ABC spent less time of fluff pieces about the athletes and concentrated more on showing the actual games.  Their coverage was so good, viewers were riveted to their sets.

Since NBC took over though, my interest has slowly waned.  Yes, I watched the pageantry of the opening ceremonies last Friday night, but I grew disenchanted over the first weekend.  Their coverage of the bicycle races were nice but after a few miles, with little coverage of American athletes, I fell asleep.  Later, I watched some kayak racing and just as I was getting interested in it, I was switched to beach volleyball, then back to bicycling (snore).  Aside from swimming, I saw little of American athletes.

A 4

Then there is the problem of NBC anchor Bob Costas, the Howard Cosell of the 21st century, which is certainly not a compliment.  How can someone say so much about so little?

Prior to the start of the games, a Gallup Poll (Aug 2nd) was released claiming Americans’ interest in watching Olympics has tumbled to a new low.  In it, they claimed, “Forty-eight percent of Americans say they plan to watch a ‘great deal’ or ‘fair amount’ of the 2016 Summer Olympics.  This is a sharp drop from 59% in 2012 and easily the lowest percentage planning to watch compared with the past four Summer Games.”

I think the problem here is NBC has turned serious athletic competition into a fluff piece.  No, I do not want to hear Costas and company drone on about the emotional character of the athletes, it’s pathetic.  Like ABC, let their actions speak their words.  Also, the plethora of commercials has become overbearing.  Why can’t we buy uninterrupted coverage via cable?

So, yes, by Wednesday I had enough and I’ll be joining the Gallup 52% who aren’t watching.

Oh yea, one more thing, bring back baseball and softball.  If they can make room for soccer, hockey, basketball, golf and tennis, they can certainly accommodate the greatest ball game of all time.  Either that or introduce NASCAR stock car racing.

Keep the Faith!

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