Every two years, the Olympics roll around and amazing specimens of humanity like
For a country with an epidemic of
Nevertheless, despite the feelings of inadequacy they inspire, the Olympics are my favorite sporting event. I am a fair-weather fan for my college teams. I am easily bored by most professional sporting events. I just don't care about sports for the sake of sport. When I get interested, it is because something is at stake. A team from my alma mater makes an appearance at a bowl game. A team from my city is in the playoffs. It's the World Series or the
I suppose that is the appeal of the Olympics; something big is on the line in every event, even if it's pingpong. The only exception to this may be basketball, where the USA is so dominant that it's boring (except when a little country such as Lithuania puts a scare in the latest version of the NBA dream team). That is why it can be fun watching a sport you have never seen before with athletes from countries other than your own. You know you are watching the top competitors in the world doing something you could probably never master yourself because you are no longer young enough or strong enough and you never had that much coordination anyway.
TV broadcasters figured out long ago that the Olympics is not an event for avid fans of particular sports, it is a ritual celebration of human endurance and superhuman feats. It is the stories that matter more than the scores. When
If there has been anything close to a controversy in this Olympics -- other than the badminton players who were trying to lose a match in order to face a weaker opponent in the subsequent round -- it has been the way NBC has kept the biggest stories embargoed until prime time. Yes, a fan can now see nearly every event presented live on cable channels and on the Internet, but not the hot tickets, as defined by NBC. Those are largely the big five: swimming, diving, gymnastics, track and field and beach volleyball.
In past years, there were complaints against NBC for giving so much attention to only those sports. Now that all the other sports are available around the clock, the complaint is that NBC is clinging to an old model of broadcast that no longer applies in the digital age when people expect to see whatever they want whenever they want it.
Well, maybe NBC is stuck in the past, but I am weary of the complainers -- the people who think they deserve to get everything for free. News organizations are dying all over America because of that attitude.
NBC spends a lot of money putting together a gigantic effort to deliver the Olympics to us. They deserve to make some money back. Perhaps I am an oddball, but I do not mind waiting to see some of these stories told and, as far as I'm concerned, the storytellers at NBC deserve medals of their own.