Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Olympics on Television

I've certainly been enjoying the Olympics from Beijing, China, especially following Michael Phelps' extraordinary achievement of eight gold medals in swimming, the most in a single Games by an athlete. Usain Bolt of Jamaica has also excelled with a new world record of 19.30 seconds in the 200 meter track race and the first gold medalist since 1984 in two sprint races.

However, in the Bay Area NBC's prime time broadcast of the Games beginning at 8:00 PM lasts until late at night, even though they are on tape delay by three hours from the East Coast. This has also been commented on by Gwen Knapp of The San Francisco Chronicle since it prevents younger viewers from seeing some of the sports, saying that the "next generation of Olympic viewers has gone to bed before some of the best events ended." At least the scheduling is an improvement from the broadcast in 2004 Athens and 2006 Torino when the events were delayed by almost a day. It is easier to avoid finding out the results before NBC broadcasts the sports when they are almost live. In baseball, all the games are shown live, especially national broadcasts like the All-Star Game and the World Series. That way all of America sees the show at the same time.

NBC does provide extensive coverage of the Olympics, with lots of video at showing a wide variety of sports on demand. The presenter Bob Costas is one of the best in broadcasting, providing interviews with prominent personalities and commentary on sports. The Olympics is a spectacle bringing people from all over the world together, helping them to learn more about each other and celebrate the achievements of the greatest athletes on the planet.

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