Wodraska: NBC's coverage of Olympics misses the thrill

Published February 20, 2010 5:12 pm
TV » Communication age foils excitement of tape-delayed action
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I've decided we are in a sad state of live coverage of the Olympics when I know less about the outcomes of the numerous reality shows that flood our TV channels -- which often are filmed months in advance of airing -- than I do about who has won what in the Olympics by the time I turn on the TV.

Thanks to NBC's efforts to make the games as dramatic as possible, the network has instead taken much of the fun out of viewing the games, at least for this writer.

In the past if you wanted to avoid knowing the outcomes of events, all you had to do was tell those around you to keep their mouths shut and avoid news broadcasts.

Now, thanks to all of our rapid ways of communicating including Twitter, Facebook, Google alerts and so forth it's almost a certainty we'll know who won what within minutes of an event's conclusion.

For instance, was there really anyone out there following the Olympics who didn't know Lindsey Vonn won the downhill gold medal by the time NBC broadcast the "dramatic" race in the evening?

Even going back to the opening ceremonies, the most surprising thing wasn't how the cauldron was going to be lit, many knew that already once word leaked out onto Twitter and other sites, but the malfunction that left the torchbearers standing their with nothing to light.

The look on Steve Nash's face was priceless and memorable. For the first time in his life he didn't know where to give an assist, and we all sat there saying, "What is going to happen next?"

We haven't said that very often while watching NBC's coverage of these Olympics. The network fills its daytime slots with less popular sports such as curling and cross country while saving the majority of its footage of the main events for its nighttime coverage.

Daytime viewers did get some real drama earlier this week when Slovenian cross country skier Petra Majdic missed a corner during her warm-ups and flew into a ravine.

She injured her back so badly most thought she couldn't compete. But she did, going on to win the bronze medal and collapsing on the snow after her race in agony.

It was real, painful drama broadcast with immediacy that made for good TV.

The rest of it? It's a bit of a snooze.

lwodraska@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">lwodraska@sltrib.com



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