NEWS BLOG (WSAU) I like the Olympics. It’s a magnificent display of competition. Criticizing the games is a bit like finding fault with someone’s birthday party. But, here it goes. Four criticisms amid a feast of sports:
First, Olympic coverage on NBC tries too hard. They try to flood me with personal stories about athletes I’ve never heard of before to pique my interest in sports I watch only once a year. I watch gymnastics once every four years. It doesn’t ruin my day if one athlete wins and one loses. A Packers loss gets me down; I shrug off whether this-or-that swimmer or cyclist takes home gold or not.
Second, keeping the results of the Olympics secret until prime-time is a losing battle. NBC would rather we “discover” how our basketball team did at night, even when they play at 9 in the morning. Good luck with that. Reuters, which provides much of the international coverage at wsau.com, tends to have Olympic results long before NBC wants the American audience to know.
Next, Friday’s opening ceremonies. I get that the host-nation wants to show off. It’s a chance to share your culture and heritage with the rest of the world. But these events have become entirely too long… like a halftime show that won’t end. The parade of athletes is long enough. A half-hour of host-nation bravado before or after is more than enough.
Lastly, in watching the men’s basketball game on Sunday morning – it’s obvious that international referees have never seen the likes of Kobe Bryant or Lebron James. And it's obvious that travelling is called differently in international play than it is in the NBA. There’s nothing wrong with that. But every close call went against the Americans. That doesn’t matter against weak, opening round opponents. It will in the medal rounds. Let’s hope it doesn’t cost us the gold.
Otherwise… enjoy the games.