I pit Americans pitting Olympic television coverage

Yup, it happens every two years around the Olympics: message board users everywhere, at least those from the United States, gather together in unity to condemn NBC Olympic television coverage. I’ve got no love for the network, but so much of the criticism is undeserved, IMHO.

“They show too many sob stories, wah wah wah!” The sappy “up close and personal” stories were predominant in the 1990s, when NBC was trying to attract more female viewers to the games. NBC learned their lesson, but they still haven’t lived down their legacy of glurge. In the past decade, the stories are shorter and much less frequent, and they tend to air more during figure skating, ice dancing and other sports that attract a large female audience.

“They only show the popular sports where Americans are likely to win a gold medal, wah wah wah!” Hey, they’re trying to attract viewers, and they’re not going to do that by airing obscure sports in prime time. Yes, message board users may be clamoring for more biathlon coverage, but the masses want their figure skating and downhill skiing. The NBC-owned cable networks are pretty good at showing more obscure sports, including those where Americans aren’t competing.

“They do too much cheerleading for American athletes, wah wah wah!” What country doesn’t have coverage that is biased toward their own athletes? I receive both American and Canadian networks, and the level of cheerleading on the CTV is an order of magnitude more intense than on NBC. There was quite a bit of attention given towards Alexandre Bilodeau’s gold meal in the moguls on NBC. Look at the NBC schedule online, and there’s plenty of Team Canada coverage on the cable networks.

Wait, I forgot … when those in other countries cheer on their own, it’s an exhibition of national pride and unity. When Americans cheer on their own, it’s jingoistic patriotism. :rolleyes:

A followup: guess what? I’m watching CTV right now, and there’s a “Power of Community” sob story about a First Nations athlete who overcame bullying and adversity to become a world-class snowboarder.

Then again, I guess it’s okay when the Canadians so it, because it’s a demonstration of unity and support for their athletes. When the Americans do it, it’s sappy glurge.

U.S. TV coverage blows goats.

There is far too much “up close and personal” bullshit and far too little coverage of
obscure and less popular sports. The announcers mostly suck too, but I’ve found them to be a lot more balanced in their commentary. I’d like it better if they’d just stop talking once in a while.

I understand the commercial aspect. But when the almighty dollar gets in the way of giving as many events the spotlight they deserve, it sucks.

ETA: Fuck CTV if they’re doing the same thing. Fuck them in thier asses with a stick.

I used to watch Canadian coverage of the Olympics when I lived in North Dakota and got the Canadian broadcast channels. They did some of the same things as the Americans, they did back stories and they focused on Canadian athletes. I didn’t find it as obnoxious, though. Part of it was that I think the tone was different, a little more muted and understated. Another part of it is that they were always underdogs. They would be hopeful that a Canadian could just get a medal. They weren’t obsessed with dominating every other country and winning the most gold. They were just hoping to win any gold at all.

I guess it’s as simple as the difference between seeing Goliath do it or seeing David do it.

Or to draw a better analogy, America is always acting like Kanye West, and every other country is Taylor Swift.

ETA, I’d really like to see some of the more obscure sports too, and the tape delays relaly piss me off.

I think it’s because Canadian television broadcasts have desaturated color levels compared to those in the US.

And now there’s now a sob story about a Canadian speed skater. He’s practically crying as he tells his story.

WAHHHHHH I would be happy if they spent more time showing more sports. I like to watch the events and competition, which is what I watch for. I find the endless gabbing to take away from sporting activities. After an event, they should talk to the athletes then go on to next event. One medals ceremony looks like another.
When I had access to Canadian TV coverage in the past, I could go from event to event and skip all the "up close and personals’.

You realize that events for the day haven’t started yet so there’s no live sporting stuff to show, right?

I thought the biggest criticism was all the tape delay. NBC tape-delayed the opening ceremonies for the west coast. Think about that for a minute.

My problem with the coverage isn’t that they cover the popular stuff but that they ignore the rest of it. Yesterday there was only one broadcast of events during the day 12-5. I’m sure there was more then one event going on but they were only showing one and a lot of it was tape delayed. At night the choices were the primetime coverage or women’s hockey. I’m glad they are showing so much of the women’s tournament but why couldn’t they show events all day while they are happening.

My guess is that they are staffed for Olympics on the other side of the world and so are forced to treat this one the same way but it’s annoying when I know stuff is happening that will never be shown on tv and the NBC channels are showing a rerun of something.

I have to give NBC just a little credit, showing a lot of the Nordic combined and some biathlon Sunday. Of course, a lot of it is because the Alpine events were postponed. But how much do we need to hear about that downhiller bitch and her stupid shin? Spare us the up close and personal crap. Show competition.

Years ago curling was shown late at night . It had little interest to Americans and the Olympic coverage was not interested in fostering some. Now you have to wander the TV stations about looking for Womens hockey. Which by the way has been bad. Canada won 18 to 0 . I watched some biathalon yesterday. If they were shooting at each other it would make better TV. Paint ball would add a lot to it.
It seems all TV cares about is womens figure skating. When that is on, no other sport exists.

NBC coverage has actually been pretty good this year. Lots of coverage of the sports; not much personal stories.

Actually, as an avid watcher of the Olympcis on TV for over 30 years, the coverage has been pretty good for the last few Olympics. I think the last time coverage was really bad was 1996 Atlanta. Of course the worst coverage of all time was 1984 Los Angeles.

Women’s figure skating hasn’t even started yet, so there’s no way any of it could have been shown.

In other years people complain that obscure sports like biathlon isn’t shown. You can’t please everybody.

You’re an idiot.

Just because other countries also have embarrassingly jingoistic Olympic commentary doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing. Plenty of Australians and Canadians that i know get annoyed with all the cheerleading bullshit and all the sappy human interest stories in their Olympic coverage.

The main reason that most of the criticism on these boards is of NBC’s American coverage is the same reason that much of the general discussion here is about American topics: it’s a predominantly American board.

I pit the coverage for two reasons:

[li]It’s time-delayed, even though I live in the same timezone.[/li][li]Less is more. Many times the commentators should just STFU, especially Bob Costas.[/li][/ul]

Didn’t say it had. This is not the first Olympics on TV. I watched Biathalon. I watch everything I can find . I do not watch talk ,medals ceremonies and commercials.

Elmwood, why do you hate hating America?

NBC’s coverage isn’t great but it’s better than it used to be. The 1996 Atlanta Games were unbelievably dreadful - certainly the worst run and worst covered Olympics I can remember. It’s been better ever since. I’m making a point of switching from NBC to CTV ccoverage a lot and the U.S. coverage is more or less just as good. It’s delayed by about two minutes, hardly a matter of concern. (I’m in the EST; if they’re delaying it by hours in other time zones I agree that would suck.)

I don’t think Canadian coverage is all that fantastic, either. I am endlessly frustrated by their remarkable unwillingness to share information about what the fuck is going on, and CBC was just as bad when they broadcast it in previous Games. You can watch CTV for a half hour and see nothing but people at desks and “reporters” reporting on nothing and not even necessarily bering anywhere near a sporting venue, never once have anyone saying when the next event will start or when you can expect the day’s marquee events to take place. I’ve not once seen an annoucer say “Okay, at 5 PM we’ll have Event Y, and at 7 PM we expect to start Event Z,” or anything like that. I suspect this might be deliberate; if they tell you something like that you might go do something else until the event you want to watch comes on. I don’t want to see idiots babbling behind a desk, I wanna watch people skating 40 miles an hour, and if that’s not until 5 I’m going to do something useful until it’s on.

As to whether they’re doing a good job showing obscure events, there just isn’t enough going on yet to say. The Winter Games aren’t as busy as the Summer and we won’t see how they do with multitasking until this week really gets going. But I don’t recall Canadian coverage being all that fantastic in 2008.

I also usually hate NBC’s coverage, and I agree that Bob Costas needs to exercise his right to remain silent more frequently. That said, I have to commend them for announcing that they will not show the video of that Georgia luger again.

That said, I really got pissed off at the opening ceremony: the Uzbekistan team came marched in between the Americans and the Canadians. Did they get their face time? Of course not - NBC was too interested in showing the American athletes (and the same couple athletes at that - Lindsey Jacobellis and that snowboarder with the PreRaphaelite girl hair!).

Okay, I understand - NBC doesn’t really care how many viewers it has in Uzbekistan. But as Costas pointed out, for a lot of the smaller countries’ athletes, walking in the Opening Ceremony is their big Olympic moment, their time on the world stage. Frankly, I’d rather see a skier from some small town in Uzbekistan seeing his dreams come true and getting his mind blown, than see an American snowboarder who’s in his second Games and who I know we are going to see 15 times during the Games!

Also, when the stadium had a moment of silence for the Georgian luger, wouldn’t it have been moving to put the camera on the Georgian team? Naw, let’s just show another shot of Bode Miller.

Okay, rant complete. I’ll shut up now.

Sometimes I feel like people complaining about NBC’s coverage of the Olympics, especially their ignoring lesser events, are simply recycling their rants from previous Olympics, rather than watching this one. In the few days I’ve watched, I’ve seen men’s and women’s freestyle skiing, the biathalon, ski jumping, luge, short track and long track speedskating, as well as the headlining events. They showed the entire cross country segment of nordic combined! In fact, I’ve seen coverage of just about every sport that has even held an event to this point in the Olympics. It certainly doesn’t seem like NBC is giving the less popular sports particularly short shrift.

I’ll also point out a pleasant surprise from last night; during the pairs figure skating, the NBC announcers spent most of their time during the actual performances keeping their yaps shut, and spoke when there was some element of the performance that merited comment. Most of the detailed commentary was reserved for replays. That was nice.