They described Michael Phelps as the greatest American individual athlete of these games. Really? Is that all they want to call him? Michael Phelps is only 23 and has 14 gold medals – more than any other Olympic athlete of all time. He got 8 gold medals this Olympic games (again, more than any other Olympic athlete of all time, we all know Mark Spitz had won 7 gold medals). Seven of these gold medals were obtained with new world records, one with a new Olympic record.
Rowdy Gaines (Olympic swimmer, medalist, & commentator) agrees with me that the case is already closed about Phelps being the greatest Olympic athlete ever. I’m glad I’m not the only one. Considering what he’s already accomplished, how can anyone think otherwise? He’s only 23 and he’s already got 16 Olympic medals. The only person in the history of the Olympics who has more is Larissa Latynina of Russia, who has 18 medals. Phelps will almost definitely surpass that number in London. Then will people like Bob Costas think the case is closed? I hope so.
NBC has done a horrible job choosing what to show during the entire Olympics this time around. I can’t remember worse coverage. They did something similar to what they did last year with the gold medal women’s beach volleyball match. I can’t remember how much of the match they cut out last year, but I think it was the entire first set. That entire match was not available anywhere.
This year, they cut out the entire first set of the gold medal match of the men’s indoor volleyball. They also cut out more than half of the second set and clearly it was good, since the score was close when they decided to show us the rest. They also cut out half of the 3rd set! I can’t believe they did this to the gold medal match. I KNEW as soon as they started showing the entire 4th set that the US had won the gold medal and that they won the match 3-1. NBC was finally showing us a complete set, clearly it was the last one or they wouldn’t have bothered. On the bright side, it was great to see the US win gold! Everyone was clearly so thrilled to win the gold.
What bothers me about the coverage is not that they didn’t show the entire gold medal match in the prime time coverage. I don’t think that’s necessary. Highlights of the game are more than enough for most people watching the closing ceremonies, most likely. However, I think it’s horrible that someone like me who was recording on every channel (except the Olympics Basketball channel, I don’t like basketball) during the Olympics and loves volleyball could not watch the entire match. They should have aired the entire match live or sometime during the day or in the middle of the night for those of us who wanted to see it and then aired the edited version in prime time. I would have been totally fine with fast forwarding to the replay of the end (I would have watched that again) when I got to the prime time coverage, since I’d already seen the entire match. That would be perfectly acceptable. The fact that I could see the entire bronze medal match (and did – it was a great match) and not see the entire gold medal game (which was for the gold and had the US team taking part) makes no sense at all. It’s what NBC chose to do last year with beach volleyball, so clearly they think it’s a good idea. I hope they don’t do anything like that when the games are in London, but I’m sure they will. At least I’ll be at those games, so I’ll already know the scores before I watch the games I missed when I get home and I’m sure it won’t bother me as much.
Overall, I was very disappointed with the coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics by NBC. I hope they realize some of what they did wrong and try to correct it for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010.