Watching the Olympics made me think some more about all the improvements technology has given sports. Clearly, there were the down sides of technology being used in sports (remember that horrible blue glowing puck that turned into a red streak if there was a slap shot?), but for the most part I appreciate what they’re able to do to make the viewer’s experience more enjoyable.
I’ve talked to people who don’t like the yellow line signifying the first down in football or the line indicating the line of scrimmage, but I think these are wonderful and make it so much easier to tell whether the player got the first down or not. The markers on the sidelines can’t be seen from many camera angles, but the lines are very clear and can be seen any time a player is near the line of scrimmage or first down. What’s not to like?
In the Olympics, there have been many advances. The flags in the pool and track & field lanes showed up in the last Summer Olympics (or perhaps in Sydney). It’s so nice to see at the start of each race which lanes are occupied by swimmers/runners/rowers of each country and to see which country is ahead every time they reach a turn in the pool. Of course, seeing the flags as each swimmer or boat end the race with the 1, 2, & 3 by them popping up as they finish is very nice. You immediately know who got the gold, silver, and bronze medals in the race without having to wait for the results to show up in the complete list.
This year’s addition of the world record time line in swimming was greatly appreciated. Each time Michael Phelps and the many others broke world records, you could see how much they were ahead of the line. It made the races more exciting, since it was often clear who was going to win. Not all of the races were as close as the 4×100 relay when Lezak had his amazing finish or the 400m butterfly race where it looked like Phelps might not get the 8 for 8 gold medals he aimed to attain. The ones that weren’t were made more interesting by seeing the world record pace line chasing the swimmers (or the swimmers chasing it).
I do wonder why a world record line could not be used for the track world records. I’d love to see that line going around the track as the races are going on. I realize that initially the lanes are staggered, but I’d think that they could do a diagonal line or just do a straight line that approximates where the world record would be (have it in line with the time for the middle lane, perhaps). Hopefully, this will be something they add in the London Summer Olympics of 2012.
Tags: flags, Hockey, Michael Phelps, NHL, Olympics, swimming, technology, track & field, world record
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.
Tags: beach volleyball, John Speraw, Mark Spitz, Michael Phelps, NBC, Olympics, swimming, volleyball, world record
Last night’s Olympics coverage had some of the most shocking footage (to me) so far in the Olympics. Although perhaps they should have given Haley Ishimatsu (the 15-year-old diver who just missed qualifying for the platform diving, coming in 14th when the top 12 advanced) a bit more time before her interview, I understand wanting to talk to her before she left for the night. Surprisingly, the reporter asking Haley how it felt to be so close to qualifying and not make it seemed touched moved by Haley’s tears and tried to comfort her. I was shocked. It was nice to see a reporter for NBC seem to care about the feelings of one of the athletes at the Olympics. Normally, it seems like they’re cold-hearted and actually enjoy asking questions like “So, you just missed getting the gold by 1/1000 of a second – how do you feel?” and concentrating on the negative side, rather than saying something like “You just won the silver medal, beating out tons of other athletes – how do you feel?” I appreciate the fact that one of the reporters actually came across as caring about an athlete. I’m sure it won’t last, but it was a nice touch.
The men’s volleyball match against Italy yesterday was definitely exciting. I know that the USA wasn’t expected to win and it was a huge upset, but clearly I was rooting for the USA and was going nuts watching them. I’d be rooting for them anyway, but with UCI’s men’s volleyball coach (John Speraw) there as an assistant coach to the team, I really want them to do well! I’m excited that the men’s volleyball team moved on to the medal round and I hope to see them play for the gold. Go USA!
Of course, watching the women’s beach volleyball finals wasn’t too surprising. I figured Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor would win the gold and be the first team to win back-to-back gold medals in the Olympics (teams often aren’t even the same from Olympics to Olympics, it seems). I’m so happy that they were able to achieve their dream and move on with their lives now, though I’ll miss them in London if they’re too busy with their families to participate. They’re a lot of fun to watch on the AVP tour and in the Olympics. I did think that the Chinese team might win one of the sets against May-Treanor and Walsh. They are a very good team. It’s amazing to me that May-Treanor and Walsh were able to get through two entire Olympics without losing a single set. They did face set points against other teams, but they never actually lost a single set to another team in the Olympics. That’s amazing.
Usain Bolt broke the 200m world record Michael Johnson set in the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996. Many felt that Johnson’s record was untouchable, but Bolt proved them wrong. Even people who aren’t interested in track & field seem interested in world records being broken.
Those who were talking about all the excitement being over when Michael Phelps was done swimming and the gymnastics had ended are really missing out on the volleyball, beach volleyball, diving, track & field and many other sports that are still going on (it’d take too long to list them all). I can understand the people who are sick of hearing about the “Redeem Team” and not being interested in basketball (I feel the same), but there are tons of other sports to watch – even BMX racing, which can be kind of fun to watch. The gymnastics showcase pieces are enjoyable, too. It’s good to see the athletes relax after winning their medals and have fun out there. I realize I’m not biased, since I’m clearly addicted to the Olympics, but a lot of world records have been broken in Beijing and many are starting to argue what I believe (that Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all time – he’s only 23 and he’s already surpassed the lifelong totals of everyone who’s ever participated in the Olympic games – imagine what he can do since he’s not done in the Olympics yet). How can one not be interested in the Olympics with so much happening?
Tags: beach volleyball, diving, gymnastics, interview, John Speraw, Kerri Walsh, Michael Phelps, Misty May-Treanor, NBC, Olympics, reporters, swimming, track & field, volleyball, world record