As the London Olympics begins to get into the meat of its schedule—i.e. track—the quadrennial Olympic sport of criticizing the television coverage is already in full swing. While it’s always easy to rip NBC for a variety of obvious transgressions—Ryan Seacrest, Tom Hammonds, an irrational obsession with Michael Phelps’ mother, endless promotions of its fall lineup—it says here that NBC is still doing a pretty good job.
Certainly, the lack of live coverage of its marquee events is always a sticking point, especially since by the time the Debby Phelps Show…er, Michael is shown, pretty much everyone already knows what happened.
NBC used to call this approach plausibly live which means the telecast is live to tape. The announcers might not know who won, but we do which detracts from the high drama that is the Olympics.
Too bad. But other than showing the event live in mid afternoon and later, in prime time, there isn’t much NBC can do. NBC essentially funds the Olympic Games to the tune of more than $1 billion for the rights to London and toss in another $100 million in production costs. So clearly, NBC has to cast the widest possible net of viewership to have even a chance of breaking even on its investment.
And that means prime time for the major events such as swimming, gymnastics, basketball, volleyball and track. Live coverage is OK for Team Handball and dressage, but not Allyson Felix or Usain Bolt.
Delayed coverage and the gripes that ensue are as much an Olympic tradition as complaining about the nationalism of the gymnastics judges, but TV rules.
Always has, always will.
FYI: The 2016 Olympics will be in beautiful Rio de Janeiro which—not coincidentally—is virtually on the same time zone as New York (an hour earlier).
- Olympic track and field begins tomorrow (Friday morning) with rounds of the heptathlon. The women’s 10,000-meter final will be Friday afternoon (3:25 p.m. Austin time); the men’s 10,000 will be Saturday afternoon (4:15). The women’s marathon with medal contender Shalane Flanagan (but probably not Desiree Davila) will be televised live at 5 a.m.
- Sanya Richards Ross will be in action tomorrow morning (6 a.m.) in her first round of the 400 meters and hopefully, will be a finalist on Sunday (4:10 p.m.). The former UT great is also entered in the 200 meters.
- Also running Friday will be Leonel Manzano. Leo The Lion will be running the first round of the 1500 meters at 2:05 p.m. This is Manzano’s second Olympics. In ’08, he didn’t make it out of the semis. The final is Tuesday afternoon.
- Texas wide receiver Marquise Goodwin will be one of the favorites in the long jump which also begins on Friday afternoon (1:50). Assuming he gets through the qualifying, the finals are Saturday afternoon (1:55). Goodwin is the first long jumper since 1960 to win both the NCAA and Olympic Trials in the same year. Hope he’s back in time for the first football game on September 1st.
- Two-time World Champ Trey Hardee might be overlooked a little in the decathlon after Ashton Easton broke the world record in the Olympic Trials. But Hardee is looking for Olympic redemption after he no-heighted in the pole vault in Beijing. The first day of the decathlon is Wednesday.
- BTW: UT has 10 current or former athletes competing in track and field in London. The leaders in the clubhouse are Southern California, Florida State and Auburn with 12. Arkansas has 11 and Texas is tied with Oregon, Florida and LSU with 10. A&M has eight and UTEP has five.
- Sad to report that two-time Olympic 10,000-meter runner Pat Porter (and his 15-year-old son) were killed last week in a plane crash in Sedona, Arizona. Porter was piloting the twin-engine plane when it crashed on takeoff. A tough, ballsy front runner, Porter was best known as a dominating cross-country runner who won eight consecutive national titles (1982-89) when it still meant something. Nicknamed The Panther, Porter also finished as high as fourth in the World Cross Country. Porter, a graduate of Adams State (Colorado), lived in Albuquerque at the time of his death at the age of 53.
- Livestrong Austin Marathon director John Conley is back home after a month vacation in Hawaii to rehab from the emergency brain surgery he had in late May. Conley has one more minor procedure left next week and then it’s back to work.
- Paul Terranova knocked off the second of the four 100-milers he’s tackling this summer two weeks ago at the Vermont Trail 100. The 39-year-old finished a remarkable fourth in Vermont in a stunning time of 16:19:30 which is almost four hours faster than he ran at the Western States 100 in June. Also running in Vermont was Kipley Feibig, 41, who placed 99th in 23:10. Burton Keith, 51, was right behind in 23:15. Jason Mittman, 35, of San Marcos, ran 23:20:39. Marcy Beard, 43, was fifth in her age group with a time of 23:20:41. Shauna Metcalf, 42 of San Marcos, was sixth in the same age group in 20:27:21. (That is wrong, but that’s what is in the results.)
- Looks like Kimbia is getting into the race business. Kimbia, which develops software for on-line credit card donations and registration for non-profit events, is branching out with a race registration division that will clearly target industry-leader Active with more cost-efficient competition.
- Big changes are in the works for the trailhead area for the Butler Hike and Bike Trail at Auditorium Shores. This crowded, dusty area is where tons of runners hydrate at the RunTex water coolers and/or meet for runs. Planned upgrades include much needed new restrooms and a water station (to replace the water jugs), more parking (grrr) and better landscaping. Construction is expected to start fall, 2013. (While they’re at it, wish they’d close Riverside once and for all between South 1st and Lamar.
- More trail news: Groundbreaking is tomorrow morning (Friday) at 10 a.m. at International Shores Park (1820 S. Lakeshore Blvd.) for construction of the much anticipated Boardwalk along the south shore Lady Bird Lake. International Shores Park (who knew?) is on the Butler Trail between Riverside and Pleasant Valley Road.
- Looks like we’ll get the first crack at the new Formula 1 race track in Elroy before the motorheads. Paul Carrozza of RunTex who has been an integral part of the track since its conception, will put on the Formula Run on November 3rd (the car race is two weeks later). The race will be 3.4 miles with the start and finish right in front of the main grandstand. This will be the first event held on the $300 million track. Bike races, triathlons and other road races are in the future as well as concerts.
- In case you’re wondering, the headliner for this year’s San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on November 11th is country singer Jo Dee Messina.
- What I’m listening to this morning: “Time the Conqueror” by Jackson Browne. Proof evident that The Pretender is still churning out great music.
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