Geoff Flynn.com


Rio's Moment Arrives, and NBC Has It Three Hours Later
August 8, 2016

It doesn't seem like it's been four years since the last Olympics. That's because it's been only two since the winter games in Sochi, Russia, and now the five intertwined rings are back, complete with NBC's tape-delayed coverage. The network has dusted off Bob Costas, propped him up in the anchor chair like it was Weekend at Bernie's, and here's hoping he doesn't get pinkeye like last time, or worse yet, Zika. Let the games begin!

The familiar cast of broadcasters are back, and even though we only see them for a couple of weeks every Olympiad or so, they are top notch. Dan Hicks is at the pool. Al Trautwig is covering gymnastics, and then for some reason, we have to be bombarded with Ryan Seacrest and his over-enthusiasm for anything he thinks might be headlines on the E! Network (does that still exist?).

Actually, watching the Opening Ceremonies, it was surprisingly Costas-free. We got the intro from him, but then it was Matt Lauer telling us where Burkina Faso is, and Hota Kotb taking a drink of wine every time Lauer said Burkina Faso. Meredith Vierra would give us the country's history, and describe the athletes' apparel in great detail, all while the cameras would pan to 500 American Athletes taking selfies. Watching the Parade of Nations is like watching the Rose Parade, but it's still something you should check out every couple of years or so.

There is a little bit of a difference in the coverage this time. With only a four-hour time difference between California and Rio, and just one hour between the Olympics and the east coast, there are more “live” events. That word is defined by NBC as being able to watch it as it happens in the Eastern and Central time zones, but three hours later if you live in the west. Us West Coasters are used to it.

But because of that scheduling, we're not getting bounced around from event to event as much as in the past. We would get a little swimming, then they'd whip a little gymnastics on us, Mary Carrillo's travels to Siberia and back would be told in a minute and a half, and then it was back to swimming again. At least now, they start with swimming and stick with it, especially with so many Americans in the field, and doing so well.

With so many different sports in the summer games, it is impossible to follow them all. Even finding which cable network is carrying which sport is daunting (Tennis is on the Bravo Network). There's also daytime and late night coverage, but if you want the two-weeks-every-four-years sports that Americans crave like swimming, gymnastics, and track, just stick to prime time and you'll do just fine. You'll get bombarded with some Ryan Seacrest now and then, but just hold your breath. Bob Costas will be along in just a minute.


Take that, football!: ESPN deserves everything they get for this even though it wasn't their fault. When the network sold its corporate soul to the NFL in their latest contract, they decided to preempt Sunday Night Baseball for one week, so they could bring you an exhibition football game. Justice seemed served when the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio was canceled because the field was unplayable. Whether it was Dodgers-Red Sox or Giants-Nationals, either game deserved more national attention than the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts in early August, when anyone you've ever heard of on either team wouldn't have played more than three downs anyway.

Ichi-roic: Baseball's Ichiro Suzuki became the 30th player in Major League Baseball to collect 3000 hits, and just the second to achieve the milestone with a triple. His hits in Japan shouldn't be counted, but somewhere on his plaque when he gets to Cooperstown, it should be noted that between the Japanese leagues and the majors, he has 4278 hits, currently 22 more than all-time hit king Pete Rose.





View All Commentaries