Viewing the Olympics Outside of the US

PeteLinforth / Pixabay

I recently returned from 10 days in Australia, which pretty much coincided with the beginning of the Olympic games in Rio. So, I’ve missed out a bunch on NBC’s coverage, and the complaints about it. But, I got to see how the Games are covered in another country, which is always interesting.

Clearly, the coverage in Australia is different than what we have come to expect in the US. I didn’t go in expecting it to be the same, after all the audience is different. But still, I found a few interesting things:

  1. Aussie commentators clearly root for Australian athletes. It’s not that US commentators don’t, but they have been inundated with the “no cheering in the press box” mentality and at least try to be understated about it. Australians feel no such compulsion. They are proud of their athletes, even when they don’t win. Seriously, I watched an amazing interview with a swimmer who finished 5th, but set a personal best time, where the interviewer was legitimately excited for her and they celebrated together. On NBC, there would have been no such interview with an athlete who didn’t even medal.
  2. There were way fewer “features” in Australian coverage. It was pretty much sports, with a little bit of fluff when there was an interesting story about an Aussie. There is no Australian equivalent to Bob Costas in the Olympic coverage.
  3. If an Australian is competing, especially for a medal, you will get to see the entire thing. Doesn’t matter the sport, an Australian competing was the determining factor in terms of fan interest. Seriously, I got to see the entire gold medal match in women’s trap shooting, on Channel 7, not some far-flung cable channel, because an Australian was competing. Granted, the US has many, many more competitors competing at that level, so it’d be hard for NBC to do the same, though maybe with a bit less Bob Costas they could squeeze in a few? 😉
  4. Everything is tape delayed, and no one cares. It’s the norm for Australia. Seriously, trying to watch US Sports leagues, or the English Premiere League pretty much means not seeing anything live because of the time difference anyway, and a lot of people down under follow those leagues pretty closely. Not to mention that weekend Rugby and Aussie Football games are generally replayed during the week too, for those that missed them over the weekend, and knowing who wins is irrelevant to the enjoyment. I don’t think this is a concept Americans understand at all.
  5. Matthew Dellavedova is a freaking national hero in Australia. They love them some Delly. To be fair, they also love Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills and the rest of the Boomers, but the love for Delly is a bit shocking given the usual NBA coverage of him.
  6. Speaking of the Boomers, every national team has a nickname. (Hell, everything in Australia has a nick name, i.e. Macca’s) Learn them if you want to keep up with the coverage, otherwise you won’t know what they mean when they tell you the Opals were upset, for example. (Women’s Basketball)
  7. Australians have an appreciation for the best athletes in the sports that they follow closely. Yes, Australians want to do well, especially at swimming. But their love of that sport means they absolutely recognize how amazing both Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky are. One of the few features they did have was a highlight package of Phelps’ 24 gold medals, and during one the women’s finals, the announcers before the race fully admitted that Ledecky was going to win and probably set a World Record, so they were going to pay closer attention to the race for Silver and Bronze and how the Australians were doing. They also explained that fans should appreciate how dominate Ledecky is and how insane it is that no on thinks she even could lose the race. (She didn’t, she won by a wide margin.) Usain Bolt was in the same category on the track.

All in all it was interesting to get a little view into how a smaller country views the Olympics and how it is covered. It was a fresh perspective from the usual, cynical, American view of the Games. I dare say I even watched more coverage there than I would have had I been home.

Link – How Posting On Social Media About The Olympics Can Get You Sued

“1. While people often think of the Olympic Games as belonging to humanity in general, and of the sharing of images and videos taken by themselves on social media as protected by Freedom of Speech, both assumptions are incorrect.”

Just when you think the IOC couldn’t be any slimier.

But seriously, I’m posting this as an FYI. Don’t run afoul of the IOC and it’s copyright police!

http://www.inc.com/joseph-steinberg/how-posting-on-social-media-about-the-olympics-can-get-you-sued.html

Link – Performance-enhancing drug testing, sometimes years later, makes the Olympic medals stand a mirage

“Canadian cross-country skier Beckie Scott was ecstatic with her 2002 Olympic bronze medal, the first won by a North American woman in that sport. Yet she watched the Russian flag rise with a fatalism about her opponents’ improbable performances that had been “part of my psyche for years,” she said. She eventually was awarded the silver and then the gold.

Delayed medals never quite add up to full gratification for athletes. Instead, they symbolize the butterfly effect of an altered trajectory. The difference between gold and silver alone can swell to seven figures over a career. Prize money can sometimes be restored, but that’s generally a pittance compared to the contractual and commercial opportunities that vanish, impossible to re-create. And there’s no way to reconstitute the pomp and emotion of the moment.”

This is true. Let’s face it, we only pay attention to most Olympic sports every 4 years, during the Olympics. How many of us are even aware that so many gold medals have been stripped and awarded to other competitors? I mean, unless the issuance of the new medals takes place during the Olympic broadcast, we have no idea it’s happening. These “winners” have had their moment of glory completely stolen, and that’s the real damage that PEDS does to sports.

http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/17172990/performance-enhancing-drug-testing-somes-years-later-makes-olympic-medals-stand-mirage?appsrc=sc&appsrc=sc

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Link – Randy Gregory to face longer suspension after policy violation

Randy Gregory was already facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. That suspension is going to be longer.

The Cowboys took a lot of gambles trying to improve the defense last year, signing Greg Hardy, drafting Randy Gregory, hanging on to Rolando McClain, etc.

Those haven’t worked out well. We hope Gregory can benefit from treatment for his life, let alone his football career. But for Cowboys fans, these gambles are turning out to be increasingly difficult to accept.

It’s been more than twenty years since the Cowboys were in a Super Bowl.

Randy Gregory faces longer suspension after another abuse policy violation

Link – Report: Islanders ponder leaving Brooklyn, building arena near Mets

“Puck Daddy points out that the Islanders can opt out of their lease after the 2018-19 season, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a Queens-area building alongside the Mets stands as merely one of several rumored options.

There have already been a few:”

We’ll probably be hearing a lot of rumors. As long as one of them doesn’t include Quebec or other places outside of the New York Metro area, cool.

Report: Islanders ponder leaving Brooklyn, building arena near Mets

Link – NHL Rule Changes That Would Make Hockey Great Again

2015-11-12 18.36.26There are 22 rule changes listed in this article, so I’m not going to even pretend that more than a couple would ever be implemented. However, I definitely think a couple of them should be.

For example:

2) After an icing, the offending team can’t call timeout.

6) If a skater loses his helmet, he has to immediately leave the ice.

22) Shooting the puck over the glass in your own zone is no longer a penalty.

A couple of others probably won’t be implemented, but I think they would really help the game:

8) After an icing, you can’t put your goaltender back on the ice.

9) Overtime is 10 minutes of 4-on-4 and that’s it.

20) Goaltenders have to serve their own penalties.

Which of the 22 rule changes would you implement? Any that are missing?

https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/nhl-rule-changes-that-would-make-hockey-great-again

Link – Antidoping officials want Russia banned from Olympics

One month after the International Association of Athletics Federations, track and field’s world governing body, made the unanimous decision to ban Russia’s track and field team from competing in the Olympics, a group of antidoping officials is aiming to bar the entire nation.

I can’t help but wonder if this will turn out to be a case of being careful what you wish for. If Russia gets a complete ban for doping, expect the same thing to happen to other countries in time, and I don’t think anyone can claim complete innocence on the doping front.

http://olympics.si.com/olympics/2016/07/16/antidoping-officials-russia-banned-rio-olympics?xid=si_social