With headlines from the Winter Olympics popping up left and right on every news site I happen across, it’s hard to avoid knowing who won what when. As an avid winter sports enthusiast, though, I still want to see how it went down. How did Kildow’s gasp-inducing fall on the downhill ski course happen? What did the Russians’ winning figure skating performance look like? So, like many Americans, I turned to prime time in the evening. What’s strange in this budding age of on-demand programming is that NBC presents pre-recorded events jumbled together as if they were live.
Sure, there’s TiVo and other channels are showing live events. But why not save us the trouble? Tell us when each event is going to be on at night on NBC and then show the most popular events one at a time. If executives are worried about retaining viewers, they should air figure skating all at once later in the evening. Weren’t other Olympiads presented that way? Perhaps not. I’m probably just remembering watching the Olympics as a child on Canadian TV. My folks assure me that the Canadians still show all of the countries as they enter the stadium during the opening ceremony.
I tried turning to the Web for a customized experience. It wasn’t easy. I won’t admit how long I spent looking for footage of one 2002 Olympics event only to realize how spotty the archive is. There’s room for an enterprising group to streamline the entire summer and winter Olympics viewing experience. Give us one place where anyone from any country can go to see live events as well as recorded events in whatever order they want in whatever language they want. Give us a comprehensive archive so we can watch all the past Olympic glory. If there is already such a place, please let me know what it is. If not, my fingers are crossed for Beijing 2008.