Every two years I go into a frenzy. Scheduling every second of my day, trying to figure out time differences and check medal counts. Leaky is about being proud to be geeky and one of the things I’m most geeky about is the Olympics. Now, I’m not a normal sports viewer but as soon as that Olympic theme plays my butt is on the couch.
What is it about the Olympics that draws so many viewers? Why do people around the world enjoy watching someone swim back and forth in a pool every four years? I like to think that it’s for the heart; to watch young athletes who have overcome obstacles and worked hard achieve their dream, and yet it is definitely also about winning. Everyone wants to see their nation crowned #1. There’s nothing like hearing your national anthem played and watching the gold medal winner in tears. It’s heartwarming and it’s just as addictive to me as any scripted TV show. In fact, most of the coverage we see in the US during the Olympics (apart from the actual sports of course) is scripted; however, for the first time the sappy stories of hardship and heartache with Bob Costas that are an Olympics staple don’t have to be part of your Olympics experience.
This year NBC will be streaming the entire Olympics online giving American viewers a chance to watch the sports that we as a nation may not be so great at. This new system will radically change the way Americans experience the Olympics. There will be fewer commercials and while you will be able to choose a channel which includes the calming sounds of Bob Costas, you will also be able to watch a live stream sans commentary. Most casual Olympic viewers will stick with the tape delayed version of the games that will air on NBC nightly, but our generation will likely move to the online version. In a world where we no longer expect to wait for anything this move by NBC to have all Olympic content online is definitely a smart one.
Streaming was available for the USA Olympic trials so I got a taste of what the new system will entail. The unedited view of the men’s gymnastics trials was more emotional than the staged interviews with mom’s who have given up everything for their boys to be Olympians, because it was real. You were able to see the teamwork and hear the athletes cheering each other on and exchanging pointers. Chris Brooks, who is an alternate for the US Olympic team, was the most vocal, cheering his teammates on despite being all but out of the running himself. The streaming footage had you right in the action with no exterior shots of random bridges or anything to distract you from the competition. I became more invested in the outcome without an onslaught of ads and frequent switching between sports. The new online streaming option has me even more excited for this year’s games, although unfortunately tomorrow’s opening ceremonies won’t be available for streaming. In the US we’ll still have to watch those on a 5 hour tape delay.
I intend to cram as much Olympic action into my brain in the next two weeks as possible. The official Olympic App is downloaded and set with my preferred country (USA), favorite sports (gymnastics, tennis, and equestrian) and medal count. What are you guys most looking forward to in this year’s games? Give me your take in the comments and I’d love to hear how the Olympics are received in your country.