Equal Access: Technology and the Olympic Games

I don't know about the rest of you, but I've spent the last week and a half completely immersed in Olympic sports. I love to watch the live coverage during the day (when I can), and I've loved catching random events like track cycling and water polo. After all, it'll be another four years until some of these will be on television again.

[caption id="attachment_1502" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Track cycling - how cool is this?[/caption]

However, I have to admit that I've been less than pleased with NBC's coverage, as well as their technological decisions. It seems the Olympic Games are not open and available for everyone.

It started with the opening ceremony.  NBC did not air live online coverage of the opening ceremonies, even though BBC did. I guess television ratings were more important for the network.  But soon it was quite clear that watching the Olympics this year would be different than previous events.  For those of us who work during the day, we're stuck waiting for the primetime coverage to come on at 8pm.  One of my roommates, a pre-school teacher, is not too fond of the scheduling, as she goes to sleep well before coverage ends.  Luckily, we have a DVR and she can watch what she missed the next day.  However, plenty of people do not have that advantage, which means they're stuck looking online for results.  And let's face it, if you don't want to know the results ahead of time, you basically have to stay off social networks, sports sites, and even boston.com. 

How are people in our country supposed to support and believe in our teams if we can't even watch events? I tried to watch the U.S. women's soccer game vs. Japan online today, at least to put it in the background while I work, but in order to watch it on NBC, I have to sign in with my cable provider. Really? That's just an unneccessary step.

But, more importantly, I'd rather not watch what NBC thinks I'd like to watch. Primetime events are chosen based on the likelihood that viewers will watch. In the gymnastic coverage, I would have loved to see more men on rings. But, they only showed four individuals during the event finals. I remember when I used to know the names of foreign athletes just as well as US ones, but not as much anymore. Of course, I'd like to watch my country win, but I'd also like to know how other countries are faring.  It's a great thing I can look it all up online on my own time, I guess. It's a shame that some poeople won't do that, however, and they'll only know about the events and athletes that NBC chooses to show. 

I've got to get back to the live blog feed I'm watching from the NY Times, so I can stay updated on the women's soccer game without really watching. Check it out and GO USA!! http://london2012.nytimes.com/soccer/womens/gold-medal-game-1

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