As you might imagine, I'm so sorry that the Olympics are over. It is such a joy to watch, as much of it as I did, and only wish there was more. Some quibbles, some things I missed or didn't see enough of, and some was wonderful. On the other hand, I now have my life back. There's so much more time to actually do things...
When the broadcast finished on Saturday, NBC ran its traditional 10-minute montage with the long credit crawl. I actually like watching this, not just for the montage (which was tremendous, beautifully edited), but also, believe it or not, the credits. And not just for seeing the names of people I know -- which numbered one, producer Clare Duffy. But for seeing all the names. I actually read through them. I’m in awe of the job NBC did. For all the criticisms I had of certain decisions (and the especially the social media slams, which I tended to think generally were overwrought), I don’t think people have even the beginnings of a hint of the most distant slightest clue how stunningly difficult this achievement is. I myself don’t have a clue, but I can imagine the outer edges of it. Broadcasting one “simple” event like, say, the Super Bowl is a major undertaking. And broadcasting the Olympics on just one network, like they did in the Old Days, if it was all just on NBC only, is massive, truly humongous deal. But to cover the Games across all the Many Networks of NBC and coordinate it and have the graphics, featurettes, and all the big and little logistics and all the preparation and last-minute challenges go SO smoothly, is ethereal. I suspect that people think that when they turn on their TV, then of course it will all go smoothly because, gee, hey, this is TV and that’s how it works. But whenever they do this, it’s just otherworldly.
Having said all that, I'll toss in a few quibbles and random thoughts.
First, NBC really has to re-design its Olympics website. They have such great material there, but it's a jumble. And its near-impossible to find the video featurettes they ran, especially without coming across results of competitions before they've been broadcast in primetime. Among other things, they should have a section solely for featurettes.
And second, speaking of featurettes, I don’t know what they were thinking with Mary Carillo, and using so incredibly little of what videos she did. (And I know that she did them because the network promoted them on their pre-Olympics show.) I absolutely love Mary Carillo’s work with her featurettes. Yet, despite being promoted, I only saw one real featurette from her. Instead, they had a bunch of very frivolous videos. It's a shame they gave her such short shrift, for whatever reason known to them along. I hope at the very least they put them online or do some sort of post-Olympics show.
One of my favorite announcers is a guy named Teddy Atlas, who is a boxing manager and does brilliant commentary, making a sport I don’t care much for fascinating and fun. So, I always look forward to Olympic boxing. But for some reason, he wasn’t there. No idea if it was his choice or theirs. But the replacement was dismal, so I watched almost no boxing.
I usually like the late night show, but this year they turned it into more of an “entertainment” with Ryan Seacrest hosting. Fair, but disappointing.
Very disappointed by the Opening Ceremonies because they had three hosts all of whom knew nothing about sports. So, when 15,000 athletes came marching in, they were limited to reading off note cards rather than knowing who any of the people actually were and adding insight, as has been the case in the past.
On the other hand, I was not bothered by NBC cutting away from events, a complaint I heard from many because a) that’s the nature of the beast, and b) they usually cut back. I do wish though that they didn’t cut out so much of the long-distance races (which are among my favorites). You can cut away to another event or go to commercial, and still come back to where you left off.
I also wasn’t bothered that they covered mostly Americans during primetime. I’d prefer a wider selection, but I understand it. And if one wanted a more encompassing coverage of international athletes, they had a lot of that during the day on the “Many Networks of NBC.” (Alas, most people couldn’t watch those during the day. But NBC did cover things more fully there.)
One last observation. And this has to do with the Games themselves, not the coverage --
After a race or competition is over, women athletes do a whole lot more hugging of their competitors than their male counterparts do.