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July 24, 1996 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-07-24

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SPORTS

Wednesday, July 24, 1996 - The Michigan Daily -15

The Sporting Views:
BC coverage of
Olympics lacking

ay y 1ow~si
Daily Sports Editor
John Tesh is covering sports.
That's all I need to say.
The famous "Entertainment
onight" anchor and now New Age
piano performer is just one of many
problems with NBC's coverage of this
summer's centennial Olympic Games
in Atlanta.
I was on an outdoor trip and com-
pletely away from a television for the
1992 Olympics in Barcelona, and
missed NBC's coverage that year.
But five days into this year's games,
I want to head for the woods tomorrow
a get as far away from television as I
an.
First of all, I was thinking that since
the games are in Atlanta (that is our
time zone, right?) that NBC would
obviously show live coverage and not
have to tape-delay most events like it
did in Barcelona.
Wrong. As I turned on the TV
Saturday, the first full day of the
Olympics, I was hoping to catch the
*reliminaries of the swimming events.
But NBC didn't start its coverage until
3 p.m., when the event actually got
underway at 10 a.m.
Now I'm not a television executive,
but I'll bet the network could have got-
ten away with canceling the Saturday
cartoons for just one day. Just maybe.
In the first five days of the Games, I
sat on my couch wondering - is this
live? Did this event happen already?
, hould I check another channel to find
ut?
It is true there are many sports in the
Games, and swimming, track and
field, gymnastics and basketball are
the ones that stand out from the rest.
But even in its coverage of the major
sports, NBC has broken away from the
action to check in on other events.
It is a no-win situation with so many
results to communicate to the viewer,
Wt the network is doing a poor job by
leaving the events. It breaks up the
rhythm and just frustrates the viewer
more.
Take Dream Team III, for example.
Everyone knows that the team, con-
prised of the top NBA stars, is all but
assured a gold medal. But in its first
showing versus its first victim,
Argentina, NBC broke away from the
game with the United States up by 10,
and the next thing we heard of the
ntme was just a score - 46-44, USA,
at the half. Just a two-point lead for the
team that was supposed to have a cake-
walk en route to the gold medal.
NBC host Bob Costas said that the
networfk would go back and forth in
between all of the Dream Team games
because "it is likely that the Dream
Team will not be threatened, and that
they will go right through the gold ...
we won't show any game - with
the possible exception of the gold-
medal game - in its entirety, because
we want to show you as much of the
tapestry of the Olympic Games as we
can."

So NBC bolted for gymnastics, with
Russian and Chinese men's teams
doing compulsory routines - an event
where all the teams have to do the same
routines over and over again for the
judges.
Get my drift? NBC has established a
routine where you are teased with
glimpses of an event, then thrown to
another to see the "tapestry" of the
Games.
The prime-time coverage has been
better, though. The network has done a
good job in showing the finals of the
swimming events live.
That's what we want to see. Live
programming, entire events.
Another great moment that NBC
captured well came at the end of the
Opening Ceremonies.
As four-time gold medalist Janet
Evans ran up the ramp to a platform in
the middle of the 80,000-plus crowd at
the Olympic Stadium, cameras showed
Mohammed Ali, one the greatest ath-
letes of all time, as he received the
torch from Evans and lit the Olympic
flame to officially begin the Games.
So far, that has been the most power-
ful and emotional image of the Games.
But the exaggerated and unnecessary
drama that NBC feels it has to add to its
coverage of the events is annoying. In
many pre-event pieces, the dramatic
music drowns out the voices of the ath-
letes.
Why can't we get a preview of the
event by showing footage of the ath-
letes in action, instead of slow-motion
shots of the athlete running in a grassy
field?
Of course, the Olympic athletes have
many interesting and gut-wrenching
stories. But this is overdone. Just show
us the events.
And that brings me back to Tesh.
Over the weekend, he narrated another
one of the overly dramatic intros, this
one on the Romanian gymnastics team.
As the piece was about to end, Tesh,
in a bold yet whispery voice said, "Take
a breath, gymnastics is next,"
Well NBC, you need to take many
more breaths, and don't forget the
inhaler because you are wheezing.

AP PHOTO
Mohammed All's lighting of the Olympic torch has been one of the few highlights of NBC's Olympic coverage.
Medal Count
Country S 6 0 I A I 0
USA 6 11 2 19
Russia 9 4 2 s EYE EXAMIS & EYE GLASSES
Germany 0 6 8 14
France 4 333 1Cin -Ix R.mlLAt N GIORGIO ARMANI
Poland 5 2 1 8 -
Italy 3 2 3 8 1 CALVlI KLElN 7
S. Korea 3 1 2 6 eyewe ar
Australia 1 0 5 6
Cuba 1 3 i ST U DE N T DISCO U N TS
Turkey 3 0 1 4
Belgium 2 1 1 4

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