The XXII Winter Olympic Games started on Feb. 7 and the majority world has been meticulously watching ever since. From attacks on gay rights to shoddy hotel conditions, everyone seemed to be out for Sochi to fail. Having watched what NBC calls “primetime coverage,” I find myself in a negative mood after viewing the monopolized broadcast. It’s not just that fact that NBC has not been doing a good job covering the Olympics this year (has anyone even seen a medal ceremony?), but the commentators that NBC has drudged up currently grind my gears.
There are certain sports, like curling and skeleton, that I have no clue what their objective is. But there are other events, like hockey and figure skating, that I enjoy to watch. It makes it more difficult to watch all of these events with commentators interrupting every 12 seconds telling me how difficult a triple axel is to pull off. Plus, reporters have to share their human interest stories of individual athletes that will tug at the viewers’s heartstrings. To top this all off, the commentary I have witnessed thus far from Sochi is so negative, it’s any wonder how the athletes are happy to be interviewed after an event.
As I have never been a part of the Winter Olympics, there are numerous things in each event that I do not know about. I appreciate the interludes NBC provides telling me rules and conditions of each sport. Despite the fact I am not that knowledgable, I do notice disappoint in the commentators’s voices.
While I am not an athlete, my fours years of high school color guard taught me all I need to know about performances (read: I have knowledge of how to perform, but zero knowledge of Olympic standards). There is a lot of pressure on each person to perform perfectly. Or if a person hasn’t executed a show flawlessly, that individual needs to immediately know what his or her mistakes were for future performances. Listening to Sandra Bezic or Todd Richards repeatedly tell viewers that an Olympic athlete’s dreams are now dashed because of a lackluster performance gets to be tiresome.
Since Feb. 7, I have listened to both primetime and daytime hosts tell me “so-and-so has had his/her dreams crushed today” or “that athlete won’t be getting a medal after that performance.” (Bare with me on my quotes, as I haven’t remembered every negative thing the NBC reporters have said.) To me, it seems the mantra ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ doesn’t apply when discussing performances at Sochi.
It may escape all forms of logic, but to me, when the reporters put so much pressure on a certain athlete to do well, it jinxes that athlete and he or she somehow falters. Shaun White was expected to win the gold medal in the men’s halfpipe for snowboarding, and during his round, he fell, causing him to place in fourth. Julia Mancuso was another favorite for the gold medal in women’s alpine skiing super combined — slalom. After a sub-par run, Mancuso came in third and was interviewed by NBC — while she was crying over her “loss.”
The media in the U.S. is putting a lot of stress on Olympians by favoring them to win and even more so by stating that their dreams are crushed after not having a good run. By questioning the athletes immediately after completing an event and asking them about their mistakes, the reporters even more so grind my gears. These irksome commentators and reporters only receive a 2 on my annoyance scale for a couple of reasons. One, I can always put the TV on mute. Two, I can watch the Olympics on different platforms and bypass the adverse comments NBC continuously broadcasts.
It seems with the Olympics in full swing, NBC unfortunately will not be changing their hosts anytime soon. While the company does have a monopoly on the broadcast, I’m hoping for there to be more tactful interviews, better reporting and superior coverage in 2016 when the XXXI Summer Olympic Games are in Rio di Janeiro. Until then, the mediocre coverage NBC provides from Sochi will be grinding my gears.