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NBC Couldn’t Spare 9.63 Seconds to Air 100m Final Live

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NBC’s coverage of the Games of the XXX Olympiad have been a polarizing topic throughout its nine days thus far. Well, they were at it again on Sunday, refusing to air Usain Bolt’s Olympic record performance in the men’s 100m dash live so it could be saved for tape delay later in the evening.

I, along with many, tried to stream the event on NBC’s Live Extra app, and were greeted with a blurry screen that buffered for portions of the sub-10 second sprint. It wasn’t exactly a user-friendly experience to put it lightly. I was able to vaguely make out a tall blurry figure wearing a yellow tank top crossing the finish line first, but couldn’t see the time or that he had set an Olympic record (9.63 seconds) until later in the night.

Instead, NBC inundated us with more beach volleyball or something of less importance, because who would want to watch the fastest athlete in the history of mankind melt a fresh pair of shoes in real time when we could watch Misty and Kerri, as NBC’s announcer likes to call them rather than by their first and last name as any professional would do, predictably defeat another opponent.

After days of bemoaning NBC’s coverage, along with many who have been tweeting under the hashtag #NBCFail, I can concede and respect that they want to wait until prime time to air big ticket events during weekdays, not for their profiteering purposes, but because it makes viewing those events legitimately easier for those who work and can’t see them during the day (I still think that they should air them live on TV in addition to on tape delay, but clearly that is wishful thinking). However, there is no excuse for that type of corporate panhandling on a weekend, when BILLIONS of people outside of this country were able to watch it live.

My biggest issue, though, is that the race takes less than ten seconds to determine a winner! I’m not asking you to break away from another event to air a marathon. I’m asking for ten seconds of live coverage! If your network can’t handle that, relinquish your monopoly on the Olympic Games, go back to the kids table where you belong, and let the adults broadcast the Olympics.

The race, by the way, aired on NBC after 11:00 p.m. on the east coast, over six hours after it happened. It was followed shortly after with an interview between Bob Costas and Missy Franklin, in which they replayed a video of the US Swim Team singing that abominable “Call Me Maybe” song.

NBC is the only network broadcasting the Olympics in the United States, but I still wouldn’t give them a gold, or a silver, or a bronze.

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