Technology and the Olympics


The way we watch the Olympics has changed drastically over the last few years. Immediate satisfaction and consumption have become so commonplace in our culture that the element of surprise is hardly attainable anymore. If you were hoping to find out the results of an Olympic event while tuning in during prime time broadcasting you’d better hold your breath. Well, hold your breath, delete your Twitter and Facebook, and avoid the internet and people altogether. The Olympics has been an event celebrated worldwide since its origin - an incredible display of patriotism, athleticism, and the perseverance of the human spirit. Advances in technology have made the Olympic games more accessible than ever. This accessibility is both incredible and a target for criticism.

This year’s Olympic broadcasting has received a considerable amount of criticism for NBC producers. Several issues involving time-delays have put the studio under fire - and their reactions to these criticisms have been less than favorable. From a US perspective, the 7-9 hour time difference has been less than ideal. This was evident almost immediately with their decision to time delay and edit the opening ceremonies. Fans were expecting to be able to see big events as they were happening, in addition to during the primetime spots, but it appears that the sentiment is not shared. Numerous outlets and individuals have mentioned their disappointment in NBC, but it’s also gone as far as reporter Guy Adams being suspended from his Twitter account for expressing unfavorable opinions about NBC (along with a head exec’s email address). Twitter has actually been a large source for concern during this 2012 Olympic season. In some of the most extreme cases athletes have been banned (or removed) from the Olympic games for sharing controversial (and usually racist) comments. We’ve also seen a smaller end of the impact of Twitter with the amount of uproar that took place after officials asked attendees to refrain from Tweeting unless urgent because it was significantly slowing the networks and even the judging of events. Let’s be real though - aren’t all tweets urgent?! (insert sarcasm here) People are used to having access to anything, anywhere, anytime, and at their fingertips. The reactions to any deviation from this seems quite excessive.

So, how are you tuning into the Olympics this year? Are you watching live streaming from an app? Trying to avoid spoilers until the event premieres on television? Reading blog after blog with countless details and recaps? Or are you one of the lucky few sitting in the stands in London? Regardless, I hope you’ve gotten a chance to witness some heartwarming stories and seen the product of this World’s best athletes extreme dedication, training, and hard work. All I know is it sure makes me proud to be an American.