Every four years I am so excited for the opportunity to watch all of the many different sports I wouldn’t normally see. During the women’s gymnastics event, I flash back to cheering for Mary Lou Retton getting that perfect 10 on the vault and then coming to my elementary school to sign autographs a few months later.
Unlike most people, I don’t mind the tape delay system that NBC employs to show the daily highlights during Prime Time. It enables me to watch the high profile athletes in a time-condensed manner, perfect for my busy life. Sure, it opens up the possibility of being spoiled on the results, but that is a problem every time the Olympics is held out of the US.
In 1998, I learned that local Olympian Tara Lipinsky won the Gold in figure skating when I arrived at our hometown mall as they were putting up “Congratulations on the Gold” signs all over the food court before the race aired on television. Of course, I could not fault the mall for wanting to get a jump on the Lipinsky excitement in Sugar Land.
However, being spoiled by local shopping mall decorations is a big difference than a media empire purposefully spoiling their own viewers as they are watching the event! Last night US Swimmer Missy Franklin had two big swimming events. In her first, a 200-meter freestyle semifinal heat, she qualified for the final. About 10 minutes later, she was scheduled to swim the 100-meter backstroke final. Before the semifinal heat, NBC engaged their viewers with a touching story and background about Missy to get you more emotionally involved in watching her compete. In between the races, they talked about how difficult it would be for her to swim two major events practically back-to-back with only ten minutes to rest. They commented on what a big deal it was and wondered about her mental state in preparing for the two races. After some pontificating on the impossibility of it all, they broke for commercial.
Missy Franklin Wins Gold in 100-Meter Backstroke
One of the commercials was a promo spot for the Today Show. Would you believe NBC’s own commercial showed Missy Franklin with a Gold Medal in hand!? The promo invited you to tune in tomorrow morning for their interview with Missy, the 17 yr. old who won her first individual Gold medal in 100-meter backstroke. WHAT??? We are 2 minutes away from watching the actual race they’ve been pumping us up for and now they just tell us what happens? Are they kidding?
I can understand, somewhat, being spoiled on social media, Facebook or Twitter, or by news outlets wanting to get the jump on a big story. I’ve been very careful throughout the day to avoid news about the winners in order to enjoy the story-telling and excitement of the Prime Time event showing, but to be spoiled by the very network that wants me to watch their coverage is ludicrous. It takes the fun out of watching the Olympics.
What do you think about the Olympics coverage this year? How have you successfully been avoiding spoilers?