I remember as a kid watching with excitement the 1980, 1984, and 1988 Olympic Games. The 1980 Olympics that I am referring to are the Winter Games in Lake Placid, the Summer Games were held in Moscow and the US team did not attend those games, due to political protest. Anyway all of those Olympiads have one thing in common, and obviously date me, they happened in the days before the internet. As such, we, as viewers, were subject to the whims of the television broadcast in order to find out what happened. This meant that with each event that the network showed we had no idea who won what medal, and how they won it — or lost it, as the case maybe. The 1980 Winter Olympic Hockey game, between the USSR and USA was not broadcast live in most of the country, it was shown less than an hour after it was over, so that it could be seen during the primetime television slot here in America. The networks did a pretty darn good job of keeping the score secret, so as not to spoil it for anyone, and because of that most who watched it were on the edge of their seats, despite the fact that the game was taped — and that it was held right here in our country.
The internet has made watching the Olympic Games anticlimactic. I live in the Pacific Time Zone and I was getting a stream of Facebook messages from friends of mine living in the Eastern Time Zone about the opening ceremony, before it was even broadcast in my neck of the woods. That of course isn’t the internet’s fault; I understand that NBC wanted to make sure that the opening ceremony was broadcast in primetime for all time zones, but because of the internet’s stellar ability to disseminate information quickly, I was stuck with already knowing what had happened. Then there are the events themselves. I already knew Lochte beat Phelps for the Gold Medal in the 400 IM, long before I was able to actually see the event on television. In fact, because I already knew I didn’t even bother watching it.
I am not advocating an all-out internet blackout during the Olympics, which would be a ridiculous request, as well as essentially advocating censorship of information, which I staunchly oppose. Basically I am really just lamenting the days gone by when the broadcast of each event was almost must see TV, even if it was shown hours after the event was over. Today it is like trying to watch the Super Bowl after the fact, there is little suspense. I guess I am just getting crotchety in my old age, but I don’t let that change who I am rooting for; go for the Gold Team USA!