Me and everyone else. Did you know that were 42 different sporting events officially in the Olympics? Neither did I. And many of them had different versions increasing the number of sports one could watch. NBC boasted of showing the Olympics on 12 channels, although I doubt The Golf Channel was devoted to canoeing unless canoes were used to rescue balls that landed in the drink.
Maybe it's because I came from "The Roone Arlege School of Olympics." Roone, for those of you more recently born, was the President of ABC TV News and Sports. He created a Sunday afternoon "must-see" show, The Wide World of Sports. Actually, Many of us Rooneophiles believe he created sports. He was a true genius in showing not just the sport but also the emotions behind it. To Roone it was not a matter of which team or person won or lost. It was about every individual. He invented the Up Close and Personal aspect of sports and news, bringing the viewer inside every thought and action.
I was fortunate enough to be snatched from another luminary, ABC show to work on the Los Angeles Olympics. I covered the events from 7 am to 3 pm. And then since I knew all the various video packages (those Up Close and Personal things) that had aired, asked to sit in through the prime time and late night presentations so that nothing would be repeated. As producers, we were responsible for editing together packages of the rest of the Olympics. He made weightlifting and kayaking as exciting as swimming. Granted there were not the number of ancillary stations broadcasting the Olympics, but even if there were, network would be key. Did anyone see the badminton finals or even know that badminton has 2 n's in the name? What about weight lifting? What was the heaviest weight lifted? How about Judo? I didn't even know they had Judo. I missed my favorite; individual synchronized swimming. Please explain how that works. But I also missed team synchronized swimming, which is beautiful and as difficult to master as synchronized swimming. Were you waterlogged after the first few days of the games? Certainly some equestrian event like jumping or dressage would have been welcomed. Biking... We all saw the 40+ gold medal winner drop off at the end in a heap and were only told about women's fencing because someone wearing a hajib was competing.
Roone also understood news. We would have seen much more about the disgraced doping Russian team and world reaction. We would have met members of the Para-Olympics from Russia, all of who were disqualified. ABC would have jumped on our own disgraced swimmers and their bogus claims of being hassled by Brazilian law officers. Broken bones and injuries? These Olympics had their share. Male French gymnast snapped his leg during a pommel horse landing. Australian female javelin thrower dislocated her shoulder during a throw. His horse trampled a horse groom. A rider crashed into a gate. Most upsetting to look at was the weightlifter who dislocated his arm. It goes on. But Roone would have had medical specialists standing by to discuss all.
Enough whining. Kudos to diving and the great visual explanations of what makes it perfect. It would have been exciting to analyze what makes Michael Phelps' style so winning? And enough oohing and aahing over Simone Biles. Someone should explain how she could be so "gumby-like"? Animation and more from the experts would have added to the knowledge. The excitement was already there.
Just so you can plan all you will miss in 2020, climbing, karate, roller sports are to be added, and baseball and softball return. Too bad wushu did not make the cut, whatever that is.
To be totally honest, I am most disappointed in not seeing those 6-pack Water Polo players. Please, NBC, bring them to prime time next time. Roone did. He knew his audience appreciated eye-candy along with the gold medals.