Phenomenal athletes, tremendous challenges, and high drama.
Michael Phelps of Team USA bringing his medal total for swimming to 23. Sprinter Usain Bolt from Jamaica winning three gold medals in three races for the third time. Simone Biles emerging as the world’s top new gymnastic all star. USA newcomer Katie Ledecky winning four gold medals in swimming in her first Olympics.
Water polo, basketball, soccer, and other team sports also thrilled.
However, the commentary from the announcers lacked quality. We had no maps showing where all the Olympia venues were located, no maps or descriptions of important sites in Rio de Janeiro or the dangerous neighborhoods that we’d heard about. We didn’t know where the Olympic Village was related to the venues.
Announcers also made sweeping statements about some of the games that had absolutely no meaning. For example, Brazil “had” to beat Germany because Germany had defeated them 7-1 in the World Cup in 2014. It was like Canada “had” to beat the United States in the Olympia Games in 2014. Incomprehensible.
Then, during the women’s basketball game for the gold medal, a female announcer went on and on about how she played for Team USA years ago. The male announcer asked her if it was true the 12-member team stayed in a two-bedroom apartment. Yes, she said, she and her roommate stayed in the kitchen. It was incredibly dull and took away from the game.
But, perhaps, the most uninformed comment came from one of the announcers of the gold medal game for men in water polo. It was Serbia vs. Croatia. The announcer said the two countries hate each other, that they fought a war in what was the former Yugoslavia. Really?
Others have a different view. See the BBC article “How Croatia and Serbia Buried the Hatchet.”
The Zika virus and how it might be spread due the Olympics was never discussed. During the golf games, it was mentioned that some of the top golfers didn’t come to the Olympics, but the commentators didn’t say it was due to concerns about Zika.
People weren’t interviewed about their concerns related to Zika. The commentators didn’t ask people if they were taking any precautions, such as wearing long sleeves and pants, using insect spray, or using condoms during sex.
In addition, no discussion was given to how the poor were displaced for the numerous venues.
The NBC coverage also was criticized for being sexist. See The Washington Post article "For Many Viewers, the (Sexist) Games Have Indeed Begun" for details.
I could go on and on.
But, then, I’m not a sports fan. The only game I watch on television is the Super Bowl so I can write about how bad the expensive ads are.
Maybe this is what sports' commentary is typically like. But, it seems like with an event as famous and widely viewed as the Olympics, NBC would be interested in excellence in the commentary by its announcers and reporters.