I just watched eight minutes of the women’s 10,000m final: The first five minutes and the final three minutes. NBC cut out over 20 minutes of the race for commercials and shotput. And now, I’m watching coverage of the men’s racewalking event, to which NBC is devoting more broadcast time. That’s right: racewalking.
What the hell is wrong with NBC? Can even the most dedicated T&F fan name one champion racewalker?
Since I didn’t actually get to see the 10,000m event, I have no idea what happened between minute 6 and minute 30. I couldn’t even tell if runners like Goucher, Kiplagat, Wangui and Smith were still running, or where anyone was in terms of laps by the time they cut back to the race.
This really steams my rice. I’m dreading the marathon coverage; we’ll probably get 10 minutes tops.
Here’s what’s wrong with most coverage of middle and long distance track and field events: The emphasis is always on the finish. Broadcasters don’t understand that the real drama is oftentimes not played out exclusively (if at all) at the end; it happens sometime earlier in the race, often much earlier. It’s bad enough that broadcasters are obsessed with sprint events, willing to show every 10 minute delay due to false starts. But to make things worse, they apply the same sensibility to the longer events, calling them like horse races and failing to present the whole story from a wider perspective.
If anyone knows of a video feed that shows the entire event (and other Olympic running events, for that matter), please comment.
Anyway, I’m glad Flanagan won the Bronze. She’s in good (and extremely limited) company with the great Lynn Jennings. And, like Tirunesh Dibaba, she’s only getting faster. Maybe I need to get food poisoning more often.