There are a few things every two years that always seem to grab my attention when it comes to the Olympics. The first is just the novelty of the sports. We don't get to see swimming that often, so when it is on I naturally tune in just because it is something different.
The second is I am a sucker for live sporting events. There is just something about not knowing what is about to happen and getting to see it at the same time as everyone else. I have found myself sitting up a 2 in the morning watching Champions League soccer from Russia simply because it was live.
That is where the biggest hits and misses of this year's Olympics come into play.
I think NBC hit a home run this year by getting the swimming finals early in the morning Beijing time allowing us to watch them live in prime time. I was glued to the TV watching not just Michael Phelps but all of the finals as the Americans dominated the pool.
I am also not a big gymnastics fan, but have found myself sitting and watching the events, simply because it was live. Had the gymnastics been taped like the individual events were, I probably would not watch, or at the very least not stay tuned in 100 percent.
But it seems my undivided attention to NBC in prime time ends there. The track and field has been very hard to watch because the results start moving across the wire at 9 a.m. It is hard to go the day with out know the results all day. Between constant work on the computer and 45 minutes of talk radio on the way home, there was no way to avoid hearing about Bolt obliterating the field in the 100.
I had NBC on that night just to see the race but it obviously didn't hold the same excitement as it would have seeing it live. Because there are just certain events that can't be held in the morning, a good bit of the Olympics has been hard to watch because it it taking place at 4 in the morning.
The exception has been in soccer where I had to set the alarm clock to watch the US play just because I am a huge soccer fan. I got up at 4 a.m. to watch the US and Japan play and the other two matches fortunately came on mornings I didn't have to go to work so I recorded them and watched in the morning.
Soccer has been the only "mainstream" sport I have really watched however (I know soccer isn't considered a mainstream sport by most, but on a world stage it is). Baseball, basketball and tennis, sports I generally watch on a regular basis has seen very little time on my TV. Part of it is because of the time it is on, but the other part goes back to the novelty of the sports in the Olympics.
The baseball is just not that great to watch from what I have seen and I really have no interest in the USA basketball team. As for the tennis, I don't think the players even care about the Olympics, so why should we? Federer lost to Blake and just shrugged his shoulders and congratulated his opponent. It barely even got a mention on the bottom line. If this were Wimbledon or the US Open, it would be huge news.
So the interest level in some of these sports is already down, and putting them on TV at 3, 4 and 5 in the morning definitely kills the buzz.