Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Half Time

It's not quite half way through August, sweet August, but it is Hump Day. Wednesday. Which is the half-way point of the week. And that's good enough. Also, with the Summer Olympics well under way I figured "Half Time" was an appropriate title for this post. Although, I've yet to actually see a televised event which has a true half-time.

Have you been watching the Olympics? Like, really watching them? Not if you don't like gymnastics, swimming, or beach volleyball you haven't. That's pretty much what has been force-fed to us on the major NBC network feed. It sucks. During 'prime time' the secondary NBC networks are fairly bereft of coverage.

I suppose it's my downfall that I don't, yet, have HD - as there are some full-time HD feeds, if I'm not mistaken. But the percentage of folks with HD has to be small compared to those with 'regular' television. And for those of us saps in the majority, it all comes on after 1:00 a.m. I've been tuning in (in prime time) - but I wish they'd give some airtime to some of the other events. Just wait 'til next week when we're drowning in all things Track & Field.

There are plenty of other interesting events going on. Why can't they take an hour or so each night to highlight some of those? Thank the gods for the internet. At least they've done that right. There are live feeds on NBC.com that are serviceable. You can't get video in full-screen (that I've been able to figure out) but pretty much everything is available.

So far, I've watched the second half of the Australia vs. Spain Women's Field Hockey prelim match (Australia routed 6-1, scoring 5 in the second half), some of the US vs. Italy Men's Water Polo match, last night's US vs. Australia Softball game in its entirety (US 3 - Australia 0; No-Hitter by US pitcher Osterman), a bit of Men's Badminton, some Women's Archery, and a bit of Men's Handball.

These are some of the sports I'd like to be able to view on the tele, not hunched over my laptop on a 3"x5" screen. Hopefully, as things get going, the secondary networks will pick it up and these will be available. Highly doubtful, though, with all the advertising dollars being spent. Because, as we all know, the Olympics aren't about the sport - they're all about the corporate sponsors, innit?

That being said, the tele's still much easier and more enjoyable to watch than the laptop screen. It can also pay off well.

Sunday night was the amazing Men's 4 x 100 Freestyle Swimming race in which the US pulled out a fantastic upset of France. The final leg swum by Jason Lezak (US) against Alain Bernard (FRA) was phenomenal. Bernard had been quoted earlier as saying something to the effect of, "The Americans? We're going to smash them. That's what we came here for."

Trash-talking in swimming? Gotta love it. The US beat them by a few hundredths of a second - but that's all it takes. I know it's not good sportsmanship to gloat... but the look of disbelief on the French swimmers' faces was délicieux !

Lezak's final 50 metres were tremendous. With about 25 metres to the finish he poured it on, catching up to Bernard and getting the touch in the end. It was damn exciting. Much more exciting than I can do justice to here. It's probably available on-line in the video archives. If you've got a few extra minutes, I suggest checking it out.

Swimming 'experts' say this was the most amazing 4 x 100 relay race - ever. That's not from me. That's from the experts. So you know it's good.

In fact, I'll make it easy for you. Here's the link.

You may need to install Microsoft Silverlight - but it's free. And quick. And it's worth it. You'll be able to watch all the Olympic action you want after that.

While I'm on links, check out this hockey goal by Australia's Nicole Hudson vs. Spain. The link goes to the full match replay - but, once it's loaded, scoot it up to about the 1h:09m mark (about 75% of the way) of the video and watch the next 2-3 minutes. Even better, watch the entire match.

For reference, there are about 25 minutes on the game clock at this point with the score 1-1. Around 1h:10m in the video, play develops in the Australian end and carries (quickly) all the way down field with a spectacular finish... Alex Ovechkin would be proud. The rout is on. Australia never looks back.

I tell ya, with high-speed internet, the video play is pretty impressive. Decent clarity (even better on close-ups) but excellent delivery speed. Once it's going there aren't many hiccoughs or delays.

The greatest benefit it holds, however, is that the events are broadcast without any commentary, commercials, or candyfloss studio pieces. It's a completely NBC-free experience. Nauseating Bob Costas.

Woah. Seems I've come down with a spell of verbositis. Didn't expect to ramble on so. Guess my Time Out update will be delayed.

In the meantime, check out some of the lesser known Olympic contests. Why not? You're already on the damn internet.

1 comment:

March to the Sea said...

i am convinced its me being American and impatient..a lot is on delay but they don't tighten up the editing at all. They will show 3 portions of gymnastics and cut out of it for 2+ hours. It is all about swimming right now..and honestly watching a swimming race is sort of dull..

I agree though..seeing highlights from fencing, or handball..anything we don't 'Usually' see would be a nice touch as well. Can't please everyone I guess.