The Athens Games begin in two days and I hope they go off without a hitch. And, every Olympic time makes me think back to 1992. No, not because of the Dream Team. Well….kinda because of the Dream Team. But because of NBC’s “Olympics Triplecast”.
I was 17 years old when the Barcelona Games started….so I spent pretty much the entire two weeks glued to the TV. No job….summer vacation. All set.
The concept was actually quite brilliant. There were three channels. Red, white and blue. The blue network turned into my favorite. During the first week….it was all swimming all of the time. The second week was all track and field events. The white channel had gymnastics, boxing, rowing, equestrian and all of the other minor sports. The red channel had many of the team sports….like basketball, baseball, volleyball, water polo, handball, etc.
And it went in a 12-hour cycle. From 5am to 5pm [Eastern time], it was live events. From 5pm to 5am…it was an exact replay.
Why did I like it so much?? Well, it was about the sports and events….not just “America” and the medal rounds. During the swimming events…I saw all of the heats and the medal races. I saw many boxing and Greco-roman wrestling matches. Those three channels went wall-to-wall with their coverage of everything contained in the Olympics….not just what NBC wanted us to see. No commercials, since it was PPV. I loved the idea. On the red channel…Chick Hearn was the voice of basketball. And as a Laker fan, this was the first time I got to see and hear Chick call a game.
And those Olympics were important. Not only was the Dream Team competing for the first time….but you had Germany competing together for the first time since 1964 and the former Soviet Union competing as the “Unified Team”.
Well…NBC took it in the wallet for that…and it hasn’t been around since. Which is a shame. Since that point on….I really became enamored with the swimming, weightlifting and water polo sports….something I could care less about beforehand. But with NBC out of the major pro sports market in America [with the exception of NASCAR]….you’d figure they really try to lay out there as much Athens coverage as possible.
NBC will broadcast tape-delay events. MSNBC will have live coverage. Bravo, CNBC and USA Network will also share in on the coverage. But will it be wall-to-wall or just selected events??
Either way…let the games begin!!!