Friday, August 5, 2016

Rio 2016 Olympic Games

After a whole lot of bad press and worry, the Summer Olympics in Rio are finally getting started.
The Rio games have had a lot of problems reported on extensively, from terrible water quality to an unfinished athlete's village. There's a political crisis in the country's government, and the police have held protests. Yet we've seen predictions of doom before these kinds of big events before, and somehow the show goes on.

Not that we need to have any actual games to have troubles with the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee seems to be just as corrupt as any other major sport governing body. The Guardian has an article about corruption in the Tokyo 2020 games, for instance, from back in May. There's always plenty of problems with doping - this time around, over 100 Russian athletes have been banned. And the cost of the Games is almost always a problem for the hosting country - this time around, there are protests about the cost ahead of the Olympic Torch.

Despite all that, I enjoy the Olympics, whether summer or winter, when they come around every couple of years. There are always interesting stories to go with the very high levels of competition. I always find it fascinating to see people perform in these events, doing some pretty amazing things with an almost casual ease. Which is deceiving, of course, since nearly everyone competing has spent years training to make it look that easy.

Events have already started, even though the official opening ceremonies aren't until Friday evening. The US women's soccer team has already won their first group stage match, for instance. The bulk of the events will start on Saturday, and competition will be almost non-stop for the next three weeks.

NBC has the exclusive broadcast rights to the games here in the USA, and sadly they've chosen to limit their coverage to cable subscribers. I can legally watch whatever events they broadcast on NBC, but nothing else. I'd have happily paid a one-time fee to get the Internet feeds without a cable subscription, but I suspect the various agreements between the network and cable providers doesn't allow that. I couldn't watch everything anyway - there's way too much going on - but it would have been nice to be able to choose.

I'm looking forward to enjoying the various stories that will come out of this Olympics, hopefully with minimal emphasis on doping or other scandals. It should be an interesting three weeks.


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