Aside from “Mad Men,” which I couldn’t wait to see (for a recap visit Cynthia Littleton’s On the Air blog), all regular programming has been put on hold for me during the Olympics. I’m a Games geek from way back. I can’t get enough.

How I ever watched it in the days before Tivo is a mystery. My trusty DVR, which proves its worth on a daily basis, is truly a Godsend for the Olympics.

PhelpsNBC is doing a whole lot right in its coverage of the Games; and the ratings have been stellar. There is no better drama than that provided by athletics. But there is certainly room for improvement.

Some notes from the sofa:

  • I settled down on the couch late Friday night to watch the primetime coverage that I’d recorded. It was a full 71 minutes into the recording before I was able to watch an actual race that took place that day. Of the four hours taped there was less than an hour of actual sports — not including replays of previously viewed events.
  • Michael Phelps was gracious enough to provide the net all the drama it could handle for the first two-thirds of the Games, but now what? None of the track and field participants have been hyped the way Phelps and the American women’s gymnastics team were pre-Games. I’d have trouble even coming up with the names of any athletes in other sports — and I follow this stuff. There’s only so much Phelps rehashing and interviews NBC can do before people start to get antsy.
  • Speaking of other sports, you’d think that nothing took place at all during the Games so far except for swimming and gymnastics. For all the touting of massive amounts of coverage “across all its platforms and networks,” the Peacock has been woefully remiss in showing any variety or directing viewers to the various options. Saturday afternoon I was able to catch up with some more obscure sports like rowing, beach volleyball, cycling, distance running and even trampoline (who knew?). But primetime has been entirely focused on the marquee sports. I expected there to be a crawl occasionally or at least a periodic announcement telling viewers where to find coverage of other sports. But no.
  • So, what’s a fan of the more obscure sports to do? Well, I’m here to tell you, don’t go to the NBC website. I visited the site to see where I might find some equestrian coverage. I was greeted with the results of the still-to-air uneven bars competition. Thanks NBC. You ruined tonight’s coverage for me. Click on “equestrian” or one of the other less popular events and you will see the current standings and results before you can even get to the schedule, if you even still want to watch it by that point.
  • The commentators need to decide who is really the “biggest sports star in China.” So far they’ve attributed that status to diver Guo Jingjing, gymnast Cheng Fei and hurdler Liu Xiang, who was forced to withdraw due to injury.
  • I am truly sad to be watching the first Olympic Games in my lifetime sans Jim McKay, who died a couple of months ago. I really miss his insight and calming presence.

What do you folks think of the coverage so far?

— Kathy Lyford

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