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Enjoying The Games, Live Or Tape

Count me among those who truly loves the Summer Olympics and I’m not afraid to say that even though it seems fashionable to rip this world-wide event that takes place every four years.

Michael Phelps of the United States and teammates Adrian Nathan (L), Ryan Lochte (2nd L) and New Jersey native Cullen Jones (R) celebrate with the silver medals won during the Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay final on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Michael Phelps of the United States and teammates Adrian Nathan (L), Ryan Lochte (2nd L) and New Jersey native Cullen Jones (R) celebrate with the silver medals won during the Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay final on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games

I mean here you have a sporting event that features everything from basketball to badminton with athletes who make millions of dollars and others who needed bake sales to raise money so they could train and travel.  It’s the diversity that attracts me yet some many so-called sports purists can’t understand the fascination and popularity so they chose to make fun of everything from the opening ceremonies to NBC’s coverage.

Look I’m not naïve enough to know that like everything else the Olympics are largely about money but there truly is so much more.  For every Michael Phelps there is a Kieran Behan of Ireland who overcame injuries that were supposed to keep him from walking to become just the second gymnast from his country to qualify for the Olympics.  The 23-year old did not advance to the finals in either of his two events and broke down in tears Saturday not because he was disappointed but because he got to compete.

I may be a bit of a sap but I enjoy the Olympics because of stories like that because most of the athletes competing are not medal contenders…for them representing their country and marching with all the other athletes is the culmination of a dream.

Chen Xue of China celebrates during their Women's Beach Volleyball Preliminary match between China and Switzerland on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Chen Xue of China celebrates during their Women's Beach Volleyball Preliminary match between China and Switzerland on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Here’s another thing that attracts me…the chance to watch sports I never would and won’t for another four years.  Maybe I won’t give any attention to fencing, handball and shooting but I’ll watch rowing, water polo, and yes even equestrian (although only for a minute or two).

I’m into beach volleyball, enjoyed the synchronized diving, love the gymnastics and won’t miss any of the swimming events.  Let’s face it…these are sports you rarely pay any attention too but on the grandest stage every four years I am in.  I do wish the weather was a bit warmer in London so the girls who compete in beach volleyball would show off the bikinis but you can’t have everything.

As for NBC’s coverage which has come under a lot of criticism. You knew because of the 5-hour time difference that most of the marquee events would be shown at night on tape-delay.  That’s the money time and again money is a big factor.  However you can watch events live on line if you can’t wait for the evening.

My biggest complaint is that they should tell us when during prime-time each event will air but I guess the idea is to keep you glued and for the most part I am.

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