The last statistics I saw showed the Olympic TV viewership down by more than 40% and at an historic low. I would categorize that as “huge” and I wonder if the network met the advertising minimum number promised in the contracts.
These Olympics should never have occurred. The combination of greed by the Japanese government and Olympic Committee, the lust for TV revenues, and the quest for medals overcame intelligent health policy and personal safety. Incidents of Covid readily arose, sidelining top athletes.
Of course, over 100 of the 600-contingent from the US refused to be vaccinated, and some flouted the mask rule whenever possible. “Emotional problems” struck several athletes, including Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka. The world’s best tennis player, Novak Djokovic, didn’t even reach the medal round and had a melt-down on the court. It’s small wonder, with no crowds, no family, and very little support present.
Brisbane is now celebrating having secured the 2032 Olympics, which is somewhat like celebrating being third in line at the dentist. Every modern Olympics, with the exception of Los Angeles run by a businessman, have run up huge, decades-long debt for the host city. A Brisbanian told me that the Olympics were important for the city because so much infrastructure needed improvement.
If that’s the case, you shouldn’t need an Olympics to fix it.
Ideally, the Olympics should be held every year in Athens or vicinity with international financing for permanent facilities. There would be a single medal, for winning, and no podium appearances with national anthems. This would also end the tedious arguing about “demonstrations” on the podium, which are more about personal attention than movements, in my view.
The worst aspect of all, perhaps, was NBC’s refusal to do any investigative journalism about conditions, athletes’ difficulties, or the dismal viewership. The network, in the best traditions of modern, self-indulgent journalism, pretended that nothing was really wrong and the thrill of victory and agony of defeat were all that mattered. Two former Japanese Olympic executives were dismissed for sexual harassment, and a third for telling jokes about the Holocaust.
These Olympics were an embarrassment. I feel like standing on a podium and protesting.