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Prepping for the Olympics

by August 05, 2008
Hurry up Friday...

Hurry up Friday...

No matter where you live, you're probably getting excited about the looming 2008 Olympic games scheduled to start on August 8th (that's Friday for those without a calendar handy - though soccer starts on the 6th). Various countries and political movements have been trying to use the games to highlight their own issues but now that they are upon us, we can stop worrying about all that and start worrying about whether our team is going to kick butt in badminton (or whatever sport you're in to).

Usually, coverage varies widely based on your location (you can bet that handball will get much more coverage elsewhere than in the US) and the chances your country has to get a gold. In the past, if the US had a real shot at the gold in some obscure sport that normally gets no airtime, we'd be watching every match.

At least, that used to be the case

This year we're going to have unparalleled access to the games with NBC Universal offering over 3600 hours of coverage (2200 of which will be online at NBCOlympics.com). The coverage will be broadcasted on the seven NBC Universal networks including NBC,USA, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen, Telemundo and Universal HD. Not only that but they are promising to cover EVERY sport so even those that subscribe to OSQ can get their fix. They may have to go online to get it but at least it is available. Get the complete schedule here.

Soccer and Basketball fans can rejoice as NBC will be offering NBC Olympic Soccer and Basketball channels that promises to feature whistle to whistle coverage of every game. NBC Universal has stated that these channels will be available on most cable, satellite, and telephone providers though only Cox and Comcast have been announced. Enthusiasts have complained that customer service reps at these (and other) providers seem clueless about whether the channels will be available in their area. Rumors are that the channels are optional so don't assume that just because you have Comcast you will receive the channels. Many of the games will be broadcast on other channels, though, so you shouldn't miss out entirely.

This isn't the only hiccup in the proposed lineup. Around 75% of the coverage will be live according to NBC which might make watching some of it difficult for people half a world away (visit NBCOlympics.com and enter your zipcode to find out your local schedule). DVR users will also realize that scheduling of such events tends to be "flexible" so setting up a recording the day before is a hit or miss proposition (who hasn't missed the end of a game that went into overtime?). Still, Universal HD will be simulcasting and rebroadcasting events 24 hours a day for the run of the games (and knowing the channel, for a long time after) so if you miss something, you should have a chance to catch it again.

What you'll need to enjoy the games in all their glory is a High Definition TV (preferably one that can upconvert well in case your favorite sport is only available in your area in standard def) and matching HD service, a receiver capable of decoding Dolby Digital (many of the high definition broadcasts will be in 5.1), and a complete speaker system. We've got lots of recommendations (or you can ask in our forums). We'd also suggest a good high speed internet connection (for those online only broadcasts). All in all, it should be an exciting two weeks. I, for one, am stocking up on the coffee for some of those late night live events and clearing out my DVR for those I can't make. Go USA!!!

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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Recent Forum Posts:

aberkowitz posts on August 18, 2008 13:24
darien87, post: 445712
Poor Alicia. I wouldn't be surprised if she retires from gymnastics after this. I also wouldn't be surprised to see her on the news on top of a building with a sniper rifle shooting at people.


I sure hope not… she's really hot!!! I already told my wife that Alicia can move in with us anytime she wants to .
aberkowitz posts on August 18, 2008 13:23
jostenmeat, post: 445699
Interesting, and points well taken. However, I bet these Chinese and Kenyans can speak English. I'm not saying, or am even sure, that there are a significant number of athletes who cannot speak their “native” tongue. Maybe not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, as you imply.

I wonder what % of blood you have to be of a certain country to be able to compete for it. For instance, my “Latvian” friend is half Latvian. He says his baby daughter would be eligible to compete for Latvia as well, being 1/4. After being asked just how much blood of a certain country one must have, he says he didn't know. Does anyone here know?

I think of the Jamaican bobsled team! LOL. Ok, just looked that up, it appears two Americans were mainly responsible in creating the team according to Wiki. At least half were “native” Jamaican. Still some pride in that!



No doubt. I think if it was me, I'd do it out of pure pride or bragging rights (if I wasn't too intimidated to begin with). Just a great story to tell really. Money? Yea, sure, why not! I doubt shot putters, kayakers, or curlers make all THAT much in endorsements. Who knows…

Thanks for your thoughts aberkowitz.

I'll always give my thoughts!!

According to international rules it's not about blood or lineage or language in order to compete for a country- all it takes is a passport. A country will only issue a passport if they consider you a citizen (either single or dual citizenship), so as long as a you find a country willing to grant you citizenship and issue you a passport you can compete. There was a story on ESPN today about Chris Kaman (a US-born basketball player for the Clippers) playing for the German team (he's about 1/8th German) b/c he wanted to play in the olympics and they needed another quality player. His father is actually pissed b/c he believes his son is American and should not be playing for the Germans, even though it's his own lineage!!

On the shot putters and kayakers- totally agree that they're not in it for the endorsements, however the bonus money for a medal can be huge. In the US a gold medal will get you $25K, which can nicely defray some training costs or even pay for part of college. Other countries give even higher amounts- China (~$80K), Russia (100K), and India ($280K :eek.
darien87 posts on August 18, 2008 12:42
So what's the deal with the scoring in women's gymnastics?!?!?

The Americans consistantly got artificially low scores in the team competition, and then Alicia Sacramone gets screwed on the vault yesterday.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but does anybody else think that there's some anti-American sentiment among the judges? I know the Iraq fiasco has most people outside of the U.S. thinking we're tyrants. I realize that there has always been inconsistencies any time a human being is involved in scoring an event, but this has to be the worst display that I can remember.

Poor Alicia. I wouldn't be surprised if she retires from gymnastics after this. I also wouldn't be surprised to see her on the news on top of a building with a sniper rifle shooting at people.
jostenmeat posts on August 18, 2008 12:16
aberkowitz, post: 445655
The US has been doing this for years for certain sports- our entire ping pong team is made up of native Chinese, our 1500m track team is all from Africa as is part of our 10,000m and Steeplechase teams. I think there's hypocrisy on all sides of the issue, but I really don't think its a big deal. The olympics should be about the best athletes competing, and since each country can only take 2 or 3 athletes in each competition some of the best are bound to be left out. If Kenya has the 4 best 1500m runners in the world and 1 cannot compete for that country, I have no problem if they want to go compete for Ethiopia or England.

Interesting, and points well taken. However, I bet these Chinese and Kenyans can speak English. I'm not saying, or am even sure, that there are a significant number of athletes who cannot speak their “native” tongue. Maybe not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, as you imply.

I wonder what % of blood you have to be of a certain country to be able to compete for it. For instance, my “Latvian” friend is half Latvian. He says his baby daughter would be eligible to compete for Latvia as well, being 1/4. After being asked just how much blood of a certain country one must have, he says he didn't know. Does anyone here know?

I think of the Jamaican bobsled team! LOL. Ok, just looked that up, it appears two Americans were mainly responsible in creating the team according to Wiki. At least half were “native” Jamaican. Still some pride in that!

Olympians are not amateurs anymore in the true sense of the word. The games can mean millions of dollars in endorsements for these folks as well as cash bonuses for medals (yes- the US does this too). Considering the costs and little benefits for most of the athletes in non-Olympic years, I really cannot blame them for doing everything they can to make sure they can get into the olympics- even if that means “switching” countries.

No doubt. I think if it was me, I'd do it out of pure pride or bragging rights (if I wasn't too intimidated to begin with). Just a great story to tell really. Money? Yea, sure, why not! I doubt shot putters, kayakers, or curlers make all THAT much in endorsements. Who knows…

Thanks for your thoughts aberkowitz.
aberkowitz posts on August 18, 2008 09:43
jostenmeat, post: 445559
Hey guys, a different topic. Does anyone know how many “Americans” are competing for other countries? Didn't the guy who recently lost to Phelps by .01 second live in CA? I know there's supposed to be a bunch of them. Perhaps he can speak his native language.

However, IMO, anyone who competes for another country should at least be able to speak that language, don't you guys agree? I wonder how many players on the Greek baseball roster could actually speek Greek? Then again, I guess there are probably Americans competing for Australia, or England, or South Africa's behalf or something, and well, English is spoken there.

Let's say you get a hero's welcome “back home”. You couldn't even understand what they are saying! lol

My good friend who is a scratch golfer is humorously thinking of trying out for golf in the upcoming London games. For Latvia, lol. No, he can't speak a lick. Funny though, of course I'd root for him.

I understand some competitors would never make it on the American team, and hence their decision. Other countries might really want some more qualified participants. I don't care all THAT much, but I do think its silly. Just curious for your thoughts.


The US has been doing this for years for certain sports- our entire ping pong team is made up of native Chinese, our 1500m track team is all from Africa as is part of our 10,000m and Steeplechase teams. I think there's hypocrisy on all sides of the issue, but I really don't think its a big deal. The olympics should be about the best athletes competing, and since each country can only take 2 or 3 athletes in each competition some of the best are bound to be left out. If Kenya has the 4 best 1500m runners in the world and 1 cannot compete for that country, I have no problem if they want to go compete for Ethiopia or England.

Olympians are not amateurs anymore in the true sense of the word. The games can mean millions of dollars in endorsements for these folks as well as cash bonuses for medals (yes- the US does this too). Considering the costs and little benefits for most of the athletes in non-Olympic years, I really cannot blame them for doing everything they can to make sure they can get into the olympics- even if that means “switching” countries.
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