With the 2008 Olympics fast approaching, it seems like a good time to talk about some of the issues surrounding the summer games. Let’s get them out of the way now, so we can focus on the games once they begin.
First is politics. Some have been rightfully critical of China as a host nation, given their human rights record. Despite that, it’s unfortunate that politics is a factor in the world’s premier athletic competition, but it is. It seems that each Olympics some country tries to use them to advance some political agenda, sometimes culminating in boycotts.
Next up is pollution. There are concerns that the air could be so bad as to affect the athletes’ performance in outdoor events. China has taken extraordinary, albeit temporary, steps to reduce this as a possibility. First, car traffic in the area has been literally halved. One day, only cars with even numbered plates can drive in the city and the next day only odd. This will help, but at a huge inconvenience to the locals who are trying to work and live in the area. Also, it is understood that smog-producing factories in the area could be idled for as long as two months. Plastics and steel will be most affected. As a result, the industry and business could slow to a standstill, with a worldwide ripple effect. Plus it will take a while for everything to bounce back.
Next up is the technology, with NBC pulling out all the stops. Several thousands of hours of digital programming will be produced, more than all previous Olympics combined. Check out NBCOlympics.com for TV listings, event schedules and results, videos, and more information than you could ever need. Plus AT&T Mobile TV customers will be able to watch coverage 24-7, including live events.
Lastly, this will be my first Olympics with a DVR. I know that it will drastically change what I watch, when I watch, and how much I watch. Four years ago, we tried increasing our viewing options using a VCR. This time will be much different. I even suspect we’ll be watching on TV with a computer nearby in order to maximize the experience. Am I seeming a tad over zealous? I suppose so, but the summer Olympics only happen once every four years, so I need to make the most of it.
The games start August 8 and run through the 20th. Are you ready?