NBC's Olympics Better on Mute

Commentators are ruining the games
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2010 9:26 AM CST
NBC's Olympics Better on Mute
Lindsey Vonn of the United States speeds down the course during the first run of the Women's giant slalom, at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010.   (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

The Olympics are supposed to be about the grand human drama of sports, entire lives culminating in this one shot at glory. So “why do we insist, like a bunch of preschoolers, on talking all the way through them?” demands LA Times TV critic Mary McNamara. NBC’s commentary is all but ruining the games. Like most sports commentary, it’s “95% blather and 5% insight,” with even the announcers often sounding kind of bored.

If you head to NBC’s Olympics site, you can see some breathtaking commentary-free videos—like this one of Lindsey Vonn’s gold-winning downhill run. “The silence, broken only by the sound of her skis on the snow and the distant rattle of the fans, marked not just the thrill of it all but the solemnity,” McNamara marvels. It seems harsh to bash announcers for doing their jobs, but “I find it hard not to befriend the mute button.” (More NBC Olympics coverage stories.)

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