PHOENIX, Arizona, May 12. WE'LL start with some news regarding the broadcast of the next five Summer Olympic Games at number five.
Courtesy of: Rodrigo Soldon
Courtesy of: Rodrigo Soldon
Last Wednesday, NBCUniversal paid more than $7.6 billion to extend their deal with the International Olympic Committee for the exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympic Games in the United States through 2032. The United States' viewership of the Olympics is reportedly the highest in the world, and the IOC gets the most money from the American network that wins the bid. The announcement might not have come as much of a surprise to most, as NBC has been broadcasting the Olympics in the United States since 1988, and a deal from three years ago gave them the rights through 2020. The new deal includes more than television. It includes the live streams on the Internet and mobile devices on all of NBCUniversal's media platforms. Whether or not the US viewers get live television coverage in these Olympics remains to be seen, but the live streams on NBC's website was quite good for the 2012 Games.
Note: YouTube Measures Views Only For Episodes Watched On YouTube.com
Our number four headline just took place last night, as the Stanford Cardinal reclaimed the women's NCAA water polo national title in a very exciting game against UCLA. Stanford beat UCLA 9-5 to win their third national title in four years, coming back from a 5-3 deficit at halftime. UCLA was so overpowered by Stanford that the Bruins were unable to score a goal in the final 16 minutes. Sunday's match was particularly meaningful for Stanford. The Cardinal was looking for revenge after UCLA kept Stanford from a perfect season, winning a match in February. Last year, it was the University of Southern California that took the title, but the Trojans were not able to defend their crown after losing to UCLA in the semifinals. Annika Dries of Stanford was named the tournament MVP to cap off a very successful collegiate career.
One of the biggest open water competitions in the United States will not take place this year, and the cancellation of this year's La Jolla Rough Water Swim comes in at number three this week. La Jolla Cove, where the 1-mile and 3-mile swims are held, is undergoing a major renovation, and delays in that project mean the cove won't be ready in time for the September 7 event. The Rough Water Swim hasn't been canceled since 1959, when shark sightings forced the organizers to call off the race, and this is the fourth cancelation since it became an annual event in 1931. Thousands of people of all ages flock to La Jolla for this competition, but unfortunately they'll have to alter their plans. The website for the event says the next race will be on September 13, 2015.
At number two is the Chinese long course national championships that began today in Qingdao. Sun Yang came in as the big headliner for his first competition since getting in trouble for driving without a license last fall. Many wondered if the legal battles and his suspension from national team activities in the past few months would hamper his performance in the pool, but a 1:46.04 in the 200 free today shows that Sun is on the right track. His swim is fifth in the world rankings, and it's not even his best event. We'll see how he does in the 400, 800 and 1500 freestyles as well later in the week. Possibly the bigger story out of the first day of swimming was the 52.34 in the 100 back by Xu Jiayu to lead the world rankings and break the Chinese national record of 53.22. The time is also the ninth-fastest performance in history, and the fastest time since Matt Grevers' 52.16 from the 2012 Olympics. Xu missed out on the final of the 100 back at last year's world championships but it looks like he'll be a major force internationally. China often sends a strong squad to the Pan Pacific championships, but the major competition of the year is the Asian Games, where Xu will race Japan's Rysouke Irie. You can read more about the first day of Chinese nationals at swimmingworld.com.
And now we are at the number one headline of the past week, and it's the report from the London Evening Standard that the International Olympic Committee is so worried about the lack of construction progress in Rio de Janeiro that London might be a backup host for the 2016 Olympics. For weeks, we've been hearing from IOC officials about the poor state of affairs in Rio, and the Evening Standard quotes a source that says Rio is only "4 percent of the way there" in terms of building new competition venues. With the Olympics 28 months away, it's become a cause for concern. The IOC has countered the article in the Evening Standard, saying Rio will be the host in 2016, and will be sending teams of consultants to get things moving much faster. In terms of the planned aquatic center, construction is expected to begin in the coming months with a finish date of early 2016, just in time for a test event. Is it too soon to start pushing the panic button? Maybe not, but it is certainly time for Rio organizers to step things up. Construction budgets and a workers' strike are also making this upcoming Summer Olympics bound to be more famous for what happened before competition started.