The Olympics will go on, and NBC will be on the ground with their cameras. But this event may only turn out to be a gold medal winner in “terrible idea.”
With one week to go before the opening ceremony, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad (as it is officially known) faces what can rightly be called “some challenges.” As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director calls the growing Delta variant “a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Tokyo prepares to welcome athletes, trainers, and press from around the globe. Japan has vaccinated only 24 percent of its population, Reuters reports. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said last week that coronavirus rates were rising “due partly to growing numbers of the Delta variant,” according to Reuters.
On Thursday, an unnamed Olympic athlete and five other personnel tested positive for Covid-19, according to CBS News. This brings the number of Games-related cases up to 30. A member of the Nigerian team who is not an athlete tested positive on Thursday and was hospitalized on Friday, the first case to get that serious.
Infections are climbing in Tokyo, recently reaching a six-month high, and throughout the country, “the daily average of cases has risen 63 percent in the past two weeks,” according to the New York Times.
Officials, however, remain positive. “The risk for the other residents of the Olympic village and the risk for the Japanese people is zero,” said Yuriko Koike, Tokyo’s governor.
The competitions will be held without spectators, and other protocols will be initiated, such as medals being placed onto a tray, not the necks of the winners themselves.
For NBC Universal, the lack of spectators makes for some unusual programming complications. They have a lot riding on the Olympics, especially considering last year’s launch of their new streaming platform Peacock. The company paid $7.75 billion for rights to continue to broadcast the Games from 2022 through 2032, according to the Associated Press.
NBC says they will not add fake audience reactions to the competitions. But the source video they receive from the Olympics will have enhancements that create “an atmosphere for the athletes so they’re not competing without any crowd murmur or presence,” Molly Solomon, executive producer of the network’s Olympics coverage, told the AP. In lieu of shots of cheering parents in the stands, NBC will reportedly cut to viewing parties “back in the United States” during tenser moments.
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