Unless further postponed, Friday’s Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony will kick off competitions overshadowed by a pandemic that has already forced a significant delay, hampered the pageantry ahead of the Games, and will bar spectators from the stands. and will prevent some athletes from competing in Alles.
For casual observers in the United States, excitement and anticipation are hard to come by as the Olympics vie for attention with national and international headlines.
“We barely heard of it,” Kevin Watson of Alexandria, Va., Told VOA. “It’s already a disappointment, with few interviews with the athletes or television commercials to promote the sport.”
Even before the pandemic, prime-time ratings for the Summer Olympics had declined.
Surfer Carissa Moore of the United States takes to the water for a workout on Tsurigasaki Beach at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, in Ichinomiya, Japan on July 21, 2021.
Data compiled by Zeta Global in New York indicated that 60% of Americans were not interested or excited about the Tokyo Games. And at least 45% weren’t even looking forward to them.
According to the Zeta Global website, the reasons included the postponement of the Games last year, less desire to sit in front of the television after a year of lockdown and the ban on spectators at the events.
“Since there won’t be any spectators watching, clapping, taunting and yelling in the stands behind the contestants, it makes the coverage boring,” Alex Willman of Carlsbad, Calif., Said in an interview with VOA. “The best part about any sporting event with a large audience is watching their reaction to the scores.”
Eliot Greenwald said he didn’t pay much attention to preparations for the Olympics. The avid Bethesda, Md., Mariner said he would likely be more interested in events once they begin, especially water sports like sailing and diving.
FILE – Katie Ledecky competes in the women’s 800-meter freestyle during Wave 2 of the US Olympic Swimming Trials on June 19, 2021, in Omaha, Neb.
With some of the athletes testing positive for the coronavirus in Tokyo, some people believe the Games should be postponed again.
“I love the Olympics, but I don’t think they should be happening now,” Barry Hunter, boxing trainer at Headbangers Gym in Washington, told VOA by phone. He added that due to the pandemic, “the average person in the United States is not as enthusiastic about them as they would normally be.”
“They seem less important when there is a pandemic around the world,” said Louise Korver, who lives in Huntersville, North Carolina.
However, Jeff Shell, managing director of NBC Universal, the main US television network that broadcasts most of the Olympics, believes the time is right for the Games to begin.
NBC broadcasts 7,000 hours of coverage on its multiple television networks. Shell said in a virtual conference this week that the Tokyo Games could be the highest-grossing Olympics in NBC history.
Some fans are impatient
The lack of enthusiasm is far from universal. Some Americans can’t wait to watch their favorite sports.
Luisa Handem Piette in Londonderry, New Hampshire, said she would be among those glued to TV watching the Olympics. “The American audience will be much larger than expected,” she said in a telephone interview with VOA.
FILE – Placards from the Belgian and Austrian teams hang on the building welcoming Olympic Games participants in the Athletes’ Village in Tokyo on July 18, 2021.
Bob Mandau, in Chesterland, Ohio, said he “welcomes the Olympics as a well-deserved break from negative politics on television.”
Meanwhile, Rick Kinney of Wellesley, Mass., Said Americans like him would watch the Olympics because “people love a wellness story about athletes’ efforts to get to the Games.”
Sam Doering is on the Hendrix College swim team in Conway, Arkansas. She will follow American Katie Ledecky, one of the best swimmers in the world and favorite for the best medals at the Games.
“I think it’s going to be fantastic to see Ledecky and hopefully other American swimmers succeed in swimming competitions,” she said. “And hearing the national anthem played after they’ve won the medals is really cool.”
Of all the events, women’s gymnastics is expected to be the most popular with American viewers. Zeta Global predicted that 33% of people interested in the Olympics would focus on this competition.
Ashley Umberger, owner and head coach of the North Stars Gymnastics Academy in Boonton, New Jersey, said she thinks the U.S. women’s team “is going to be the one to watch” as Americans tune in to watch Simone Biles, the highest ranked gymnast. , “that really breaks down barriers.”