So theres this brand new event at the London Summer Olympics.
The 100-meter spoiler dash.
Its easy, and you can play, too. As soon as you hear the outcome of an Olympic event preferably one involving an American medalist, in a high-visibility event that will air during NBCs after-the-fact prime-time coverage just dash to your smartphone, tweet out the results or post them on Facebook.
Yes, you will annoy your friends. Just make it up to them later. Youre going for gold!
OK, Im kidding. Im resorting to satire because Im not exactly breaking any news.
Unless youve really been in hiding for the past week, you know all about the controversy over NBCs Olympics coverage.
Most of the marquee moments the U.S. womens gymnastics team win, American swimmer Michael Phelps record-shattering 19th medal have aired in prime time, hours after the medals were awarded. And hours after the results have been reported on news and sports websites (including IdahoStatesman.com), and fully disseminated on Facebook and Twitter.
Angry fans, burned by Facebook and Twitter, have gone to those same platforms to rip NBC.
Ive recorded more than my share of sporting events, only to fall prey to the spoiler, so I understand the frustration. But not the life-of-its-own furor.
Tape-delayed Olympics coverage isnt new. The past three Summer Games were held in Sydney (16 hours ahead of Boise), Athens (10 hours ahead of Boise) and Beijing (14 hours ahead of Boise). Those time differences make live, prime-time coverage impossible. And, spoiler alert: When the 2014 Winter Olympics take place in Sochi, Russia, (10 hours ahead of Boise) dont count on any live action in prime time.
One difference this year is that much of the Olympics coverage is live just not in prime time. At this writing, on a Wednesday morning, I have a Mexico-Switzerland mens soccer match on in the office. Live. Boisean Kristin Armstrongs gold-medal winning cycling time trial aired live, on NBC Sports Network, early Wednesday morning. The plethora of live coverage, on TV and via live streaming, stands in stark (and irksome) contrast to the prime-time coverage.
Another difference: the continued growth of online news and the emergence of social media. If you spend any time on the Net or networking on social media, youre going to know who won what, almost instantly and without even trying. Remember the 1970s novelty hit The Streak, in which Ray Stevens told his mythical wife Ethel not to look? Same thing here.
So who do you blame?
Do you blame your friends who blabbed on Twitter and Facebook? Thats your call.
Do you blame news sites? Seriously? Commenters took us to task Wednesday for posting a story and photos about Armstrongs victory. That makes no sense. A local Olympian had captured gold. Were a local news site. Are we supposed to sit on the story one that, as I said, had already aired on live TV?
Do you blame NBC? The taped prime-time coverage is unavoidable. And John Foster a Boise public affairs pro, and former aide to Rep. Walt Minnick raised an interesting point on his blog this week. He says the delays allow NBC to package its coverage and synergize with advertising. (Another spoiler alert: Airing a major sporting event is big business.)
Said Foster: News flash: NBC spent $4.8 billion to buy the rights to the Olympics. They are going to cover it how they damn well please.
And when they please. My best advice: Just try to act surprised.
FROM GOLD TO GOLD
Now, big congratulations to Kristin Armstrong, whose Olympic career followed a path all its own.
From retirement and motherhood to un-retirement.
And from gold to gold.
On Wednesday, the Boisean and University of Idaho graduate capped her cycling career with one fast flourish, one more championship ride. She dominated the 18-mile Olympic time trial course, defeated 23 challengers, and defended the gold medal she had captured four years earlier in Beijing.
By the numbers, and by competitive cycling standards, it was an easy victory. Armstrong led virtually from start to finish. Her time, 37 minutes, 34.82 seconds, outpaced her nearest competitor by more than 15 seconds.
But easy, a relative term, does not reflect Armstrongs determined path back to the top.
A year after the Beijing victory, Armstrong retired. In September 2010, she gave birth to her son, Lucas. She returned to cycling in 2011, but not without some setbacks: a fractured left clavicle suffered during Mays Exergy Tour in Idaho, and another crash at the Olympics road race on Sunday.
But on Wednesday, in a sport where time is measured in the smallest fractions, Armstrong defied time. Ten days shy of her 39th birthday, she became the oldest road cycling champion in history.
Afterward, Armstrong told NBC, Im officially retired.
Shes earned it. And shes earned all the applause and accolades that await her when she returns to Boise.
Kevin Richert: 377-6437, Twitter: @KevinRichert