Summon the heroes

Olympics rings

As I’ve written before, I love the Olympics. I love the music. I love the faux-drama, manufactured and packaged by the broadcasters. I love the fact that, for two glorious weeks, I don’t have to decide what to watch on TV.

Most of all, though, I love the Olympics medal ceremonies. There’s something irresistible about about watching an athlete experience the pinnacle of his career live on TV. When that national anthem kicks in, the tears flow, and we get to piggy-back on the winner’s emotional high.

Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to find these medal ceremonies online. Even during the Olympics, NBC seems to delight in hiding them. And soon after the Games end, that network pulls its clips permanently.

I’m guessing that the broadcast rights lapse and revert to the Olympic Committee. But I can’t explain why the IOC doesn’t do a better job of curating this content online. Why not make all Olympic highlights—including the medal awards—instantly viewable online? Are they hoping to sell lame DVD box sets? That era is over. Is it too expensive to run this sort of video portal? Sell ads against the content, implement a subscription plan, or—heck—put them on YouTube for free.

But don’t shoot yourself in the foot by locking this valuable content in a vault somewhere. Don’t block your most enthusiastic fans from celebrating your product. Instead, make it easy to search, filter, play back, and share highlights from every tournment stretching back to the dawn of the television era. Let me watch all the women’s rowing medal ceremonies from the 2012 Games (for example), boiled down into a single, gloriously emotional playlist.