Action is already underway at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but the event doesn’t formally commence until Friday’s opening ceremony.
Although the ceremony begins at 7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus confirmed to Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald that the network won’t air the presentation until 8 p.m. ET. Fans who plan on live-streaming the opening ceremony can watch on the NBC Sports app.
So far, the Olympics haven’t gotten off to a rousing start.
This isn’t the first year infrastructure and security concerns were dominant storylines in the buildup to an Olympics. The 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, and 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are two of the bigger examples from the recent past.
Both events largely went off without a hitch. The same may be said of the Rio Olympics as time passes, but general dysfunction has been the theme so far.
Members of the Australian delegation complained of exposed wires and inoperable toilets. Once they finally got settled in, a small fire forced the Australian athletes to evacuate their building, and some athletes later complained they had been robbed during the evacuation.
Dallas Mavericks center Andrew Bogut shared a photo of the accommodations:
As if the housing issues aren’t enough, Olympic organizers also have to worry about the quality of the water used for some of the aquatic events. The Associated Press’ Jenny Barchfield reported athletes could be exposed to viruses transmitted through the contaminated waterways. Barchfield wrote how the massive level of contamination was clear to the naked eye:
Viewed from above, Rio’s sewage problem is as starkly visible as on the spreadsheets of the AP analysis: Rivers are tar-black; the lagoons near the Olympic Park bloom with fluorescent green algae that thrives amid sewage; fishermen’s wooden boats sink into thick sludge in the Guanabara Bay; surfers paddle amid a giant brown stain that contrasts with the azure of the surrounding waters.
Given everything that has happened in Rio so far, and the state government’s failure to live up to the lofty promises it made during the bid process, some fans may wonder whether the Olympics serve a positive purpose anymore.
The opening ceremony will be a reminder of what the event—at its heart—is all about. Some of the best athletes in the world have worked for years in order to be recognized on a global stage. No matter the sport, it’s always inspiring to see the training and sacrifices athletes have made bear fruit at the Olympics.
Medal winners become overnight celebrities, and even those who fall short of their goals can become immortalized. Derek Redmond’s father helping him cross the finish line in the 400-meter dash in 1992 is among the most famous images from the Olympics.
It’s impossible for the various problems plaguing the citizens of Rio not to sit in the back of the minds of fans watching from home. At the same time, those fans can enjoy what the Olympics represent while simultaneously having concern about what is going on in the city.
Watching the opening ceremony should help viewers get into the Olympic spirit.