Comcast CEO Brian Roberts | Photo courtesy Comcast
Remember the Olympics? The world’s social and political climate may have shadowed this summer’s grand sporting event, but the games are still happening in less than two weeks. About 207 countries and 10,500 athletes are expected to participate, and Comcast says it will capture it all. The company has been working all along to bring fans a viewing experience of the future, they say.
For the Olympic enthusiasts out there, Comcast and NBCUniversal will record every single event and have a projected 6,775 hours of Olympic content available, including live, on demand and online streaming content.
If you sat down to watch that content straight through, you’d be at it for 250 days.
We are still 249 days away from the next Summer Olympics. But we already know which local athlete Philadelphians will be rooting to make it to Rio next August: Penn Charter swimmer Reece Whitley.
Whitley is just 15, and a sophomore at the school. He’s also 6-foot-8, has won a junior national championship and holds five individual national age-group records in the pool. He’s qualified for the Olympic trials in June. For this and for his “talent, humility, and willingness to mentor younger athletes in his sport,” Whitley was named the Sports Illustrated for Kids SportsKid of the Year today.
Whitley (with Coach Keelan) is fast enough to qualify for the 2016 Olympic trials. Photograph by Jared Castaldi
When the grueling pace of kindergarten life overwhelmed him, Reece Whitley would escape to the bathtub. Two hours of soaking soothed his tired mind and prepared him for another tough day of coloring and story time. Even if the water cooled or his skin pruned, Whitley stayed in. “I just liked the feel of the water,” he says.
Whitley still loves the life aquatic, although those restorative soaks have been replaced by punishing swimming workouts. The Penn Charter freshman is one of the hottest young swimmers in the nation, owning a stack of age-group records and already posting fast enough times in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke to qualify him for the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha. At this past summer’s Junior (18-and-under) National Championships, 14-year-old Whitley finished third in the 200 and won the 100-meter “B” final.
Apparently Olympic skater—and Quarryville, Pennsylvania native—Johnny Weir was doing more than moderating for NBC (and Instagramming his outlandish outfits) at this year’s Sochi Winter Olympics. Amid all the flack he took for being there in the first place, Weir was covertly working with a film crew to document what it was like being gay at the games.
After years of speculation, Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe, 31, announced he was gay (or, “not straight,” as he put it) during a television interview which aired Sunday evening. He claimed during the interview that it wasn’t until the last two weeks that he could actually articulate his own sexuality.
The worst part is that it wasn’t a New York Sports fan, a national magazine list, or a hack comedian who made me face that fact, but our own city leaders. That’s what stings the most about the news.
Mayor Michael Nutter, Comcast Executive David L. Cohen, et al, confirmed our standing when they announced that the city was withdrawing from the bidding process to host the 2024 Olympics. So we are not even going to try because we can’t compete with the big boy cities. Sigh.
News out of New York this morning is that the city is kinda-maybe-not really interested in making a bid on the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Staff members in the offices of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have held “very preliminary” talks about the possibility of New York City’s bidding for the 2024 Summer Games, the governor said this week.
De Blasio, speaking at his own news conference Wednesday, played down the significance of the conversations.
“We have not had serious internal discussions about it,” he said, suggesting that he was lukewarm to the idea of attempting another bid. “I think we can safely say that the history of the Olympics, in a variety of cities around the world, has been a mixed bag.”
Philly has also expressed interest in the 2024 Olympics — to similarly lukewarm local response — and really, you can’t blame either city: Hosting the Olympics is a big, expensive, and arduous undertaking: The last two summer games required investments of more than $40 billion from their hosts. Why bother?
On the other hand, if that bigness is now intimidating and scary to the city of New York, maybe it’s time to reconsider the bigness of the Olympic enterprise itself. And that leads to a question: Why can’t New York and Philly — and, yes, New Jersey — share the Olympics?