To put it into perspective, fencing will have 2 1/2 hours of dedicated television time for the entirety of the Olympics. Meanwhile, beach volleyball will have four hours of dedicated programming on opening day alone.
In that 2 1/2 hours of coverage, NBC will not be focusing on a single men's event. This means that three of the most interesting fencers on Team USA , which I recently detailed here, will get little or no television exposure.
A fan's perspective
To be honest, I did not realize the depths of my disappointment until the question of NBC's general coverage came up during an interview. Tony Modica, afternoon host on Jacksonville's Sports Radio 930, asked me about NBC's coverage of the 2012 Olympics.
As I voiced my dissatisfaction with its fencing coverage, I realized just how many great storylines would be missed by the absence of men's fencing. Whether it is France's "Three Musketeers" or young U.S. phenom Alexander Massialas, men's fencing has a lot to offer this year. I fully admit that I stumbled as I tried to fit so many reasons in to such a short time span. The lack of coverage will be very disappointing to most fans of the sport.
Personally, I am also extremely disappointed that all of the coverage has been relegated to MSNBC as well. Nothing against the network, but it is not available in high definition in my area. I was very hopeful to see at least one bout in HD.
The lack of televised bouts will be a sorely missed opportunity. Fencing is not as well-known in the U.S. as some of the more televised Olympic sports. While the gold-medal three-peat attempt by Mariel Zagunis will intriguing to watch, potential young male athletes will miss seeing fencers they may readily identify with. The Olympics only roll around once every four years. It is unfortunate that an entire freshman high school glass will graduate before men's fencing will have another shot on the world stage.
With so many sports vying for the world's attention, there are only so many hours of television to go around. I just wish fencing had gotten a slightly larger piece of the viewing pie.
Christopher Beheler has followed the Olympics since 1984. Christopher became a fan of fencing after attending lessons for a stage play.
- Sports & Recreation
- 2012 Olympics