European broadcasters oppose swimming, gymnastic Olympic events timings

MUMBAI: The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has formally protested the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s decision to hold some Olympic swimming and gymnastic finals in the morning during the 2008 Beijing Games.

Media reports indicate that IOC had announced the changes last week in a concession to US broadcaster NBC. However the EBU says that this means that the events willl occur in the middle of the night in Europe.

In a statement the EBU says, "With this decision the IOC ends the tradition of staging these finals in the evening irrespective of the time zone at the venue. Viewers in Europe as well as the vast majority of the global TV audience will be disadvantaged."

Swimmers too have registered their protest in a letter. Ian Thorpe says, "I won't make a habit of posting annoyances here but this one just blew my mind. Anyone else think it irritating that NBC is putting pressure on the IOC to change the swimming schedule to only benefit the US prime time audience? That's nice but what about the rest of the planet, who last time I checked, were also involved in the Olympics."

Pieter van den Hoogenband says, "Do you see the big athletes of the 100 metre sprint, the Powells and Gatlins, running their final in the morning? Come on. Be serious. For one time, one tournament, they alternate the programme, because of American goals. Without knowing the opinion of the men to swim: we, us. This is worthless. For me especially. I am not a morning person. To be at my best at ten o'clock, shortly after breakfast, is impossible ."

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