Looking ahead to an Olympics summer, and what happened to Universal Sports?

It must be because I joined the Flotrack Facebook site that I get Flotrack Facebook news posts on my wall.  So I am more aware than I usually am about the United States Olympics marathon trials this year, which will take place in Houston on Saturday.

At some point I should write something about Flotrack itself.  If you don’t know, it is a wonderful site that presents videos, blogs, and of course results about track and field and running generally, with an emphasis on elite running at the high school, college, and professional levels, but with some attention to not-elites, too.  Anyone can have an account with a training log, for example.  I’m not a big Flotracker, but I am slowly getting hooked.  The site takes its name from its brother founders Mark and Martin Floreani, who also happen to be Saint Ignatius alumni.

Anyway, that awareness of this weekend’s Olympics marathon trials prompted me to take a look at the Olympics calendar for the summer.

The U.S. Olympics trials for track and field will take place at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon starting on Friday, June 22 and ending on Thursday, July 2.

Track and field at the London Olympics—remember that you find it under “Athletics” on the London Olympics web site—begins on Friday, August 3.  Competition on the track itself actually ends on Saturday, August 11.  The men’s marathon is the final event of the track competition and one of the final events at the London Olympics on Sunday, August 12.

I assume that NBC sports will handle the Olympics trials as well as the Olympics themselves.  At the start of the New Year, the name of the Versus cable channel was changed to the NBC Sports channel, and this channel will presumably have a heavy Olympics schedule.

We’re not such track and field freaks that we would plan our summers around these events.  But we certainly want to be near a television when we can be.

I have noticed that the NBC-affiliated Universal Sports channel has been dropped from our Comcast cable line-up.   Universal Sports has a heavy emphasis on coverage of Olympics sports events, including  sports that I care about–triathlon, cycling, and track and field–between the Olympics, especially.  I seem to remember watching daily coverage of the trials last time around on that station?  It used to be available as a free digital television channel, 5.3 in Chicago, but apparently it is no longer be available that way, either.  That is a big loss–because it is one of those stations that I used to check every time I turned on the television.

This will require more research.  I guess I still have plenty of time to do so.

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