1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics on TV in the USA
October 18, 2009 5:26 AM   Subscribe

Were the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics broadcast on tape delay in the United States? How can I figure out the TV schedule? Anecdotes of events you remember watching would help.

I found this schedule of the Sarajevo Olympic events, but I want to know what time the events were shown on TV in the US (specifically, in the Eastern time zone). The broadcasting network was ABC.

Were all events tape-delayed or only some? Which ones? Did anyone get up early to watch Bill Johnson win a gold medal in the Men's Downhill, for instance?

This is research for a kids' novel I'm writing, so if anyone has memories of watching the Sarajevo Olympics on TV (especially if you were 8-10 years old at the time) I would love to hear them.
posted by alicat to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
It doesn't specifically answer your questions, but this NYT article has some anecdotes about the broadcast relating to the opening ceremonies, commentators, and strange John Denver performance.

I actually was 8 when I saw the Sarajevo Olympics on TV, but I remember next to nothing about it.
posted by dayintoday at 5:43 AM on October 18, 2009

Best answer: Everything was on tape delay and broadcast during prime time. Most news outlets were pretty good about not revealing the results, unlike today.
Because of the time difference, Winter Games from western European venues require taping for later airing in the United States. Albertville, like Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, site of the 1984 Winter Games, is six hours ahead of Eastern time. Most Albertville events will start in the morning or early afternoon in France -- certainly not prime time for the slumbering American audience.
ABC handled its scheduling from Sarajevo as CBS will, taping morning and afternoon events for evening broadcast. The evening was ABC's only time slot on weekdays, with afternoon programming only on weekends. ABC filled 63 hours from Sarajevo; CBS will fill 116 from Albertville.
Source: New York Times
posted by Lame_username at 6:13 AM on October 18, 2009

I was too old for your target, but I remember the brothers taking 1st and 2nd in the slalom and Johnson being in the prime time coverage. I also remember Torvil & Dean getting perfect scores, also in prime time. I'm 99% sure that both Scott Hamilton and Katerina Witt were in prime time too. I was something of an Olympics nerd and I'm quite certain I watched pretty much every minute, although I may have been not entirely sober for much of it.
posted by Lame_username at 6:22 AM on October 18, 2009

Best answer: According to wikipedia, the 1984 Winter Olympics took place between Feb 7th and Feb 19th.

You can buy this Feb 11th 1984 TV Guide on ebay right now.

I remember watching Torvill and Dean, but I watched them from my VCR. A lot of people were time-shifting their TV viewing even back then.
posted by marsha56 at 6:35 AM on October 18, 2009

I remember the American skier (I forget his name) saying he was going to win the downhill.
and he did.
I remember reading later he had a very bad crash and is now disabled and a bit of a mess.
posted by SatansCabanaboy at 10:04 AM on October 18, 2009

As a girl in Sarajevo, I participated in the opening ceremonies, and my family took in guests, as places to stay were pretty limited and the guests brought in some foreign money. I remember, vaguely, Americans spending lots of money to use phones to call in results of some of the bigger early morning (for us; middle of the night for Americans) events. So I've got to believe there was a tape delay on at least the events which took place in the morning.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:03 PM on October 18, 2009

Response by poster: Well, there goes that plot point! In Canada everything was broadcast live, so I remember watching events at school during the day, and having the TV on in the morning during breakfast. Gaetan Boucher (the speed skater) was my hero.

Thanks for the research and the personal tidbits (especially yours, Dee Xtrovert. How exciting to participate in the opening ceremonies!). I'll take it back to the drawing board. And I'll see if I can get that TV Guide issue once I'm back home--what a great idea, marsha56!
posted by alicat at 5:30 AM on October 20, 2009

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