Can’t get enough of the Olympics?
The Paley Center for Media has just the ticket in a new permanent collection that includes more than 1,300 hours of Olympic and Olympic-related programs.
The U.S. Olympic Archive presented by Gordon Crawford, digitally archived to ensure its preservation, represents the broadcast and cablecast history of the games from the 1960 Winter Games in Squaw Valley through the 2012 London Games.
Crawford is Chairman of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation as well as being a Paley Center trustee emeritus. Passionate about the Olympic movement, Crawford worked with the United States Olympic Committee to bring these recordings to the museum. “I’m thrilled that these broadcasts will now have a home at the Paley Center so that the public will always have access to this shared cultural history,” says Crawford.
The entries in this archive are full blocks of programming just as they initially aired on American television, complete with commentary by announcers and containing original commercials.
“Because of the inclusion of all of these elements in the full blocks, viewers really get to experience not only Olympic history but also television history,” explains Paley Media Center’s Chief Marketing Officer Maureen Reidy. “When you watch any of these competitions, you truly are transported back to that time and it’s really thrilling to watch these events as they unfold in real time.”
Viewers can choose to relive the thrilling defeat of the Soviet Union by the United States hockey team in the 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ game, watch the ‘Magnificent Seven’ Women’s Gymnastics Team triumph in Atlanta in 1996 or take in every race that lead to Michael Phelps winning a stunning eight gold medals in 2008.
In addition to the newly acquired archives, the Paley Center has also partnered with NBC to bring the network’s live broadcasts of the Sochi games to the museum. The ongoing broadcast will be shown in both branches of the Paley Center in New York and Los Angeles. As an added bonus the first 40 visitors to The U.S. Olympic Archive presented by Gordon Crawford at each location will receive an official gift from the USOC.
“We really want to celebrate the games and encourage fans of all ages to come to the Paley Center to watch the Sochi events on the big screen, movie-style, and take some time to look back at past Olympic performances. We have it all right here, and, believe me, you will be inspired,” says Reidy. “It’s all free and open to the public. It’s a great way to really get into the Olympic spirit.”
Reidy goes on to say that the archive is not just for diehard Olympic fans. “This archive honestly offers something for everyone. Yes, at its core it’s about sport, but when you watch these events, you’re not just watching the competition; you’re actually seeing where the world was at that time, what was happening nationally and internationally. These aren’t fictionalized accounts; this is the way that things really happened. There’s history and emotion, cheering and tears, triumph and tragedy. What more could you ask for?”
After the games come to a close in Sochi, that need not be the end of the Olympic experience for true fans of sport, and, more importantly, fans of history and the true human condition. The U.S. Olympic Archive will live on at the Paley Center, continuing to celebrate the past, present and future of the games.
For more information about The Paley Center for Media and The U. S. Olympic Archive presented by Gordon Crawford, please visit paleycenter.org.