NBC will not be offering live online feeds of any events that will be broadcast on TV. The ones broadcast on TV will, of course, include the most popular events and the ones that people are most likely to tune into. The video of the events will be on NBC's site only after the events have been completed. With this in mind, it is clear that NBC views its online offering as a supplement to their TV broadcast and not as any sort of a replacement.
Many have been really quick to heavily criticize this move by NBC, but I'm not jumping on that bandwagon just yet. I am usually not one to defend old media (see my post on Why Broadcast TV Sucks), but I have some sympathy for NBC here. I applaud NBC for taking this major leap into the online distribution of this major event in the first place. It's an unfamiliar road and a departure from a model that has worked for NBC for a very long time.
Of course, we would love to see every live stream available to us, with videos and highlights that we could embed on other sites, but this may be too radical of a first step for NBC. Think of this year's Olympic webcast as testing the waters. If NBC's web offerings prove to be profitable this year, then maybe they will expand their offerings in years to come. The Olympics only happen every two years (the more popular Summer version every four) and I can understand NBC not wanting to gamble too much on this very costly venture.
An online feed of an event like the Olympics (or any sporting event for that matter) can offer all sorts of rich functionality, including realtime statistics, scores, and leaderboards. There is no doubt in my mind that rich functionality will eventually win out, whether it is viewed on your computer or through a new interface on your TV. If it doesn't look like they get it now, NBC and the other networks will eventually see the light, but these big companies may just need a little more time to make the switch at their own pace.
Don't believe the haters, NBC's online offering of the Olympics is a step in the right direction, just not two steps as a lot had hoped.