A little late now, but I used the NBC Olympic portal web site and phone/tablet apps. When I was asked for my cable TV provider I selected ATT/U-Verse which is my internet provider. We are also cord cutters and do not have TV service. The NBC Olympic portal accepted this and I was able to watch the Olympics with no problems. I was able to watch full replays after the fact and some live events. I even watched the women’s team pursuit qualifiers on my phone while walking to my car after having lunch with my wife.
That said, I agree with most of your complaints and while I’m not sure if I just fell through some lucky loop hole or if it was by design, it did work well for me.
The beauty of this is that if I wanted to I was able to watch COMPLETE events start to finish. We watched the women’s triathlon from start to finish live without any flipping from event to event. Same for the mens and women’s time trial event. Similarly, wewatched the women’s road race after the fact. Though we did some fast forwarding, the whole 3+ hours was available without cutting over to events that I didn’t care about. This is the way it SHOULD work. And for that I would pay money if necessary. They need to understand that and figure it out.