Thursday, August 26, 2004
We are paid a visit by Apate, the
Greek goddess of lies and deceit, as the fluff ties a high for these
games just when it looked like we were going to get out with a record
low. Curse the Olympic gods!
- A bit of linking, first. I actually got major press
coverage today. Almost.
Daily Oklahoman found out about the Olympic Watch and posted the
URL not only on their online site, but also in the actual newspaper.
Unfortunately, they posted the wrong URL. There's
no "dot" between "Rockwood" and "comic," guys. Ah,
I was so close to being big! Oh well.
- We start today at the track, and after getting
to see to heats in the Women's 1500-meter race, we go to...
- Fluff! U.S. long jumper Dwight Phillips got run
over by a motorcycle when he was 14 years old and both of his legs
were broken. Now he's an the Olympic long jumper! Let this be an inspiration
to all of you 14-year-olds with two broken legs out there! You can
Oh, and Dwight did do it, making his first jump the longest of the
- "Chevrolet Olympic Moments" with Jimmy Roberts
today features Chinese diver Guo Jingjing. She left home at the tender
age of 11 so she could train to be the world's best diver. Why? Because
"sometimes you must turn in the life you know for the life you want
to be." Ah yes, Jimmy-san. You speak much wisdom. Reading from Chapter
6, Verse 2 of Kung-Fu, Jimmy
also tells us that "success walks side by side with sacrifice." Of
course! Profound, Jimmy! Very profound!
Can you snatch the pebble from my hand? No? Can you not do any
more of these insipid stories? Still no? You have failed, grasshopper.
Go. Walk the Earth.
- Okay, it's not "Stobe-Motion," like I've called
it before, it's StroMotion,
from Dartfish, who also makes the SimulCam I've
been raving about. Anyway, I only bring that up again because Cynthia
Potter used StroMotion to analyze American Rachelle Kunkel's dives. Very
- Also on diving, we learn the story of Australian
diver Irina Lashko. Fortunately, we learn this not throught fluff,
but from play-by-play man Ted Robinson. Irina used to dive for Russia,
but moved to Australia and wanted to dive for the Aussies in Sydney.
However, the Russians wouldn't let go of her eligibility until one
day after the 2000 diving competition was over.
Now Irina is mad at Russia and Ted says, "She's diving with anger."
Yes, Irina! Feel the power of the Dark Side of the swim complex!
flow through you!
- Ads. Who exactly does McDonald's think all of
these chicken strip thieves are? Is there some kind of chicken-strip-stealing
gang that I don't know about?
- The gold medal women's soccer game was today.
Would you like to know who won? Let me tell you.
First, there were some young girls, and they loved to play soccer.
So they all got together and got really good and won
the first Olympic medal awarded for women's soccer in the 1996 Atlanta
games. And then they...
Oh wait! This is all irrelevant to who won today, isn't it? It was
the United States, in double overtime. Wow! Double overtime? Yep! Wouldn't
you like to hear about that? Too bad. We're going to tell you about
what a great moment this is for women's athletics in general. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!
NBC allotted seven-and-a-half minutes to the gold-medal-winning U.S.
soccer team tonight. Only three of those minutes were highlights of
the actual game. NBC, if you really want to show me how
far women have come in sports, stop covering their events like a powder-puff
football game and show me the highlights of their victory. You know,
like you'd do with the men.
- So, at an hour and ten minutes into the show
there's already over eight minutes of fluff. Not too good. However,
for the next ninety minutes, none! Awesome!
- NBC expertly took us around Olympic stadium for
an hour-and-a-half, where plenty was going on. We saw two heats each
for the Men's 100-meter hurdles, the Men's 800-meter race, and the
Women's 4x100-meter relay. Interspersed with all of that was continuing
coverage of the Men's Long Jump. Why, it was almost like being there!
- The medal ceremony for the U.S. Women's soccer
team brought all of them to the podium, smiling and singing at the
top of their lungs. You know how I've been asking athletes to sing
the national anthem for the entirety of these games? Well, I still
think they should sing, but maybe NBC shouldn't actually mike them.
Don't quit your day jobs, girls.
Then, as if on cue, Bob Costas pops up in the studio saying that he'll
be interviewing the team in the studio later, "but we promise we will
not let them sing." Heh.
- American long jumper John Moffitt uses an older
technique for jumping. Instead of the "leg-kick" made popular
by Carl Lewis, he uses a post-jump method called "soaring." Why
do I bring this up? Because the super-slow-mo camera that catches Moffitt
he's soaring is so cool. The camera is on ground level
next to the landing pit, so it looks up at the jumpers as they're going
by. The first time they showed Moffitt jumping through the air my jaw
hit the floor. An extra scoop of ice cream for whoever picked that
- Bob promises us another half-hour of uninterrupted
events. I've got my watch out, Bob. Go!
- In what should have set off some alarms in my
head, NBC turns immediately to fluff. We get ninety seconds on Felix
Sanchez and how he's a hero in the Dominican Republic.
- But then it's off to the track, where Felix runs
and wins the Men's 400-meter hurdles. Oddly, when trackside reporter
Bob Neumeier asks him what makes a champion, his response includes,
"eye of the tiger!" Huh? I'm sorry, but every time someone mentions
"Eye of the Tiger" now all I can say is, Glen! Glen-Glen-Glen!
- Hey, Justin Gatlin and Shawn Crawford are competitors,
but they can still be friends! Awwwwwww! Fluff.
- The United States finishes one-two-three in the
Men's 200-meters and NBC finishes 32 minutes of uninterrupted coverage.
This show's been
pretty good so far! There have only been 12 minutes of fluff, and there's
only 36 minutes of program left. Everything's going great! Ha! Ha!
Ha! Ha! Psyche!
- The post-non-interruption starts out okay,
with Shawn Crawford singing the national anthem at his medal ceremony
(note: no microphone). But it goes rapidly downhill from there.
- Bob interviews the U.S. Women's soccer
team for six minutes. Okay... well, they won the gold, so I guess
that's understandable. But couldn't we have had this interview earlier
in the show in place of the four-and-a-half minutes of soccer fluff
we had earlier?
- After the commercial break (AT&T Callvantage:
"We're merging phones with the internet!" thus causing phones everywhere
to crash), we come back to...
No! Great Zeus's ghost! It's Al Trautwig, and he's going to talk about
Paul Hamm and how somebody hurt his feelings for ten minutes!
TEN MINUTES! On Paul Hamm! Remember him? How could
you forget Paul Hamm? There's only been coverage of Paul Hamm for almost
every day of the Olympics. And now it's like we're
recapping every move he's made of his entire athletic career.
Now, I like Paul, and I think he's getting the short end of the stick
on all of this judging controversy, but STOP PUTTING PAUL HAMM
ON TELEVISION! Seriously,
NBC, gymnastics is over! Even the controversy is over,
as the International Olympic Committee has said they're not going to
Who ordered this story? Who at NBC thought, "you know what we need?
Another gymnastics fluff piece! And let's put it on in the last 30
minutes of the show!" No, no, no, no, no.... a thousand times NO!
at least now that we've done 16 straight minutes of fluff, we'll close
out with some event coverag---
- NOOOOOOO! Now Bob Costas is interviewing
I.O.C. president Jacques Rogge. More fluff? Not only that, edited
fluff! You can tell because when Jacques starts talking about his
favorite moments of these Olympics, NBC has the clips ready to go.
No one's that fast on tape, so these were edited-on later.
Incidentally, Bob wasn't just tossing softball questions to Rogge.
He asked him some tough questions, and Rogge answered--in English,
his second language--without missing a beat. You don't get to be
I.O.C. president if you're a chump.
- So, in the last 36 minutes of programming tonight,
NBC crammed in 9 minutes of ads and 22 minutes of fluff, leaving 5
generous minutes for events. Egad. It's like watching Paul Hamm tumble
off that vault all over again. How quickly they fall.
Well, I guess I always suspected that the broadside
was coming, but I was still surprised when it actually hit. Hopefully
this was a one time thing and not a sign of things to come.
Because, you know, I really don't want to have to
listen to Al Trautwig emote anymore. See you tomorrow!
2004 Brian Lundmark, all images and text on this page.
All rights reserved. Tell
me about it!