Creepy London Olympics mascots chase Will Rockwood Comic
Friday, August 3, 2012


Events Ads Fluff

NBC's Unintelligible Announcers

Rowdy Gaines goes supersonic and Bela Karolyi talks about... something.

You never know what NBC's announcers are going to talk about. In some cases, you can't even understand what they're saying. But hey, why would that matter for someone who's going to be heard more than seen? Wait a minute...




* Uh-oh. This is a bad sign. Meredith Viera is kicking off the evening with fluff about the Magnificent Seven, the nickname for the gold medal winning '96 US women's gymnastics team


We start with Kerri Strug, who first tried qualifying for the Olympic team in '92 for the Barcelona games, but wasn't ready yet. Bela Karolyi trained both her and Dominique Moceanu, and both qualified for Atlanta.


When the team finally made it to Atlanta, the US crowd was so loud that the Russian team couldn't concentrate. Even today, Svetlana Khorkina says the crowd was unfriendly towards non-US teams. Wow, really? I could never imagine a crowd from Georgia being unfriendly towards the commies. Suck it up, Ruskie. It's a poor athlete that blames the crowd.


Accentuating that point: the most famous vault since Mary Lou Retton. The Americans, needing one good vault to win gold, had two people miss and needed Kerri to hit her attempt, otherwise the whiny Russians would win. Strug, who had injured her ankle in her first vaulting attempt, stuck the landing to the second vault on ONE LEG. Then she collapsed in pain. To sum up, Khorkina whines, "The crowd didn't like meeeeeeee"; Strug ignored physical pain and stuck the vault. That's why 16 years later we're celebrating the Magnificent Seven and not the великолепная семерка.


Back in the studio with Bob, we get to talk to Bela and Marta Karolyi about the '96 team and how they compare to the '12 team. I still can only understand half of the things Bela says, but he says it with such enthusiasm that I could listen to him talk all day.


I still get a big smile on my face every time I see Kerri's famous vault. It's one of those sporting moments that was so unbelievable that I still remember jumping off of my couch in excitement when I saw it. But still, fluff.


* Fun fact: says Wikipedia about Khorkina, "She has been heavily criticized for bad sportsmanship and is notorious for proclaiming herself the winner in events she did not win." I never would have guessed that.


* Michael Phelps had won six medals in Beijing and was tired. His coach told him, "Suck it up, Phelps." Well, maybe not those exact words, but that's the gist of it. So he went out and won the 100m butterfly by maybe an inch. His mom will be remembered forever as being shocked. Or at least she'll be remembered forever as long as they keep showing this fluff.


* To the volleyball court, where the US women are taking on Serbia and trouncing them. Their coach is Hugh McCutcheon, who in '08 coached the men's team. Just before the Beijing games, his father-in-law was murdered and his mother-in-law was seriously injured in a knife attack at the Beijing Drum Tower. He missed three of the US volleyball games that year as a result. You know what's really amazing about that? Announcer Paul Sunderland tells us all about it while in the middle of the event. No fluff here!


* Back to springboard diving, where we'll be able to get our nightly fix of Chinese divers winning gold medals. What, is that premature? You know it's going to happen.


* The US divers get 30 seconds of fluff for the three medals that three different pairs have won. So, 10 seconds of fluff is all you get for a medal? At that rate, Michael Phelps is worth five minutes!


* US diver Cassidy Krug gets 15 seconds of fluffette. She hasn't even won a medal! How did she get five seconds more than someone who has?


* Volleyfluff! There's nothing more I really want to say about that. I just liked making up a word.


* How about some more fluff about America's sweetheart? Missy Franklin has raced in a bunch of races and won a few of them. This piece is really just a recap of her races. Borrring!


* Franklin will be racing the 200m backstroke in the lane next to American Elizabeth Beisel. Missy is tearing it up! After three lengths, she's so far out in front that the only question is will she beat the world record?


Annnnnd... yes! Rowdy Gaines is even more excited than usual. Lebron James is in the crowd, standing up and cheering her on. How would you like to have paid a hundred pounds for a swimming ticket and then get stuck behind Lebron James standing up and blocking your view? Beisel finishes with a bronze.


* A new event! We head off to Olympic Stadium for track and field, starting with the women's 100m qualifiers. They run! Yay!


* Missy Franklin gets another gold, which means she gets another chance to sing! And she does! Only 17 and in her first Olympics, Missy has now sung the Star Spangled Banner on the stand more times than Michael Phelps.


* Allyson Felix finished tied for third in the US Olympic trials, but got to run the 100m in the games because her opponent backed out to focus on the 200m. Therefore, she gets some fluff telling us all about it. In the meantime, three Americans qualified for the semifinal. Sweet.


* Marquise Goodwin competes in the long jump for the US, but when not jumping he plays wide receiver for the Texas Longhorns. Just for these two weeks, I won't hold that against him.


* Shot put! I love the shot put if for no other reason than it shows that Olympic athletes come in all shapes and sizes.


* Phelps fluff! This is a lot like Missy Franklin's fluff from earlier. Recap!


* And now the race! Phelps tries to threepeat the 100m butterfly. Halfway through, I think he's in last place. What? But wait! He turns it on in the home stretch and wins again! That's 17 gold medals and 21 medals overall, if you're counting at home. Not that you need to. NBC reminds us after every win.


* If you really want to count something, with number 21 now in his possession, Michael Phelps now has more medals in his history than 77 countries have in theirs.


* The women's 800m freestyle takes so long that NBC can insert a commercial break in the middle of it. With 150m left, Rowdy Gaines starts to go out of his mind with excitement as Katie Ledecky sets a world record pace. Right at the end she falls just short of the record, but she still wins gold. At only 15 years old, Gaines is ranting about the future of American swimming, with Katie and Missy being the backbone. I'm sure he had more to say, but as he got more excited, the pitch of his voice got so high that only dogs could hear it.


* Cesar Cielo of Brazil, winner of the 50m freestyle in 2008, gets some fluff because he failed a doping test that was later overturned. Later he made a gesture that some people considered a racial slur against the Chinese. He says it wasn't. Regardless, this fluff piece took three minutes while the 50m free itself takes only 22 seconds.


* Take a good look, says Bob Costas, at Michael Phelps' last medal ceremony. Maybe he'll sing this time! His mom is in the crowd and she's singing. Ryan Lochte is in the crowd and he's singing. Half a dozen other swimmers are in the crowd. All singing. Michael? Sigh. Well, maybe he's just insecure about his singing voice.


* Back to the track and the men's 1500m. What is the deal with all of the day-glo yellow shoes this year? At least half of these racers are wearing them, and there were a bunch earlier in the 100m races. Who has the contract to shoe all of the Olympians?


* American Matthew Centrowitz's father, Matt, would have run in the 1500m race in the 1980 Olympics but then the boycott happened. Judging by the elder Centrowitz's picture, he was a fan of either Tom Selleck or Ron Burgundy. You don't see people running with a 'stache like that anymore.


* Back to the shot put, where we get a quickly edited piece to show the two Americans throw. Christian Cantwell finished fourth, but Reese Hoffa gets the bronze. The only other shot putters NBC shows are the men who finished in 1st and 2nd. The winning throw was a little over 71 feet. To give you an idea of how powerful that is, a shot put is 16 pounds. A bowling alley is 60 feet long. Imagine throwing a 16 pound bowling ball in the air from the foul line to 10 feet past the bowling pins. If you can do that, you can win the Olympics.


* Al Trautwig welcomes us to men's trampoline. It's very acrobatic, but I think the fan appeal is kind of like NASCAR's. You know you're just waiting for someone to miss the trampoline after one of their flips.

The last competitor is from China. His name is Dong Dong. Is he related to Long Duck? He wins gold.


* Back in the studio, Bob talks to... the Flying Tomato? Snowboarding Olympian Shawn White gives his analysis of the trampoline. He talks about how he's been hanging out and watching the events. Then he and John McEnroe fenced. No, not by peddling counterfeit Olympics merchandise, but by taking up epees and swordfighting. This is completely bizarre. I like Shawn, but what is he doing here in the Summer Games? Is this some kind of promotion for the next Olympic games? I don't think that people in 2014 are going to think back to this interview and say, "Hey! That reminds me, I have to watch the Winter Olympics."


* To the medal ceremony, where 15-year-old Katie Ledecky gets her gold. Singing! She's singing, trembling, laughing, and crying all at the same time. Maybe Rowdy Gaines is right about the future of the American swim team appearing bright.



The night started bad, with nothing but ads and fluff for the first 30 minutes of the broadcast. But as the evening progressed there was actually a good variety of events for the first time. It took a week, but maybe NBC is finally getting into a groove. See you tomorrow!