Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic observations

Mrs. Dannation and I have lost sleep watching the Olympics. NBC has mostly gotten the coverage right. They've hit a good balance with live coverage, tape delay, and human interest stories. The commentators still...well they comment too much. Silence and atmosphere can reveal more insight than stating the obvious.

Other observations:
  • Beach volleyball: So the women wear bikinis, and the men don't. No complaints here, but Mrs. Dannation would like to see the men in banana hammocks.
  • Third member of the broadcast team: This needs to stop. Now. Really, what did Heather Cox "report" courtside? Andrea Kremer has cribbed notes from Jim Gray. Way to make U.S. diver Haley Ishamoto cry. (Links for video of this? I can't seem to search the NBC Olympics site for video clips to see if it's out there.)
  • Boxing: Head gear good. Concussions bad.
  • Dressage: Riding a horse while wearing a top hat is not a sport. Sorry.
  • Gymnastics: Mrs. Dannation is impressed by the gymnasts' buffness. Shawn Johnson will kick your ass, but she may need the assistance of a stepstool.
  • Match game: Some athletes fit their ethnic stereotypes. Some do not.
  • Bela Karolyi: Big ones, my friend. I refer, of course, to your boots. (Screen shot, anyone?)
Finally, Karolyi had suggested that, perhaps, some Chinese gymnasts were younger than their passports might suggest. The enterprising work of blogger Stryde Hax has revealed that public documents, archived on Google and other web indexing services, have disappeared. The IOC is investigating the matter. (Thanks to Deadspin for the tip.)

For what it's worth, He Kexin's gold medal-winning routine deserves all the superlatives and the medal. However, rules are rules. Sixteen means sixteen, even if you are He Kexin. (The IOC raised the age to 16 in 1997 to combat physical and mental stresses from competition, according to George Johnson.)

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