August 30, 2004

The Olympics are over. Where will I go for my heartwarming personal stories and occasional tape-delayed sports action?

The Athens games went off far slicker than I thought they would, better than anyone outside of Greece expected, I’d bet. Some final thoughts:

-On NBC’s primetime coverage we saw swimming, gymnastics, track, diving or volleyball approximately 85% of the time. This did not leave room for much else. Add to that Jimmy Roberts’ nightly inspiration, and we have an awful lot of sports not covered anywhere other than the late-night/early-morning ghetto. Would it have killed us to change that? I mean, must we see the Gymnastic Gala for crying out loud? Carly Patterson did the same floor routine four times, in the team, individual all-around, individual event and gala. Did we need to see the damned thing all FOUR times?

-Speaking of Carly… No matter how much NBC tried to shove her down our throats, she just isn’t that interesting. In fact, she’s the blandest girl I can imagine. Especially when you compare her to her teammates, like Mohini Bhardwarj, who was left off the 1996 and 2000 teams, and ended up taking a job delivering pizzas to pay for her training, or Tarin Humphrey and Courtney Kupets, both of whom came back from nasty injuries.

-Since we’re on gymnastics, I’d best cover the Paul Hamm Gold/Non-Gold story. I dunno. I mean, I laugh at people who say Hamm should give up his medal to prove Americans are nice people. He didn’t go to Athens to be nice, he went to win. And he did, sorta. You had to expect something like to happen. Problems with judges are part of being a subjective sport as opposed to an objective one. Did the Korean guy get screwed? Yeah, he did. Could you redo all the judging and come up with an entirely different result? Probably. I also dislike the two gold medals idea. Sorry folks, sports are a zero-sum business. I win, you lose or you win and I lose.

-The most exciting thing I saw during the Olympics was not the Men’s 100-meter run, nor was it the Men’s 200-meter freestyle relay in swimming. It was the Gold medal game in women’s handball. I’m serious. I caught this during an insomnia spell on Saturday night. It was Denmark over South Korea in double overtime. It really seemed to exemplify the Olympics to me: a sport that American’s don’t give a damn about (if they even know it exists) and two teams giving absolutely everything on the court.

-Marion Jones goes medal-less. I got no problem with that. The Mrs. Frinklin and I came to the conclusion that she’s a nice enough person with seriously bad taste in friends.

-Loudy Tourky is just about the best name ever.

-I really wish NBC weren't so damned USA-centric. I don't know about everyone else, but watching Fani Halkia win the Women's 400M hurdles or Hicham El-Guerrouj win the 1500M and 8000M runs was as exciting as watching Justin Gatlin win the 100M or Shawn Crawford win the 200M.

-The most impressive team performance in the Olympics was the US Women's softball team (51-1!!!), but a close second was the US Men's 4X400M relay team. It was like Secretariat at the end. It was a very classy move of Jeremey Wariner not to run the anchor.

-The Bejing portion of the Closing Ceremony was cool.

-The Winter Olympics are still better…

Posted by Frinklin at August 30, 2004 06:30 PM
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