Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympic Notes, 2008

It occurs to me that this very silly blog basically began as a vehicle of writing about The Khorkina. (Peace be upon Her.) The Olympics are back and Galley Slaves has only devolved in terms of its ambitions. So some thoughts on these Olympics:

* NBC deserves enormous credit for a number of aspects of their broadcast--starting with the Glorious High Definition. It's the best my plasma screen has ever looked--even Discovery HD Theater's Sunrise Earth looks like foggy gunk by comparison.

* Also, NBC is putting Mary Carrillo to use doing feature packages. Awesome. She's a huge talent. Could be the next Costas.

* All of that said, could Jack Donaghy please send out a memo forbidding the color commentators from using the phrase "It's all about [insert name, skill, result, etc]!"

* Also, you know what's a lot of fun to watch during the Olympics? Actual events. Packages telling us Olympic Stories to Make Us Care are boring. So are long studio interviews with people like the president of the United States.

* The ads are pretty impressive, too. My favorites are the incredibly detailed and beautiful spots for United Airlines. They must have cost a fortune. Southwest never has gorgeous, awe-inspiring ads. Hmmm. Maybe there's a lesson in there somewhere . . .

* Visa's ad featuring the Morgan Freedman voiceover, on the other hand, is ridiculous. Their catchphrase: "Go World." Sure thing. Let's give everyone gold medals!

* Watching Women's Synchro 3-meter Diving (I told you, I'm a sucker for this stuff), I couldn't help but notice that the judge from the Netherlands was the Paula Abdul of the event, spitting out 10s and 9.5s by the bucket. She was the high score for almost every dive NBC showed.

* During some prelim heat, the broadcasters were breathlessly recounting the twisted tale of French swimmer Laure Manaudou: She moved to Italy to be with her Italian boyfriend; she broke up with him; he posted naked pictures (and a sex video!) of her on the interweb, and--this is the best part--started dating her chief rival.

Hearing all of this it struck me that with the exception of the really big sports, the interior workings of most sports--not just figure skating and gymnastics--must approximate the world of ballroom dance.

* Did you know that Bart Connor and Nadia Comaneci are married? Oh sure you did. But did you know they also have their own website, I think not. They do speeches and personal appearances. I'm just saying.

* Is it just me, or is it hard to root against the Chi-Coms? During the Cold War, I not only wanted our jocks to crush the godless Reds, I wanted the Ruskies to suffer, too. I never forgave that mean Russian boxer for killing Apollo Creed. It just wasn't right.

But I kind of like the Chinese athletes. They aren't in the least bit threatening. Instead, the all seem vaguely put-upon. It's more apparent that they're victims of their government. So I guess I'm sort of pulling for them.


Unknown said...

Let's learn Chinese! Time to learn zhongwen at

Anonymous said...

I happily root against the chinese. Fuck them.

Anonymous said...

This is the first Olympics I will entirely skip. I'm not missing it. It has become the world's fair of athletics.

Anonymous said...

Did you catch Manaudou in the 800? She sprinted out to the lead for the first 150 and then finished dead last, 6 seconds behind the second-to-last finisher. It was embarrassing. I felt kinda bad, then I remembered she was French. I also remembered that she not only left France to be with her boyfriend, she tried to quit the French team and swim with the Italians. Class act. Oh, and she's fug.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I misread what you wrote about Manaudou; at first I thought that she herself was dating her rival, not her ex-boyfriend.

Ralphie said...

Anyone who's bought some delicious Devonshire crackers knew about Bart 'n' Nadia!

As for the Chinese, you kinda don't want them to be beaten by their overlords.