To Podium, A New Olympic Verb

Hey NBC, stop with the medal ceremony.  Focus on the games and the performances, but don’t expect a performance on the medal stand.  Enough of the creepy zoom ins to check for patriotic tears and vocals.  Clearly, and I think unfairly so, the hope and expectation of the photographer is for the gold medal winner to be overcome with joy, emotion and patriotism.  The camera wants tears, and a believable attempt at the national anthem, or at least a convincing lip synch with hand over heart. The stoic gold medalist may be accused of ambivalence or apathy, even selfishness. The other medalists are expected to look humbled, not pissed or disappointed, as they often do, and the journalist secretly wants their “poor sportsmanship” to become the story.  Sour grapes sell.

And speaking of podium, what’s with using podium as a verb? I keep hearing athletes and commentators mention “to podium” as a goal.  “She just hopes to podium”, or “I’m just happy to podium”. Do you suppose the athletes say to themselves when on the podium that they can’t believe they podiumed or that they are podiuming at the very moment.  Try saying podiuming quickly three times or just once.

If I were a sports consultant, and I am not, but if I were and I just might become one, but I won’t, but I could, I would write a book called:  How To Podium and Not Look Bad Doing It. I’m sure it would be a bestseller.  Here are some excerpts:

  • If you don’t know the words to your country’s national anthem, don’t try to sing it.
  • If you can’t cry, smile.  If you can’t smile, cry. Don’t look serious.
  • If you didn’t win the gold, look proud anyway, no pouting.
  • If you won gold, don’t tell your podium mates sorry that it didn’t work out.
  • Don’t pretend to eat the medal.
  • Don’t ask your podium mates if they would like to touch your gold.
  • Don’t crack up laughing.
  • Take off your shades.
  • Try not to trip over the podium or fall off it.
  • Don’t insist that the others join you on the gold medal platform.
  • Do not attempt to autograph your competitors’ warmups.
  • No Hang Ten gestures. That’s for the X games.
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