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.

NBC Interviews Non-American Athlete!

With respect to the NBC Olympic coverage that has aired in the U.S., it’s as if only U.S. athletes are competing.   Thankfully, NBC finally interviewed an athlete from another country, South Africa’s Chad le Clos who won gold in the 200 meter butterfly.  Of course, the interview would not have taken place had it not been for the fact that le Clos beat out Michael Phelps by a fraction of a second in the race.  The interview was framed as South African, who idolizes Michael Phelps, achieves upset of historic proportion over the world’s greatest swimmer.  The substance of the interview was less about the swimmer’s victory and more about his “obsession” with Michael Phelps.

To be fair, NBC may have interviewed other non-American athletes, but I just have not seen them yet.  I think NBC should have an Olympic interview channel. I do.

NBC missed a big opportunity last night in the women’s gymnastics all-around competition.  The Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina apparently has quite a temper and it appeared that she wouldn’t let her coach anywhere near her after she fell off the balance beam.  She brushed him off and may have said some choice words in Russian, but we will never know.  Where was Andrea Kramer when we needed her?  I guess she was at the pool asking Michael Phelps how he felt winning another gold and how Ryan Lochte felt losing another.

I saw this amusing bit the other day on the basketball channel. The Tunisian athletes were getting autographs from the American basketball players after their loss to the all-NBA Olympic team in a qualifying match.  Richard Angle of NBC speaks Arabic.  Granted, he’s probably on assignment in Syria, but if he had been available, he might have asked the Tunisian players to talk about the game and why they sought autographs from their opponents.   And while he’s at it, why not interview the Egyptian who won a silver medal in fencing, to date the only medal the country has won.  I’d also like to hear from the two women from Kazakhstan who won gold medals in weightlifting.

And why not interview the horses from the jumping and dressage competitions.  Surely there are reporters fluent in horse.  I’d ask Mitt Romney’s horse, “crazy legs” Rifalca if he has any tax savings tips he’d like to share.  I’m not being silly.  Horses can talk.  They can.  Just ask Mr. Ed.  What happened to Mr. Ed anyway?



London Olympics Off to a Great Start but…

So far, the London Summer Olympics have been pretty interesting, even though the events I like the most have not yet aired – dressage (just kidding), who gets the medal in the dancing horse event anyway, the horse or the rider?  I believe Mitt Romney’s horse  (his wife Ann’s actually) is competing in London.  The horse named Rifalca (aka “crazy legs”)  is a equine treasure that yields a handsome tax break and perhaps even precious medals.

So far, I’ve watched as much coverage as I could, and in some cases, as I could stomach.  For example, I managed to get through a water polo match as the Americans took out Montenegro.  The game is a bit silly in my view, but it is a game, at least, being that there is a ball involved, unlike dressage.  I found the caps they wear pointless – I guess they call them hats.  Are they simply decorative?  I’d like to see them wear those old diver helmets made of cast iron.  The other thing that annoys me about water polo is that dang whistle the refs incessantly blow.  Sometimes a player will get whistled for dunking a guy’s head or splashing his opponent in the face with water, and have to go dog paddle in a little roped off penalty area at the side of the pool.

The men’s and women’s bike races just took too long, and I tired watching them tire, but both featured fantastic finishes.  I enjoyed the women’s race more because they biked in the rain and it seemed far more treacherous and challenging with quite a number of spin-outs and non-fatal crashes.  Not that I enjoyed the crashes, but that the element of danger made the event more exciting.

The gymnastic qualifying rounds just seem pointless.  Couldn’t they just line them all up and have everyone go one after the other, and say the best vault wins gold, next best silver and so on for all the events.  And how many countries compete in swimming?  The Olympic Committee should just cap it at 16 countries and build a 16 lane pool.  One race per event.  My oldest daughter believes there are too many distances too and I quite agree and also think there are too many events.  There should only be the freestyle, that’s it.  The backstroke is just plain stupid. Have you ever heard of the 100 meter backwards sprint in track? Actually, that might be pretty interesting.

Beach volleyball.  I’m sorry, that belongs in the X games, not the Olympic Games.  And skeet shooting?  Come on.  That’s something for hunters, not athletes.   I could go on.

I’m partial to basketball, soccer (futbol to the purists), track and field, cliff diving, bowling and croquet.  These are the events that produce true Olympic champions.

London Olympics Opening Ceremony Ok but…

I saw some of the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics and later all of the highlights and have to say that I felt like I was at the cinema watching movie trailers with lots of stunts, pyrotechnics and clever moments. I chuckled when David Beckham arrived via boat with the torch and wondered if Posh Spice was on board.  Mr. “bend it like” Beckham handed the torch to a legendary British rower, who ran for a bit before passing the torch on to a group of future Olympic hopefuls.  If I had choreographed the ceremony, I’d have had the rower row in from the Thames with oars shaped as torches adorned with LED lighting.  He would have then passed it off to Beckham for a scissors kick to set off the fireworks and lighting of the rings, which in turn would have  lit the tower.

I’m a concert goer, not a theatre goer, so all the theatrics did not move me as much as the music.  Personally, I would have preferred a live Rolling Stones set, but really who could complain with a Beatle gone solo. Paul McCartney, who, frankly, even with cosmetic adjustments, is beginning to look and sound his age, performed only as he could with a rousing “Hey Jude”.  I wonder if Julian Lennon was in the crowd? I kept waiting for Ringo and George to emerge on stage or parachute down from a “heli”, as Bear Gryls might do, but I guess the Beatles are not getting back together after all.

The soundtrack to the Danny Boyle extravaganza included songs by Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and David Bowie among other British bands and musicians, but did not include anything from two of my favorite bands of all time, Genesis and Yes.   The set list should have included the Yes tunes “Roundabout” (because there are so many in London) and “Long Distance Runaround”, for obvious reasons and some perhaps not so.  See my Music For Olympics playlist on Spotify.

I’m just glad the Olympics have finally opened.  Let the games begin!

Rainy Dayze in the UK


Over in Great Britain, things are a mess.  This is not what Olympic fans want to hear.  What have the Brits done?  Will they need to import Mitt Romney, the vulture capitalist, to save the games?  He did perform some sort of Mormon miracle for the Salt Lake City Olympics, you know.  But this problem has nothing to do with the Summer Olympics or the collapse of the Greek economy.


What’s going on across the pond you ask?  Actually, I don’t know, but the BBC reported on my HTC Evo news feed that something’s afoot in the UK.  A tragedy of epic proportion – CLIMATE CHANGE.  More specifically in the form of rain in the UK, and lots of it, which of course is bad for tourism and even worse for insects, especially the delightfully sweet honey bees who don’t do their thing well in the wet.  Butterflies have a had a hard time too, unable to mate in the damp and dank.  But it’s not all bad.  Slugs and snails are in paradise, literally just soaking and slimming it up.  They really dig the rain.