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08/01/2012

Writer, Fatter, Slower: Told Ya So

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh the Women's Gymnastic Team

They are so fierce. Except for the dreary old dude-jackets they couldnt be more impressive. But will the media use this charming photo of the team?

Adorable
Gold Medal winners: U.S. gymnasts, left to right, Jordyn Wieber, Gabrielle Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman and Kyla Ross

 Not when this is available.

I said no

Yesterday I suggested strongly that Olympic athletes never follow photographer's suggestions to Bite-The-Medal. Here is why. This is the photograph that will be used way too many times, not the one above. 

 

 

Providing distraction

Over at the beach volleyball court Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser have deflected all the focus on the women who have customized their bikinis with warming layers by wearing rodeo clown underwear. 

  Rodeo clown underwear
Todd Rogers of the United States dives for a ball during a beach volleyball match against Spain

Props to NBC

It is not fashionable to give NBC kudos for their coverage of the Olympics. Having had occasion to write about the games since the last century I have had many issues with their coverage. Many. For years nothing seemed to change. Finally, I think they have paid attention to their detractors. This year NBC is doing a commendable job, and they look better doing it.

Let's begin with the face of NBC Olympics, Bob Costas. His hair is darker, and that's an improvement over that nasty red overtone it used to have. He is dressing up, instead of looking like he's spent the afternoons playing junior varsity golf, he's wearing suits. HIs jackets are buttoned up over crisp striped shirts. This is quite formal for Costas and it looks good.

Boris johnsonUber anchor Brian Wiliams looks positively chiseled his suits are so well tailored. I have to think this is due to the location. British men dress much better than the women, and the Americans weren't going to be caught taking sartorial cues from London Mayor Boris Johnson (at left leaving an Olympic venue) the most glaring anomaly to British men dressing well. He always looks like he's been rolling in the gutter.  

 

Then there is the typical xenophobic coverage. In year's past NBC would never show a medal stand moment that didn't feature a Team USA athlete standing in the center gold position. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but to the exclusion of every other country? Already I've heard the anthems of China, Khazakhstan, and France. I love that. It makes the Olympics feel authentically international. It's not about the medal count. It's about the countries who send two athletes or the ones that have never won a single medal. Let's embrace the global effort.  

Not so good is the inclusion of John McEnroe as a color commentator. He is so used to being the focus of attention he seems completely unsure of how assume the role of interviewer. I fully expect him to throw something across the room and storm off in a blue cloud of bleeping. Maybe NBC is hoping for the same. They got rid of Ann Curry for being so obsequious she was painful to watch. McEnroe has never been accused of milquetoast tendencies. I'm waiting for the meltdown moment. Bring it John. 

Which bring us to the Today show crew. Meh. Have you noticed Savannah Guthrie has to wear flats when she stands next to Matt Lauer? This seems like a win win, Matt doesn't look like a total shrimp and Guthrie isn't in excruciating pain, but no. It isn't playing out like that. Matt looks threatened by a statuesque woman and Savannah looks like she is kowtowing to his insecurities. This is so minor, but you watch, the heel height of discontent will play out in the gossip sites. Guthrie is a fighter, it's apparent when she participates in the staged athletic events Natalie Morales and Guthrie throw themselves into it with such competitiveness that you know blood will flow, but in the interest of Today family peace we won't see it on air. Too bad, families are messy, as exemplified by the newly adopted kid brother Ryan Seacrest. Who invited him? Are the ratings that bad? Apparenlty so. 

Try this: Abandon the straight out of the pool interviews. They do nothing but make a bad situation worse or a good situation seem like gloating. Why not spend the time on archery, fencing, martial arts, or equestrian events that don't have anything to do with Ann Romney's horse or Zara Phillips the queen's granddaughter? Hmmm? There are 32 sports. Show us some highlights from the other venues. You have cameras there and in some cases it's a real delight to watch the streaming videos without an announcer's constant yammering. It's like being there.

 --Gaile Robinson

 

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