john_j_enright (john_j_enright) wrote,

Gymnastics on NBC

I'm enjoying the Olympic gymnastics coverage on NBC, watching people do things I cannot even dream of doing. But the announcers, although knowledgeable about gymnastics, are just so negative about minor boo-boos that they make me want to hit the mute button. Actually, it's not just me they're driving crazy, even a lot of newspapers are complaining about this aspect of the coverage.

This is from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

"The three announcers resembled hysterical hyenas when Hamm badly stumbled during the vault segment, dropping him to 12th place with two rotations left. Daggett shrieked that there was "no chance" Hamm could win the Olympic gold. Schlegel, meanwhile, wailed that she couldn't believe how Hamm had blown his chances."

Hamm himself said: "That's it. I'm done."

But he went on to take the gold.

So the tragic wailing had been premature. But the noise from the announcers hadn't exactly sounded like tragic wailing. It had seemed to have a jarringly gleeful quality, not quite gloating, but a sneaky sort of gladness. Note the laughing hyena reference in the Plain Dealer quote.

I know, I am laying an interpretation on a tone of voice. It's not a scientific certainty; it's just how it sounded to me - and a big chunk of the audience.

In the end it was not a Greek tragedy about the fall of a hero; it was an American Hollywood ending. The athlete overcame the impossible odds, and reached victory. Very cool.

I actually wished that Fox News had the Olympics instead of NBC. Fox, in its Iraq war coverage, adopted a "fan" attitude, where NBC had more of a "critic" attitude. And this looks, strangely enough, like a similar playing out of the two networks' personalities.

At least when it comes to watching gymnastics, I'd rather sit with a fellow fan than with an all-too-eager critic.

Rhyme of the day:

Hamm told
The world he was done,
But then came back and won
Olympic gold.

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