The Better Story

February 17, 2010

Leading up to the Women’s Snowboard Cross final in the Olympics yesterday, all the talk on NBC was about Lindsey Jacobellis and her redemption arc. Telegenic young U.S. athlete making up for the boneheaded hotdog move that caused her to fall and throw away a certain gold in the final in the Torino games four years ago.

But there was a better story right in front of them. A more heartwarming story. Vancouver-area native Maelle Ricker had been in that same final four years ago. And unlike Jacobellis, Ricker didn’t walk away from the hill with egg on her face. Maelle was airlifted off the hill after a scary crash the product of trying too hard to win.

When I finally heard that story last night (belatedly told in midcompetition by NBC talking heads looking for some redemptive quality for the final once their golden girl choice had failed again), I had no trouble cheering for the Canadian snowboarder to take the gold she won with an aggressive but controlled ride.

While Jacobellis post competition was trying to sell herself as having learned a lesson because at least she didn’t just quit in the consolation heat like she normally would (why, how noble of you angelic one!), Ricker was celebrating a home field hard fought victory.

Maybe by the time Jacobellis finds her way to the other side of 30 she’ll have figured out what it means not to take the competition for granted.


The Gold Standard Update

August 25, 2008

As I said yesterday, there is another way to look at the medal totals at the Olympics. So for those Americans threatened by the dominance of China in gold medals, I present the final tally in the official SportsDiva Medal Count.

China won 51 events, yes. But there were only 74 gold medals awarded to Chinese athletes and only 185 total medals awarded to Chinese athletes.

By this measure the United States, which won only 36 events, actually won the gold medal race and completely overpowered in the total medal race. American athletes are bringing home 124 gold medals and 314 total medals.


The Gold Standard

August 23, 2008

So there is a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth that the U.S. has fewer gold medals than China does. But not if you look at it my way. The special SportsDiva Medal Count right now (11 am EDT) has the United States at 87 versus China with 72.

How can that be, you may ask? China has 49 gold and the United States has 33. Au contraire! Look at the Chinese and U.S. medal winners. Note that 72 Chinese individuals are wearing gold medals around this week, while 87 Americans are. By the end of the weekend, if a few more U.S. teams come through with gold, it won’t be even that close.

Of course, there are those who want to parse medals by population and GDP. They’re from smaller or less wealthy countries who have their own ax to grind. The United States doesn’t come out too badly per capita, but using both population and GDP, it looks pretty bad compared with Zimbabwe!

I like to think that China’s concentration on sports in which there are more medals for individuals to win has backfired. Team sports, at which the United States is excelling in this Olympics, are the key to winning the SportsDiva Medal Count. So, for those of you who weren’t feeling dominant enough this morning, relax and root on the volleyball, basketball, and water polo teams. Building world domination one team sport at a time.

I’ll get back to you with the overall total tomorrow.


Happiest Medalists–All Three–And Other Olympic Sights

August 20, 2008

[For some reason, the images aren’t showing up the way I expected them to. To see the photos I’m referencing, right click on the bold (and no, that isn’t working right, either) phrases/names and select “view image.”]

What you missed last night, because NBC only cares about U.S. medalists and last night they cared only about LoLo Jones losing, even though an American, Dawn Harper, won the 100 meter hurdles, was this, the <b>happiest medal ceremony</b>. We did, rather belatedly, see just a tiny bit of the <b>elated celebrations</b> of both silver-medalist Sally McLellan and bronze-medalist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep. And we saw Harper’s face during the anthem. But with all three young women clearly delighted with the result, the opportunity to show that winning any medal IS winning was lost on NBC. Read the rest of this entry »


How Upset IS Federer?

August 14, 2008

Oh. My. God. Do you suppose James Blake could play in the Olympics every week? Because if this is what happens when he’s wearing red, white, and blue he might want to talk to Ralph Lauren about a clothing deal.


Enough Already!

August 13, 2008

I am, of course, an Olympics junkie. And I’ve spend countless hours already glued to NBC’s various outlets’ coverage of sports as diverse as equestrian 3-day eventing, badminton, and the ubiquitous swimming.

I love the swimming. I love tall men with arms long enough to hug the world clad in lycra, or sometimes barely clad in lycra. Do you suppose they half strip those suits off just so we can see exactly how shaved down they are?

And NBC is doing a pretty good job, whether the commentators are at the venue or in New York, they mostly seem awake on all counts and provide the kind of information you need, whether neophyte or afficionado.

I’m particularly happy with Andrea Kremer as the poolside interviewer. First of all, and probably most importantly, she’s a really really good interviewer. She asks good questions, listens to the answers (when the director is yelling in her ear, that has to be hard), and handles the task with appropriate composed excitement.

But there’s one rotten spot in my Olympic apple. Her name is Cynthia Potter. NBC decided to continue to employ as a diving commentator a woman with a dramatic command of the obvious who at the same time has a tenuous command of her facts and, worst of all, has the most annoying, loudest, unmodulated fingernails on a blackboard voice in the history of sports broadcasting. I’d take Dick Vitale over this woman in a heartbeat. And I HATE Dick Vitale. Read the rest of this entry »


The Dork Knight

August 13, 2008

Mark Kiszla of The Denver post explains why America is falling in love with Aquaman, Michael Phelps, also now to be known as The Dork Knight.