Bush's Beach Volleyball Pat
By Michael Abramowitz
You might call it the back slap seen around the world.
Visiting the Chaoyang Park Olympic Beach Volleyball venue this morning, President Bush was joking and posing for pictures with American star beach volleyball players Kerry Walsh and Misty May-Treanor.
At one point, May-Treanor, clad only in a bikini, turned her back to the president, bent over and seemingly invited the president to pat her somewhere on the backside -- a common beach volleyball custom.
"Mr. President," she said. "Want to?"
Bush obliged, lightly tapping the small of her back with the back of his hand, before scooting back. The images, captured in photos and video, may not be exactly the visuals that Bush had in mind from a relatively light day at the Olympics on Saturday, which also included watching women's softball practice and biking at the Laoshan Mountain Bike Course.
The incident put a spotlight on the unusual arrangement governing television coverage of the Olympics. NBC, which owns the television rights to the Games, is providing the "pool" coverage of the president attending the games, but to protect its investment, it is preventing other networks from airing any video that shows competition or venues. Only tightly shot videotape of the president is permitted.
After news of the back slap filtered through the White House filing center in Beijing, there was an argument among the television networks about whether the video of the slap could be provided to all under the terms of NBC's contract. NBC eventually permitted the footage to be aired -- as a courtesy to the other networks.
And to the public.
Related item: 'May-Treanor apparently is not shy -- which was also evident when sports blogger Dan Steinberg talked to her and other U.S. Olympians about their favorite Chinese food: "
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