Homestretch: Sex, Tattoos and Other Naked Truths
What's the deal with...
...showing the gold-medal men's basketball game at 2:30 am?! 2:30 am? Nobody wants to see Kobe & Co. in primetime? After all the build-up about this being the Redeem Team, the redemption is going to occur when no one's watching. Ludicrous. Sorry, I'm just not as exercised about the 10 a.m. start for the women's gold-medal basketball game between the U.S. and Australia. Love to see that one in primetime, too, but given a choice, I know where I, and about 25 million other Americans, would come down...
...jingoistic NBC diving analyst Cynthia Potter? Potter sounds like tabloid TV host Nancy Grace, but that's not her main problem. Potter is far more likely to dwell on the mistakes of non-American competitors than on those of the Americans (exception: The Chinese, who are all but perfect). Perhaps we can't blame her. NBC is so invested in diving, showcasing it in primetime every night, that Potter is only following the network script. Case in point: NBC's relentless build-up for would-be golden girl Laura Wilkinson. The network tried to create a Kerri Walsh-Misty May-Treanor aura around Wilkinson, and kept at it even after it was clear Wilkinson wasn't going anywhere.
...Olympic tattoos? Five-ring tats are all over the place -- on divers, swimmers, rowers and other skin-baring water sportsmen (probably some landsmen, too). I'd be mighty proud to make an Olympic team, too, but these are less a tribute to the Olympics than a tribute to oneself. You just know the wearer is hoping that one day at the beach, months or years from now, a stranger will ask him, "Hey, what's with the Olympic tattoo?" just so he can reply, "Oh, that. Well, back in 2008, I..." Most hideous desecration of the ring symbol: Aussie diver Mathew Helm has an Olympic symbol tattooed right above his butt crack.
... athletes' fashion statements? Sunglasses are ubiquitous, even at events held at night. Why? Also, is every sprinter required to wear a necklace? Jeremy Wariner has a little ritual with his every time he gets in the blocks, arranging it just so...
...China's dominance in the "judging" sports? Great gymnasts, unbeatable divers. What's the secret? NBC just stands back and gawks. Maybe it could devote a Chevy Gold Medal Sportlight Spotlight Moment to this topic. Do a little reporting, folks. I'll give you another topic: Why have Jamaica's sprinters gone to another gear in these Games?
...NBC's onslaught of promotion for its fall TV shows? Yes, I know that the Olympics are always used as a promotional platform for the network's new slate, but how about a little taste and/or restraint? I'm not particularly put out about sex or violence on TV, but I am sympathetic to those who are. And those folks have a point when they complain about mayhem-laden promos for "My Own Worst Enemy," "Life," "Chuck" and "E.R." that pop up during the early evening "family hour," when children are most likely to be watching.
...women's track analyst Carol Lewis? WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS SHOUTING? I can understand getting excited about Usain Bolt's world records, but she's going wild about replays of the preliminary rounds. Contrast her performance with that of the very knowledgeable and insightful Ato Bolden (shout out to a fellow UCLA Bruin!). Dial it back a notch, Carol.
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