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.

By Paul Farhi  |  August 23, 2008; 3:49 PM ET
Previous: Sure, He's Fast. But Can Usain Bolt Sell? | Next: My Closing Ceremonies

Comments

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Other sites already posted the "home" field advantage the hosting country gets in judged events. Maybe a little research (or lazy Googling) on your part would have found that one...

Posted by: gns100 | August 23, 2008 7:55 PM

I believe that was the intent of the question in the article. Its when you ask a question that DOESNT need a reply . . . try googling for that.

Home field should not get a nod.
Why are the Jamaica sprinters all so much faster than they ever have been? Why the sudden increase in performance?


In short I believe the article was asking WHY. . . and so far you havent answered anything. Care to try again . . . and actually answer the questions asked.
Just called honest questions.

Posted by: N/A | August 23, 2008 8:58 PM

Speaking of diving...why didn't we hear any mention of the Cuban diver Jose Guerra who was in medal contention well into the 4th round of the final? We continually heard how many points the American divers were out of first, second or third place and only really knew that the Australian or Chinese divers were in front of them. I know that the event was edited for broadcast, but it was like Guerra didn't even exist. I assume that things would have been different if he had been a medalist, but this is still just odd to me.

Also, I agree 100% about Cynthia Potter...she is hypercritical, yet just about everything that she points out is obvious with the benefit of slow-motion or stop-action images. I really don't think that the average viewer really cares about this and it goes for other breathless commentators at gymnastics and even track & field.

Posted by: More Cowbell | August 23, 2008 11:45 PM

I have not heard anyone criticize nbc.com for limiting online access to its Olympic content to paid TV service subscribers, and to the lack of availability of content of the games online generally.

As a resident of NYC without local TV reception and as a non-subscriber to cable or satellite TV service, I expected to be able to view some Olympic content online. However, NBC.com limits access to the three kinds of video content they provide ("live, rewind and encore") to subscribers to their TV provider "partners."

One is asked to provide his/her ZIP code and provider name (NBC says they have partnered with 90% of TV service providers nationwide). This is immediately verified. No TV service subscription, no access. One is able to view a two minute and forty-two second commercial for NBC.

Presumably, NBC has opted to offer a premium to its partner providers (who probably pay for this privilege) and to Verizon and AT&T (whose subscribers get access to live video via their wireless TV service, etc.) by making available to them something that is not available to everyone. This is hardly in keeping with the Olympic spirit and bodes ill for the future of TV. Doesn't NBC have an obligation to broadcast (with advertising, of course) for lack of a better word, freely? Is NBC a paid TV service or not?

I did correspond with NBC and was provided a link to six highlights video clips that are not available on the website.

Another issue I have not seen reported on is the unavailability of video of the opening ceremonies anywhere online. After two hours of fruitless searching, I could only discover links that had been posted and since removed. Some of the sites mentioned having been contacted by the Olympic Committee directly before deciding to remove the links. How is this kind of censorship possible on a global scale?

Posted by: Heather DiLeo | August 24, 2008 10:25 AM

I have not heard anyone criticize nbc.com for limiting online access to its Olympic content to paid TV service subscribers, and to the lack of availability of content of the games online generally.

As a resident of NYC without local TV reception and as a non-subscriber to cable or satellite TV service, I expected to be able to view some Olympic content online. However, NBC.com limits access to the three kinds of video content they provide ("live, rewind and encore") to subscribers to their TV provider "partners."

One is asked to provide his/her ZIP code and provider name (NBC says they have partnered with 90% of TV service providers nationwide). This is immediately verified. No TV service subscription, no access. One is able to view a two minute and forty-two second commercial for NBC.

Presumably, NBC has opted to offer a premium to its partner providers (who probably pay for this privilege) and to Verizon and AT&T (whose subscribers get access to live video via their wireless TV service, etc.) by making available to them something that is not available to everyone. This is hardly in keeping with the Olympic spirit and bodes ill for the future of TV. Doesn't NBC have an obligation to broadcast (with advertising, of course) for lack of a better word, freely? Is NBC a paid TV service or not?

I did correspond with NBC and was provided a link to six highlights video clips that are not available on the website.

Another issue I have not seen reported on is the unavailability of video of the opening ceremonies anywhere online. After two hours of fruitless searching, I could only discover links that had been posted and since removed. Some of the sites mentioned having been contacted by the Olympic Committee directly before deciding to remove the links. How is this kind of censorship possible on a global scale?

Posted by: Heather DiLeo | August 24, 2008 10:27 AM

My biggest complaint with NBC: Providing commentary following a review of the event. It's a sham. It's a disservice to viewers. And the commentators themselves should consider it an insult to their abilities and their professionalism. How they put up with it is beyond me.
Can you imagine Tom Durkin, who does a fabulous job calling horse races in Saratoga, NY and elsewhere, stooping to such a level. NEVER!

Posted by: uppersaranac | August 24, 2008 1:25 PM

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