They described Michael Phelps as the greatest American individual athlete of these games. Really? Is that all they want to call him? Michael Phelps is only 23 and has 14 gold medals – more than any other Olympic athlete of all time. He got 8 gold medals this Olympic games (again, more than any other Olympic athlete of all time, we all know Mark Spitz had won 7 gold medals). Seven of these gold medals were obtained with new world records, one with a new Olympic record.
Rowdy Gaines (Olympic swimmer, medalist, & commentator) agrees with me that the case is already closed about Phelps being the greatest Olympic athlete ever. I’m glad I’m not the only one. Considering what he’s already accomplished, how can anyone think otherwise? He’s only 23 and he’s already got 16 Olympic medals. The only person in the history of the Olympics who has more is Larissa Latynina of Russia, who has 18 medals. Phelps will almost definitely surpass that number in London. Then will people like Bob Costas think the case is closed? I hope so.
NBC has done a horrible job choosing what to show during the entire Olympics this time around. I can’t remember worse coverage. They did something similar to what they did last year with the gold medal women’s beach volleyball match. I can’t remember how much of the match they cut out last year, but I think it was the entire first set. That entire match was not available anywhere.
This year, they cut out the entire first set of the gold medal match of the men’s indoor volleyball. They also cut out more than half of the second set and clearly it was good, since the score was close when they decided to show us the rest. They also cut out half of the 3rd set! I can’t believe they did this to the gold medal match. I KNEW as soon as they started showing the entire 4th set that the US had won the gold medal and that they won the match 3-1. NBC was finally showing us a complete set, clearly it was the last one or they wouldn’t have bothered. On the bright side, it was great to see the US win gold! Everyone was clearly so thrilled to win the gold.
What bothers me about the coverage is not that they didn’t show the entire gold medal match in the prime time coverage. I don’t think that’s necessary. Highlights of the game are more than enough for most people watching the closing ceremonies, most likely. However, I think it’s horrible that someone like me who was recording on every channel (except the Olympics Basketball channel, I don’t like basketball) during the Olympics and loves volleyball could not watch the entire match. They should have aired the entire match live or sometime during the day or in the middle of the night for those of us who wanted to see it and then aired the edited version in prime time. I would have been totally fine with fast forwarding to the replay of the end (I would have watched that again) when I got to the prime time coverage, since I’d already seen the entire match. That would be perfectly acceptable. The fact that I could see the entire bronze medal match (and did – it was a great match) and not see the entire gold medal game (which was for the gold and had the US team taking part) makes no sense at all. It’s what NBC chose to do last year with beach volleyball, so clearly they think it’s a good idea. I hope they don’t do anything like that when the games are in London, but I’m sure they will. At least I’ll be at those games, so I’ll already know the scores before I watch the games I missed when I get home and I’m sure it won’t bother me as much.
Overall, I was very disappointed with the coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics by NBC. I hope they realize some of what they did wrong and try to correct it for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010.
Tags: beach volleyball, John Speraw, Mark Spitz, Michael Phelps, NBC, Olympics, swimming, volleyball, world record
The final night of gymnastics event finals was certainly exciting. It was great to see Shawn Johnson finally get a gold medal and having Shawn and Nastia finish 1-2 in the opposite order was nice. It’s actually what I expected on floor the night before and I was so happy to see the scores. When Cheng Fei’s score of 15.950 was displayed for balance beam when she had almost fallen off, I was very worried that the judges were determined to score another gymnastics event horribly and I would be disappointed by the end results. However, I ended up happy with the results for the first two spots. The fact that Cheng Fei got the bronze medal is horrible for Anna Pavlova of Russia. Pavlova came in 4th place with 15.900 and I don’t think I’m alone in believing that she deserved the bronze medal. Russia finished the 2008 Olympics without a single medal in gymnastics. I doubt anyone would have predicted that before the competition began.
Jonathan Horton’s performance on high bar was amazing and I was surprised that the crowd actually booed when his score of 16.175 (putting him in 2nd place) behind Zou Kai of China’s 16.2. It seems a lot of people there agreed with me and thought Horton should have gotten a higher score on execution. I think the execution score of 9.275 was a bit low, even though it was higher than Zou’s execution. What is it about high bar judging? The 2004 Summer Olympics’ high bar scores are what caused the uproar that led to the scoring system change. Remember when Alexei Nemov had to try to calm the crowd down after his horrible score before Paul Hamm competed? The great part of this year’s high bar competition is that Horton was clearly thrilled to get an individual medal and he knew that he did a great job on his routine and couldn’t have done much better. It’s always good to see Olympians truly enjoying the moment and last night was a great night for the US gymnastics team.
The China vs. China women’s beach volleyball match early yesterday morning was amazing. The one team goes on to play Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh in the finals, the other plays for the bronze. I’d be surprised if the Chinese teams don’t get two of the three medals in beach volleyball. I’m guessing silver and bronze, since I can’t see May-Treanor & Walsh losing their first match in about a year in the gold medal match. Both medal matches should be very exciting.
The USA women’s volleyball team upset Italy in a great match yesterday to advance to the semifinals. They definitely seemed like they didn’t have what it takes to beat Italy for a while, but came back to win the last two sets decisively (25-18 & 15-6) and advance. Hopefully, they’ll have what it takes to make it to the gold medal finals. Clearly, I wish all the US teams well, but I’m particularly interested in the men’s volleyball team, since one of the assistant coaches (John Speraw) is UCI’s men’s volleyball head coach and I go to as many of UCI’s matches as I can. After the tragedy the USA men’s volleyball head coach had to endure, it would be really nice to see a bit of an up side for him and for the men’s team to win gold. They’ve been looking very good so far.
I don’t know of anyone who watched Lolo Jones in the 100m hurdles who didn’t want to cry when they watched her hit the 9th hurdle. She was pretty far ahead of the pack and doing so well. Then, all of a sudden, she clipped the 9th hurdle and dropped behind to finish next to last. The fact that she was still able to pull herself together enough to finish the race (and not even come in last) is amazing to me. My heart went out to her (and her family) as they cried when her dreams of a gold medal were destroyed. Lolo’s 26 years old, so perhaps she can try again in the London Olympics in 2012, but it’s so sad to see someone doing that well and being completely at the top of her game and then faltering.
I just bought a copy of last week’s Sports Illustrated with Michael Phelps on the cover swimming. I haven’t read it all yet, but I did flip through and it’s almost all Olympics coverage. If you love the Olympics you should definitely pick up a copy while they’re still available. The Sports Illustrated where Phelps recreated the Mark Spitz cover (for more information, click here, supposedly hit news stands today, but my local book store gets the new issues on Friday, so I can’t comment on that issue yet. I’m sure it’s mostly Olympics coverage, too.
Tags: beach volleyball, gymnastics, Jonathan Horton, Kerri Walsh, Lolo Jones, Mark Spitz, Michael Phelps, Misty May-Treanor, Nastia Liukin, NBC, Olympics, Paul Hamm, Shawn Johnson, Sports Illustrated, swimming, track & field, volleyball