Sunday, August 10, 2008

Obnoxious American...Announcers

I forgot how much I hate Al Trautwig, and by extension the entire way NBC covers gymnastics. In the first 15 minutes of tonight's coverage of the women's team qualification, we got the following:

1. A pissy diatribe from Trautwing about how it's so sad that we'll never have a perfect 10 again under the system. Oh, get over it. The more complex system is better because it allows more precise scoring. So you can't bellow "a perfect 10!" after a routine. Boo hoo.

2. A dark rendering of the horrible Chinese for using underage athletes. Just look at them, America. They're obviously too young. The enemy is cheating and harming young girls while they are at it. Just remember, America, if our girls lose, NBC wants you to believe it's not because the Chinese were better, it's because they are cheating. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. But it doesn't appear that it has been proven. Get back to me when you have something other than the carping of a former US coach.

3. As the Romanian team was struggling on the balance beam, Elfi Schlegel sneered that the Romanian team just seemed so unfocused and undisciplined and that 30 years ago they would never have been joking around the chalk bowl, and their former coach was commenting on how different the attitude of the girls was. Well, of course it's different. 30 years ago, if a Romanian gymnast was caught joking around the mat or falling off the balance beam her family would be sent to the gulag before the games were over and she'd be shipped out to meet them as soon as the plane touched down. The fact that they can have a little fun is a good thing. Perhaps they aren't as good anymore because Romania doesn't put half of their GDP into Olympic sports in an attempt to prove that Communism is all that.

So after setting the stage for us with that baloney and a two-minute montage of gritty American girls working out in at dawn and looking at the camera with determination etched on their faces while Trautwig narrated that they had to fight through such hardship as the Iowa floods and some indication that the fates were conspiring against them (he really said that), the American athletes proceeded to stumble and flop their way through the floor exercises and the parallel bars. Was it because they were upset about not being able to strive for 10s? Too old? Or perhaps they just don't work hard enough? If they weren't Americans those would be the reasons, why not for our girls?

Or maybe they just had a bad day. Maybe the Romanians had a bad day. And maybe the Chinese girls just look young. Al, why don't you and your troupe of yahoos just let us watch the games and enjoy them, and leave your storylines behind.

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