by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
February 20, 2010
WE CAN'T BE A SUPERPOWER ON BORROWED MONEY
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- I created the Swish-Whack awards during the 2004 Athens Olympics, to shine some light on the sport of fencing, after America's Mariel Zagunis, 19, won America's first fencing gold medal in 100 years.
Even back then, NBC's coverage of the Olympics was so awful, they only showed Zagunis' three points, and then skipped her medal ceremony. The entire coverage of this very historic event lasted for no more than 30 seconds.
So I give out the Swish-Whack awards during the Olympics whenever anyone stuns the crowd, dope-slaps the critics, and does something that the rest of the world should know about.
The first Swish-Whack award goes to Dutch speed skater, Sven Kramer, who won a gold medal in the 5,000-meter race during the first full day of the XXI Winter Olympic Games. After the race, Kramer was being interviewed by a reporter from - no real surprise - NBC.
"If you can say your name and your country and what you just won here," said the unnamed reporter.
Kramer answered, "Are you stupid? Hell no, I'm not going to do that."
The reporter was unfazed, and went on with the rest of the interview, and Kramer finished without further incident. However, when he was asked about the stupid question by a Dutch journalist, he said, "Come on, this is ridiculous. You've just become an Olympic gold medal winner. She was there when it happened and then you have to sum up your whole biography, etc. She's crazy."
So, Swish-Whack goes to Sven Kramer for saying what everyone else wishes they had the chance to say. NBC, you deserved that one. If you can say your name, your IQ, and why every American hates your coverage.
The next one goes to Shaun White and his coach Bud Keene, who managed to sneak a couple of expletives into the live NBC broadcast before White's second run on the half pipe, where he had already won gold.
"Yeah, drop a double mick at the end. Do whatever you want and f---ing send that thing. Make sure you stomp the s--- out of that thing," Keene told White, which was then picked up by the NBC camera.
The network can't complain, because they were eavesdropping on two grown men carrying on an adult conversation where people normally aren't allowed to listen. The snowboard announcers apologized for the slips. However, since their camera was where it probably shouldn't have been, they should have apologized for being nosy, not for Bud Keene.
So a big Swish-Whack to Bud Keene for doing a verbal Janet Jackson on a national feed, and reminding NBC why they need to be careful about where they poke their noses.
Rather than turn this into an NBC gripe fest (even though I've got lots more to gripe about, believe me) let's head down to Australia, where sports commentators for Channel 9, Eddie McGuire and Mick Molloy, have gotten themselves into trouble for making cracks about Johnny Weir. After Weir's short program performance on Tuesday, the two made several homophobic comments about my countryman, his costume, and his sexual orientation.
"They don't leave anything in the locker room, these blokes, do they?" said Molloy.
"They don't leave anything in the closet, either, do they?" said McGuire.
The two idiots then made a series of gay jokes, which caused a number of Sydney viewers to lodge a large number of official complaints.
So the third Swish-Whack goes to Johnny Weir for rising above what people think of him, and for placing sixth in men's figure skating. And McGuire and Molloy should be proud of their Australian figure skaters for placing - oh, wait, what? They didn't have any figure skaters this year? Then don't bag our countrymen until you can find one graceful Aussie to enter.
The final Swish-Whack goes to the people in Vancouver who have been trying to see the Olympic cauldron, but were stopped by a chain link fence.
The fence, complete with "no trespassing" signs, was about 50 meters (164 feet) away from the cauldron, and people weren't able to see the flame, let alone take a decent picture.
The Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (called VANOC) tried lamely to say that the barrier was to protect the International Media Center, but it's not like they needed it. So the people complained. Loudly.
They said that the Olympic flame, a symbol of the democratic spirit of the Olympic Games, should be visible to the people. That the people who paid $1 billion for it with their taxes and their tickets should be allowed to actually see the flame.
And unlike NBC and the thousands of complaints about their crappy coverage, VANOC actually listened. They moved the fence in by 80 feet, and cut a strip out of the fence so people could take photos. It's not up close access, but they at least showed a willingness to listen to their people.
Editor's Note: For another perspective on the Olympic Games and NBC's coverage, see Joyce Marcel's "Flying Without Feathers" in this edition.