Friday, August 3rd, 2012
32

Russian Gymnast "Divas" and Other Shady NBC Tropes

"NBC… produced fluff pieces that made Deva and Round Lake, the Romanian and Russian team training centers, look like Dickensian orphanages where families abandoned their athletically gifted children—while showing America's Dominique Moceanu playing on a seesaw."
MMM HMM. It's been like this for ages, but it was really particularly hard to enjoy yesterday's amazing Olympics gymnastics with the high level of broadcast idiocy going on!

32 Comments / Post A Comment

LondonLee (#922)

And, don't forget, the Russian girls are all temperamental divas while the American girls are cuddly cheerleaders.

C_Webb (#855)

@LondonLee Watching Komova's thin little shoulders shake as she cried after they announced her floor score was the saddest thing I've seen this year.

SuperMargie (#1,263)

@LondonLee *That* was totally pissing me off. Mustafina did not "shove" her coach out of the way after the beam, but that didn't jibe with their "Tiny Russian Terror" narrative that they are so bent on weaving.

cherrispryte (#444)

I happened to watch a BBC stream of women's gymnastics yesterday, and the quality of the commentating was just ridiculous compared to NBC. They weren't insulting! They praised the gymnasts! They were sympathetic! They knew the names of the moves and told us what they were!
Watching the same events on NBC later that night was highly frustrating.

hershmire (#233,671)

@cherrispryte Is that a legitimate stream? Got a link?

cherrispryte (#444)

@hershmire I have no idea if it is legitimate (by which I'm assuming you mean legal?) but its still working and its available here: http://tinyurl.com/bm7wopo

carpetblogger (#306)

@cherrispryte I dunno. I've been watching 6-8 hours a day of live BBC (get a VPN!) feeds and the passive aggressive jingoism is breathtaking.

cherrispryte (#444)

@carpetblogger I have a VPN for work, not sure how it will help with BBC-watching? And I'm sure you're right, but for NBC to be jingoistic, it would have to admit that there are people from other countries competing in these games, something they've managed to COMPLETELY ignore.

mishaps (#5,779)

@cherrispryte You need a VPN with an endpoint* in the UK so that you register as having a British IP address to the iPlayer. Which sadly your work probably does not provide, but there are fairly inexpensive options. I'm considering doing this for next week and just keeping it through the new Who season.

* possibly not correct term

carpetblogger (#306)

@cherrispryte I've gone one called road warrior, with a UK endpoint (or whatever it's called), as @mishaps notes. It's a minor pain to install and $20/mo but it's been totally worth it. I'm in close enough to the right time zone so it's almost like being there.

hershmire (#233,671)

Broadcasting the Olympics should be considered an honor and treated as such, instead of the money-fueled orgy of cock-ups it's become.

@hershmire : This goes double for actually hosting the damn thing.

Rodger Psczny (#3,912)

@hershmire I think the "O" in IOC stands for "money-fueled orgy."

deepomega (#1,720)

@Gef the Talking Mongoose At least the broadcasts don't *lose* money – the hosting has both the cash-hungry profiteering AND the making-tax-payers-pay-for-the-losses, all at once!

@deepomega : B-b-but they're run by BUSINESSPEOPLE?!!

deepomega (#1,720)

@Gef the Talking Mongoose Is it time for The Talk? A little story about the Corporatocrats and the Legislators? You see, when a government loves a business very very much, and wants to share that love….

mishaps (#5,779)

@deepomega NBC was saying that it would lose money on the Olympics, but I think that's with the Hollywood math.

Does this mean that I no longer have to hear about that "totally unfair rule about only two competitors per sport" in the All-Around?

SidAndFinancy (#4,328)

@happymisanthrope: I thought it was pretty much the definition of the all-around that it only includes two participants.

SidAndFinancy (#4,328)

@SidAndFinancy: Never mind. I was thinking of the reach-around.

Bittersweet (#765)

Someone needs to put Al Trautwig out of our misery.

C_Webb (#855)

Although I generally hold that US women's soccer can do no wrong, one of today's commentating low points definitely came from Brandi Chastain, who provided this cogent analysis of a tense moment in great game vs. New Zealand: "Right now, that goalie should be saying to her defender, 'That is my ball. Please don't clear it off my face to the opposing team.'"

C_Webb (#855)

@C_Webb I want to believe she was deadpanning, but I don't think so …

IBentMyWookie (#133)

Meanwhile, didn't Gabby Douglas' mom send her to live with strangers in a whole other state just for the sake of gymnastics? I mean, yes, she's amazing and yay for her medals and stunted growth, but that's madness, right?

LondonLee (#922)

Shocking what people will do for Wheaties boxes.

C_Webb (#855)

@IBentMyWookie Also, if God is busy helping blessed Americans stick their landings, it explains why people are dying in droves in famines, war-torn countries, etc..

mishaps (#5,779)

@IBentMyWookie Plenty of people send their kids to boarding schools in other states so they can have opportunities they wouldn't have at home.

IBentMyWookie (#133)

@mishaps Yeah, education and gymnastics training aren't exactly on a par.
(Also, who are these plenty of people? I don't know anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone who was sent to a boarding school)

SidAndFinancy (#4,328)

@IBentMyWookie: Well, there are plenty of boarding schools with plenty of students. But to cut to the chase, I think the answer to your question is "parents who themselves went to boarding schools and the strivers who seek to emulate them."

mishaps (#5,779)

@IBentMyWookie oh, so, OK, if your kid had a shot at being the greatest classicist of her generation, and enjoyed studying Greek, then maybe sending her to get training would be OK? Just checking what the actual issue here is.

Maybe because I do know people who went to boarding school — or even more on point, people who gave up part of a typical adolescence to do the thing they loved doing, often far from home, it doesn't strike me as the least bit crazy, just a sign of how much effort she put into it (and how much promise she was thought to have by her coach and parents!).

IBentMyWookie (#133)

@mishaps The actual "issue" is that it's fucking nuts to send your fourteen-year-old to live away from home for two years so that she can be really good at gymnastics. I know we all have Olympic fever, but let's not pretend that these gymnasts have in any way been prepared for life outside the auditorium by the people who were supposed to raise them.
And while I would not send a child to boarding school, at the very least I think we can agree that something done for the sake of education (again, not saying that boarding schools offer a better education, just saying that it's at least part of their mandate) at least offers the hope of your child having a career beyond the age of 21.

mishaps (#5,779)

@IBentMyWookie I take it you also oppose ballet, pretty much all competitive sports, and child actors.

Which is to say, there are a hell of a lot of ways in which young people can fuck up their lives chasing a dream, or even, let's stipulate, having a dream foisted on them. But our fundamental disagreement is this – if my kid were great at something, and liked doing it, and wanted to go get better at it somewhere else, I would find it hard to let them go, but I think have to you let the kid chase the dream. There's plenty of time to learn other things, or even to make a perfectly fine career inside their own weird area of specialization. And I say this as someone who believes strongly in education as a good for its own sake.

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