Thursday, August 7, 2008

Slap Hitter: Olympic's Rule!

Thu, Aug 7, 2008 at 9:20 AM

I hate the haters.

Sports journalists who slag the Olympics because they aren't "real" sports, or ones Americans compete well in, or have enough slam-bang action for TV. The direction the summer's gone in East Bay sports, we should welcome a diversion including rhythmic gymnastics. The A's are oh-for-August, the Warriors lost their soul, and the Raiders are getting ready to play. What I wouldn't give for a well-placed javelin.

I can understand where some of the 5-ring retching comes from. Night after night of "up close and personal stories", a creepy obsession with 14-year old girls doing floor exercises, and boring ass basketball featuring the pros beating up on (or losing to) our Latin American friends.

My perfect Olympic media experience would be if they showed us the gold medal performances of every champion in the Games. I want to see the top archer, judo guy, shooting gal, pentathalete. Show me the triple jumper, dressage horse, rowboat. Somebody worked their ass off to the best of all of those endeavors, the least the networks and newspapers could do is give them their minute.

What I don't get is why the Olympic month has to be a zero-sum game. Just because I want to watch the 10,000 meters doesn't mean I don't want to know which journeyman shut out the A's. If I spend ten minutes trying to figure out team handball does it mean that I can't also care which Raider scrub got in a fight with another free agent wash out. And even if I can't calculate the level of "difficulty" of any platform dive, doesn't mean that I won't able to ponder which Cal quarterback gets the privilege of leading his team to a deceptively good early season ranking before winding up in the I-Don't-Even-Know-Who-That-Sponsor-Is Bowl.

In short, enjoy the Olympics in the best spirit of sports there is, which is to say, rooting for a small country to win a surprising title in an event nobody expected they could win and then watching the host country try to scramble for a recording of that land's national anthem. Gold medal entertainment every time!— Kibby Kleiman

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