1. 7th place TIE: “S/he came here to WIN” and “You won’t see [insert country name] on the podium this year.”
Yes, all those athletes who journeyed for hours and trained for years. They’re all there to just sit around, score free condoms, score other things, and then eat McDonalds.
2. 6th PLACE: Those [insert country name] live for this sport.
A handy pocket sized edition of the jingoism and ignorance that tinge the NBC Olympics coverage as a whole, this phrase is deployed during the coverage of any sport. Just pick one. The announcers, short on anything interesting to say, declare that the athletes of other countries represent one monolithic, obsessive whole who live for that sport alone.
The next time you travel internationally, expect every single person you meet to focus exclusively on the luge, the short track, or the skeleton.
3. 5th Place: Scott Hamilton and Sandra Bezic saying anything
It’s not entirely sexist, but boy howdy, is it boring.
We’re not the only ones to notice that the live coverage from Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir that airs mid-day in the States is far, far superior to the prime time coverage from Scott Hamilton, Sandra Bezic and Tracy Wilson.
Lipinski and Weir add genuine insight and enthusiasm to a sport that’s so subjective it might as well be judged by chickens on a merry go round pecking a calculator. If you watch the edited footage in the evening, you get shouty Hamilton talking over the performances, and Bezic, Wilson, and Hamilton praising routines that are scored low, and dismissing performances that land in medal contention.
Plus, there is no one, on the ice or off, who is delivering a more fantastic FU to Russia’s anti-gay policies than Weir.
4. 4th PLACE: Meredith Viera and Google
Sochi: nine hours ahead of the east coast, and twelve hours ahead of the west coast. So what would you do with all that time after the opening ceremonies?
If you’re NBC, absolutely nothing.
Why add context and explain things when instead you can land the triple salchow of lip curling like Meredith Viera, when she told viewers who might have been confused about the order of the nations entering the stadium that they were using the Cyrillic alphabet.
Followed by: If you need more information, Google it.
5. Commercial Break! Screw You, Dad.
Before we announce the current medal standings, we need to break for a commercial. Specifically, the Proctor and Gamble Thank You, Mom commercials.
When NBC takes a break from diminishing the accomplishments of female athletes, they transition seamlessly to advertisements that diminish the role of male parents.
Because only moms can make Olympians using, to quote Linda Holmes from NPR, “their eggs and their tears.”
6. BRONZE MEDAL CONTENTION: “She is the female Male Athlete in the same sport!”
God forbid female athletes be judged on their own terms. We must compare them using only the rubric of what men have accomplished: the “female Shaun White,” for example. Then, once that female athlete wins, she can become “America’s sweetheart.”
7. SILVER MEDAL CONTENTION: “Torah knows how to ride a snowboard better than some GUYS I know!”
Jen Chaney in Salon lines up and knocks down all the terrifically sexist things Todd Harris and Todd Richards said during the snowboarding coverage.
Just five or 10 years ago, that would have been a great men’s run was certainly jaw dropping enough, but Torah knows how to ride a snowboard better than a lot of guys I know heralds a new and horrible type of coverage.
8. GOLD MEDAL CONTENTION: “All that in a Lycra suit and a little bit of makeup.” - Steve Porino
Oh, holy crapnuggets.
As Erik Wemple pointed out in The Washington Post, Steve Porino’s broadcast about the dangers and intricacies of the downhill course was terrific, right up until the end, when he added, “all that in a Lycra suit and a little bit of makeup.”
It was the sportscasting equivalent of flying down the slope at 110mph, landing four quads and a sextuplet McTwist, then tripping over his own Sports Negging and falling flat on his ass right at the finish line.
There’s a little over a week left in the Olympics coverage, with fierce competition from all of these participants.
We’re waiting to see who will win this incredible race to the bottom.
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