Continuing a magnificent two-day old tradition, FPM celebrates the best and worst of the Beijing Games. Check here for more FPM medals.
Sports broadcasters are like referees, umpires and offensive linemen; you don't really notice them when they are good, but they can ruin a game when they are bad. Every now and then, though, a pulling guard will obliterate three defenders on a touchdown run, and an announcer will make a sports event a little more enjoyable, although sometimes unintentionally so. In that spirit, FPM awards our best and worst announcers of the Games.
Bob Costas chatted with numerous guests in the studio, everyone from gold medal winners to President George W. Bush. In the first few days of the Games, I cringed as he interviewed the women's fencing trio that swept the sabre event, as he marveled that all three attend prestigious American universities ("Golly, you girls must be so smart!"). But once the gymnastics events started, Costas was saved by the Bela Karolyi, whose over the top theatrics and nearly incomprehensible commentary made for the most entertaining comedy of the entire two weeks. For Bob and Bela, an FPM medal in the pairs event.
In the worst announcers category, Tiki Barber was a shoo-in for the men. His gaffes and missteps were so frequent that if Awful Announcing ever builds a Hall of Fame, they'll have a separate wing called the Tiki Tiki Tiki Room. At the very least, Barber will have a place to display his FPM medal.
Joining Barber atop the FPM medal stand of shame is diving analyst Cynthia Potter. Her critique of the divers was fine, but she had some outstanding foot-in-microphone moments, like when she said the divers showered after each dive because, "It's fun." And then this gem in an exchange with diving announcer Ted Robinson that I remember as follows:
Robinson, commenting about the imposing look of a Russian diver who had shaved his head: "I feel like I've seen this guy in a James Bond movie."
Potter: "I think I've seen him in some other kinds of movies."
Robinson, stunned into awkward silence: " ... "
Potter, as replay of the Russian's dive rolls: "Those other movies were about violence, not anything else."
Rick Majerus, we've found your soulmate. To be fair, there was so much diving on TV, I was surprised Jacques Cousteau didn't make an appearance, so if those were her only mistakes in all that time on the air, I can understand. So if not in quantity, then definitely for quality, an FPM medal for Cynthia Potter. And let's get Tiki and her together as soon as possible.
We have a few other special awards as well. The American sprinters collapse in the track and field events provided numerous uncomfortable post-race interviews conducted by Bob Neumeier, who gets a special FPM medal for performance under duress as he weathered the two-mile stares and curt responses of Jeremy Wariner and the like.
In our Mr. and Mrs. Congeniality category, Cris Collinsworth and Mary Carillo were so helpful and so gosh-darn nice, they deserve a medal. Like the president and vice president of the student council who work so hard to make the Homecoming Dance a success and then get elected King and Queen, you just can't find anything not to like about these two. Naturally, I hate them.
Finally, let's end this FPM medal post with a mystery for the FPMIU. Why was American sprint icon Michael Johnson working for the BBC while NBC had sprinter Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago? Regardless of the answer, I thnk we can all agree NBC dropped the baton on that one.
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