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AUGUST 23, 2008 3:48AM

Great Moments in Olympic Coverage - the Decathlon

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You'd think I would know better. NBC promised something to do with Bryan Clay being about to win the decathlon, with teaser shots of his efforts in various events. I have a residual affection for the decathlon, (despite?) having watched Daley Thompson ad nauseam on the BBC during the 1984 Olympics. (Our house was about 70 miles from the Coliseum, but plainly the Olympics was the time to head back to the auld country and see the family.)

Actual coverage - Bryan Clay taking a gentle 1500 meter run because he was so far ahead he could only lose if it transpired that he was in fact responsible for the US' woes in relay qualification. And occasional shots of his wife.

 That's what I get for being so stupid as to rely on the prime-time crew to bring me something other than divers and weeping teenagers, to balance out the mayhem on the track.  

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I'm always wanting to watch the bizarre sports that they never want to broadcast in full. In the summer, it's things like fencing and the pole vault and the long jump. In the winter, it's ski jumping (which they don't show not because it's not amazing TV, but because Americans are never in contention) and the bobsled.

I'm just glad for female American athletes; now I get to see *some* fencing and *some* skeleton, simply because American women kick ass.
Stellaa, it was a "blink and you missed it" thing - it was the last event. I feel silly for not having noticed, but now that soccer season has started my attention is divided.

Douglas, I agree. We logged some time early in the games watching women's sports to change our daughters' view of sports as being soccer and college football (ahem). So, this afternoon, the girls discovered their new favoritest activity ever, that the six year old now wants to try - rhythm gymnastics. Words fail me.
I think the decathlon would be a lot more fun to watch as a winter Olympic event on ice.
This kid Bryan Clay is a template for the authentic All American Hero, and I say that without any irony intended. He's committed, has a beautiful young family, seems without guile or pretense, is athletically brilliant, 'roid free, and you could feel the sincerity as he wept during the playing of the national anthem at his medal ceremony. He's a throwback to the kind of athlete I was raised to admire and emulate for his sheer prowess and accomplishments, not for his car, watch, or underwear.

It's a damn shame that NBC, given its craven ratings hunt, bypassed most of this guy's exploits for likes of women's race walking (egad!) and the interminable diving competitions, with that unseen "expert" whose voice makes fingernails on a blackboard sound like canaries warbling. Clay deserved far more front and center coverage, and perhaps, post-Olympics, he'll get it.