NBC's Top 30 Olympic Moments (Voted by Viewers)
I'm watching an NBC special in which the public has voted for the greatest Olympic moments (30 of them). Most of them involve Americans, no surprise. It's wonderful to see so many of these again, even if each of them is shown only briefly. Some of my favorites involve women's track and field--Jackie Joyner-Kersee's second heptathlon medal and Australian Cathy Johnson's 400-meter win at Sidney. This is a great way to get in the mood for the Games next week! It's so wonderful to think of everyone coming together. The Olympics is a moment for normally obscure countries like Morocco to shine on the world stage, as stars in sports that don't generally get a lot of air time such as middle and long-distance running. When I think of the sheer variety of sports, there truly is something for everyone--these days even tennis. (Which this year will be played at Wimbledon. A venue like that can't easily be equaled by other countries!)
Related question: Mary Lou Retton is still famous, and Nastia Liukin is as well, but you don't hear much (and never did) about Carly Patterson, the only other American ever to win the all-around gold. Why is that, I wonder? She was the first American to win after Mary Lou, and the first ever to win in a non-boycotted Olympics. (Not to denigrate Retton's win by any means!) So why didn't she have an impact comparable to the others? Or even to Shaun Johnson, who won other golds in Beijing.
Last edited by Olympia; 07-21-2012 at 10:14 PM.
Hope you don't mind, Olympia, but I thought this would make a good thread all on its own! I can't wait to watch the special!
I'm eager to hear everyone's thoughts on it.
Of course I understand why the producers didn't use Winter Olympics moments, but I had to recalibrate my brain before I could even think in terms of what they were showing me. There was more variety than I expected, with a few team sports and one rowing sport (an amazing Brit who won gold in the same event in five consecutive Olympics!), as well as the expected track and field, gymnastics, and swimming. What other moments would GS people add from the Summer Games?
Some of my extra choices: If you go farther back in time, there are victories by people one doesn't hear of these days. One Polish track star, Irena Szewinska, ran in various sprint and middle distance races for almost two decades. In the 1976 Montreal Olympics, I remember the American commentators pointing out that in the 400 meter finals (which she won), she was going faster after crossing the finish line than some of the other runners were going as they tried to complete the race. Both Bruce Jenner (U.S.A.) and Daley Thompson (Britain) won thrilling decathlons. I also remember the 1972 Equestrian event, in which Britain took the gold both as a team and for an individual rider, Richard Meade. That was the year Mark Phillips, later to marry Princess Anne, competed. Anne would probably have been on the team as well, as she was the European champion, but her horse was injured. She competed, but with less success, in 1976. Here's an interesting video interview with Princess Anne. She sounds so like her mother nowadays. I've always liked her; I believe she does more charity work than any of the other British royals.
And of course, there were the gymnastics events from 1972 (Olga Korbut's year) and 1976 (Nadia Comaneci's year). This was the beginning of the modern gymnastics era. Previous winners like Larysa Latinina (something like 10 golds!) and Vera Caslavska suddenly looked dainty and like beginners compared with the thrilling and dangerous tricks that girls now did. There was a quantum leap from Caslavska's Olympics in 1968 to the work being done in 1972, and I have no idea how or why that breakthrough occurred. It seemed to be centered, as the best gymnastics was in those days, in the U.S.S.R. and East Germany.
Last edited by Olympia; 07-22-2012 at 11:36 AM.
I wish it'd been longer, they went through the clips way too fast for me. It was Olympic ADD or something... could've been done so much better.
Agreed! It was just enumerating each event, not giving any information.
But if you already are familiar with these events, or if you have a way of looking them up, it's a great stepping stone for discussion and further thought.
I don't know how or whether this is still available, but many years ago Budd Greenspan did a great series about the Olympics. It's now out of date, of course, having missed out on the more recent Games (and the narrator has a rather annoying monotone), but you get to learn about lots of fascinating Olympics endeavors. I wish there were more recent documentaries of similar depth.
Wish list: Wouldn't it be great if there were an Olympic channel with some vintage footage of NBC's recent Olympic coverage....a girl can dream!
leave no stone unturned
Where is the list with 30 best moments ?
They had one like that on Dish Network during the 06 games... but it was just a highlight reel similar to what we had the other night...
Originally Posted by Olympia
One exciting new thing. This is the first year that every team who sent athletes has included female athletes. This includes Afghanistan and I think Saudi Arabia. There's a young Afghan runner who's competing in the 100 meters.
The Russian TV channel NTV showed quite a big documentary about Summer Olympics "The Rings of Fate". There they said that London Olympic officials recommended their British athletes not to kiss, hug, shake hands much with foreign athletes, due to the risk to catch some diseases or infections. NTV treated it as one of samples of English snobbism.
The Brits aren't snobs! I defend them eagerly. (I went to grad school in the U.K., and I loved it there. I'm still in touch with friends from my time there.) I think it makes sense to be careful about kissing and germs and such, though there's more trouble in the Winter Games than is likely here. But the Brits aren't much for displays of emotion to begin with--hugging and kissing mere acquaintances. It's just a cultural difference. I don't think the Japanese are either, and they're not snobs. Maybe it's just living on an island. Everyone is packed tightly together, so they set up some boundaries to create a zone of privacy.
Stuff on TV is starting to get pretty exciting. The American network that's broadcasting the Games, NBC, is now mostly broadcasting from London. Man, I wish I were there. And they even have great weather at last.