Tag Archives: commentators

Seth Meyers Addresses Dressage, Mitty, & the Perks of Being an NBC Employee

In a refreshing break from having to actually listen to any of the NBC commentators (aside from Bob and Mary, who are—obviously—delightful), Seth Meyers stopped by the studio this afternoon for a little post Dressage commentary, among other hilarious things.

Meyers declared, “I have Olympic fever and I think in the daze of Olympic fever, I  somehow got Shanghaied into being here [in the studio],” for his usual fee of a turkey sandwich. Apparently the catering at the NBC London studio is not great, because the actual anchor clarified, “a dry turkey sandwich.”

Of course, given the state of affairs at NBC, it might be considered pretty generous that they can offer an appearance fee to one of their own. When asked about how he came to be in London, Meyers said, “Well look, we’ve worked for NBC for a long time and at some point you have to say, like, I’d like to go to the Olympics.” And apparently as long as you’re willing to stop by on your way to a beach volley ball match, NBC will make that happen for you.

I want to work at NBC.

Meyers on Women’s Gymnastics & Becoming an Expert

“It’s so exciting… If you spend two hours at women’s gymnastics live you feel like a full expert… You’re like, ‘Oh that’s a double Arabian, that’s no small thing… That’s an execution deduction!'”

I feel you Seth. I, too, am a gymnastics expert based on three years of childhood participation and a couple of evenings of wondering if there are any teams other than the Americans, Russians and Chinese.

Meyers on the Badminton Scandal

First of all, you have to excuse the coaches and players, because they probably were not aware that anyone would be watching, as they are playing badminton, ““They did not realize that you guys [at NBC] have a million hours of coverage.”

Fair?

“You just realize, like as a coach ,if you’re ever going to ask your players to throw a game, you have to practice throwing a game.” This made the entire studio laugh. Including the people who are being paid to be quiet behind the scenes.

Meyers on Dressage and How Rich Mitt Romney Is

“Mitt couldn’t be distancing himself enough from this horse… When you say [during the Brian Williams interview]: ‘I don’t quite know what my wife’s horse is doing in the Olympics,’ that is the longest way to say ‘You have no idea how rich I am.’”

“You should be able to embrace the fact that your wife’s horse is in the Olympics, and people shouldn’t be able to use it against you, like I just did—but I hold myself to a different lower standard.”

Meyers on Appropriate Patriotism & Team USA Support

“I’m rooting for Rafalca [the Romney horse]… Well look, we’re Americans and we have to root for all our American athletes—even horses with super foreign names.”

Yup.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Commenting, General Hilarity, Obscure Summer Sports

You Know What the Summer Olympics Need? Scott Hamilton.

Avid readers are well aware of the absurdly amazing commentary provided by Scott Hamilton at basically every elite figure skating event. He oohs, he aaahs, he yelps, he dings, and he says things like, “a nightmare covered in molasses.”

This is the kind of thing missing in London. Mayhaps I have been unlucky in my selection of events to watch. I welcome all suggestions for events featuring unique commentary.

The best comment I have come across thus far is from boxing. I was taking a nap earlier in the week and figured boxing would do just fine as something to be largely ignored, and just before drifting off on the living room floor I heard a commentator start waxing poetic about the acting chops of Al Pacino, before declaring that the q quality of the dance depends on your partner—Fred Astaire always looked best dancing with Ginger Rogers. 

That’s pretty solid. Too bad I have no idea who noted commentator is, to whom he was referring—and I pretty much never intend to watch boxing again.

I should have thought that gymnastics commentators might have some wondrous things to say. I thought wrong. The mantra “if you’re gonna hop you wanna hop forward,” is burned into my aural memory.

Maybe Scott should start commenting on all sports all the time.

For some of my small-scale commenting, you should really be following JohannaAP25  on Twitter.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Commenting, Obscure Summer Sports

Catching Up with Julia Mancuso: 2011 FIS Alpine World Championships

NBCnewyork.com/Vancouver 2010

Remember Julia Mancuso and her tiara (actual and helmet)?

Obviously she is a favorite at Words to Bumble.

As you may have noticed here, the FIS Alpine World Championships (not to be confused with World Cup Finals which are still to come, that season still having some time left) have been going down at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps (which incidentally hosted the 1936 Olympics, the first featuring Alpine skiing according to Wikipedia).

Fun facts.

Julia Mancuso/ UniversalSports.com/ Michael Ebenbichler/ Reuters

Julia Mancuso performed well in the speed events, taking silver in the Ladies’ Super-G on February 8th, one of her particularly strong events this season.

Elisabeth Goergl/ UniversalSports.com/ Michael Dalder/ Reuters

And what do we love about Olympic sports? The crazy lengthening that time undergoes: Mancuso came in .05 behind gold medalist Elisabeth Goergl (who did some serious owning at these Worlds).

According to Mancuso, that’s about 4 feet.

In the other speed events Mancuso finished a couple of places off the podium: 6th in the downhill and 7th in the Super-Combined.

Later in the week she finished 16th in the GS and Did Not Finish her first run in the Slalom, which was particularly unfortunate for American viewers because that was the last and one of the few events that aired on NBC Saturday afternoon.

The Slalom course was literally eating people alive. Apparently the temperature was pretty warm to begin with, and on Saturday it got even warmer and slushier. I think NBC’s broadcast showed three if not four wipe-outs in a row for the second run, prompting commentator Christin Cooper to say, “the toughest competition is the condition of the course.”

A more florid assessment of slalom in general was given by commentator/mediator Tim Ryan who said, “In slalom, anything can happen. It’s such a capricious sport.”

The commentating was not quite at an Olympic level, but props for vocabulary.

Mancuso & Svindal post-race/ DayLife.com

As for other fun facts, Universal Sports brought it to our attention that Julia Mancuso tweets about “Norwegian Viking” Aksel Lund Svindal because he is her boyfriend.

In honor of Valentine’s Day a Universal Sports reporter handed the microphone off to Mancuso and had her interview Svindal after his gold medal win in the Men’s Super-Combined (interview towards end of video).

It was kind of awkward.

**

P.S.
Sadly, I did not see the famed tiara helmet being worn at Worlds. For a moment I thought I did, but it was just another aqua Sprint sponsor helmet.

1 Comment

Filed under Commenting, [Obscure] Winter Sports

Oh Mirai, Mirai: Cup of China Ladies’ Free Skate

Mirai Nagasu with Cup of China winners Takahiko Kozuko & Miki Ando of Japan/UniversalSports.com/Tatjana Flade

It was a flashback to last year’s Cup of China. It was a flashback to last year’s World Championships. Mirai Nagasu skated into first place after the short program and the next day fell apart for the free skate. Aptly put by commentator Andrea Joyce, “[There’s] a pattern here that she would love to break.”

So. Much. Insight.

Nagasu is sadly known for a strong short and then a rough free skate in which she simply cannot hold thing together. Despite a great start to the program with a three jump triple-lutz-double-toe-double-toe combination, she continued to miss jump elements and suffered several downgrades, culminating with a fall in the second half of her performance.

My kitchen was a sad place whilst I watched the drama unfold.

Nagasu’s first place ranking perverted into that roughest of place finishes: fourth, and just out of reach of the podium.

So that was also a flashback to last winter, when Nagasu finished fourth at the Olympics.

Lots of flashbacks.

Nagasu was last on the ice for the free skate competition, coming shortly after “once again Miki Ando [had] thrown down a challenge to the teenager from California” (thank you Andrea).

Way to freak out Words to Bumble’s favorite, Miki Ando. Way to freak her out.

Commentator Tara Lipinski reflected that, “There’s so much more pressure on Mirai this season, and if you can’t get your head in the game and block everyone and everything else out, it’s really hard to focus on your elements.”

I mean, her retina may also have been scarred from some of the costumes she had seen over the course of her weekend in Beijing, so her vision may have been compromised.

Mirai Nagasu/Getty Images

On the upside, her costume was inoffensive and fitting for a program skated to music from Memoirs of a Geisha. And in addition to her opening three-fer combo, she landed two lovely two-fer combos right after she wiped out on a jump. Way to get back up.

And although she was clearly not a happy camper when it was all over, she still smiled for her bows, she tried a smile and wave after her scores… even though she and coach Frank Carroll then beat it post-haste to get the hell off camera.

Fair enough.

So… Frank, Mirai and I are all hoping for a happier free skate at her next Grand Prix event in Paris, France. /I would like to spend a weekend in France shopping, eating and watching figure skating.

Miki Ando/sports.cn.com

And what about—you might ask—the lady who won it all, Miki Ando?

She’s pretty fierce, and probably still pretty mad that she placed 5th at the Olympics, right behind Ms. Nagasu. She skated a clean free program, the only one of the ladies to do so, prompting Lipinski to declare that “She is one of the best technicians” in women’s figure skating. At the end of her program Joyce exclaimed, “She has really thrown it down—so to speak.”

Joyce sounded just a little bit as though she wished she had gone for an alternate wording on that one.

Ando finished 25 points ahead of Nagasu and was joined on the podium by fellow Japanese skater Akiko Suzuki and Alena Leonova.

1 Comment

Filed under Commenting, [Obscure] Winter Sports

ISU Grand Prix Nagoya: Japan’s Junior-Senior Rising Stars, Kanako Murakami & Yuzuru Hanyu

Figure skating is back for 2010-2011 (and I am a little behind due to unexpected cable provider issues…)!

The ISU Grand Prix series runs every autumn, consisting of six international competitions featuring pairs, ice dance, men’s and women’s figure skating on the senior level. There is also a junior level ISU Grand Prix, which we will touch on again later. Just note it.

This year the Grand Prix opened with the NHK Trophy in Nagoya, Japan over the weekend October 22-24. Inexplicably, NBC did not air its selections until the following weekend, which got me all mixed up with my dates and general comfusion—but onwards. Skate Canada went down over Halloween weekend, the Cup of China is coming up next (Nov. 5-6), then Skate America (Nov. 12-14), Cup of Russia (Nov. 19-20) and concluding with the Grand Prix of France Trophée Eric Bompard before the final to be held back in Beijing over December 9-12.

So that’s that informational introduction to the whole Grand Prix shebang.

Mao Asada/Getty Images

The NHK Trophy competition saw a mixture of disappointment and triumph for established Japanese figure skating stars. Mao Asada, reigning ladies’ World Champion and Olympic silver medalist had an upsetting start to the 2010-11 season, finishing in only 8th place on home ice. Meanwhile, Daisuke Takahashi—reigning men’s World Champion and Olympic bronze medalist—turned in a typically strong performance, taking the NHK Trophy gold.

The real story for this post, however, is about two newly risen junior champions, skating for the first time at the senior level of competition. The reigning ISU Junior World Champions are both young Japanese skaters (15 years old) who made quite a splash in their first senior Grand Prix. Kanako Murakami beat out one of her heroes, Mao Asada, placing for bronze with a 150.16. Yuzuru Hanyu came just short of the men’s podium with a strong fourth place début performance, totalling 207.72.

Commentators Terry Gannon, Tara Lipinski and Michael Weiss loved the fresh skates given by Murakami and Hanyu, reflecting time and time again that at this time last year they were still skating in the juniors.

At the start of Murakami’s free skate

Kanako Murakami/UniversalSports.com/Toru Yamanaka/AFP Getty Images

to the Mask of Zorro soundtrack, commentator Terry Gannon said, “[She] may be the next Japanese star on the horizon… who won every event in which she entered last season—all on the junior level the wins were though—and she is the reigning world junior champion. Now in the senior , skating internationally and in a position to win!”

Michael Weiss followed up reflecting on the junior to senior transition: “It’s difficult, you’re coming off of winning everything as a junior, there’s a lot of expectations on you, especially with the history of the Japanese skaters. And to come out in your home town for your first event—a lot of experience will be gained in this performance.” And then later: “I remember when I first came up from juniors, making that transition, to be on the ice for the first time with your heroes… and you wonder, do I belong here? You won everything as a junior and making that transition is a difficult transition, but she obviously has the elements with that huge triple-triple at the beginning.”

She had a lot of energy and the hometown audience continued to feed her speed and attacking mentality throughout the free skate program, despite a of couple falls in the second half. Tara Lipinski was also commenting for NBC and praised Murakami’s tenacity: “Even with these mistakes, she is not slowing down, she just attacks these jumps. She has so much speed going into them.”

And despite a couple of glitches and spills, Murakami came out of it with a bronze medal—not too shabby for her first senior level international competition, in her hometown of Nagoya.

Fun fact: Miki Ando and Mao Asada, two current Japanese greats are (naturally) Murakami’s heroes. One of the reasons she selected her high school is because that is where Ando and Asada studied. Asada even gave Murakami the blazer that she wore at the school’s entrance ceremony.

As for Yuzuru Hanyu, “another star from Japan on the rise,” he decided to get started with a great quad (going to have to talk about quads at length in a future post), just to note that even though he just came out of the juniors, he can do it all technically.

Yuzuru Hanyu/NPR.com/Getty Images

In terms of criticism, Weiss talked about how when you come up from the juniors and “it doesn’t look like anything can slow [you] down technically,” the area in which young skaters have to grow the most is performance quality in terms of connecting with the audience by maximizing the pull of arm movements and facial expression. Creating and keeping that connection has a lot to do with keeping up stamina throughout a peice—poor Hanyu looked like he just wanted to fall over of exhaustion in the last third of his program.

But it was an impressive program all the same, just out of reach of the podium. Weiss and Gannon talked a lot about potential for Hanyu’s future as a skater and noted that this performance was “a glimpse into the future.”

I just love commentators. And I am so glad that figure skating is back.

Up next? Let’s talk about Jeremy Abbott from the perspective of Stars of Ice co-star Michael Weiss…

4 Comments

Filed under Commenting, [Obscure] Winter Sports

Koman Coulibaly of Mali & the USA-Slovenia Draw

[tweetmeme source=”JohannaAP25″]

Are. You. Serious.

Really. Really?!

Where to begin?

As a prelude to the inexplicable reffing, I shall begin where I began my live tweeting of the USA- Slovenia game. It was a fairly rapid turnaround in sentiment.

Petulant? Maybe. Relevant and understandable complaint? Yes.

I had a similarly toned exchange on gchat with my Maine expert:

Me: I mean, was he just hanging out having himself a self-reflective moment?

Spike: “Oh man it’s so cool to be in the World Cup, the US isn’t great in soccer so we have to do well, I have to do well, I’m the goalie, I have to goal…wait…what just happened?”

Me: Really, after I tweeted about how happy I was that his ribs are not sticking out of his chest.

At least the second time Slovenia goaled Howard moved towards the ball. That was an upgrade.

Zlatan Ljubjankic scores past Tim Howard for second Slovenian goal (FIFA.com/Getty/Kevork Djansezian)

And then there were the calls. Most people are focusing on that last goal disallowing call, but Referee Coulibaly was a mess throughout. Commentators were consistently baffled by calls made by the Malian official, having no qualms openly and definitively disagreeing with his decisions.

“Absolutely ridiculous decision, one of the stupidest decisions I think I’ve ever seen.”

I’m no expert, but there was some crazy shit going down.

Not that I don’t admit the American performance in the first half was entirely lackluster. As favored Words To Bumble commentator Alexi Lalas put it: “They had their chances [in the first half], and they didn’t finish their chances.”

The Lalas man was not happy.

Donovan scores (FIFA.com/Getty/Kevork Djansezian)

Luckily for Team USA—as I am confident that Lalas was about to personally go kick some ass—Donovan brought them back into play immediately into the second half.

Bradley Celebrates (FIFA.com/Getty/Christof Koepsel)

It was about time.

And that must have been one hell of a half time pep talk, because—albeit 45 minutes late—the US finally starting playing.

And then, magically, Michael Bradley (son of the coach) put another one in for the US. Fans in the stands were literally in tears. It  was a special moment.

And then came the penalty kick; and then came Maurice Edu (upon whom I had decided to pin all my hopes in a fit of halftime frustration) and what appeared to be the third goal and a win for the US.

So much happiness.

Maurice Edu heads in to Donovan's penalty kick (NYT/AP/Luca Bruno)

And then so much devastation when inexplicably, Coulibaly blew his whistle and disallowed the goal based on an invisible foul. In fact, it looked like the American players were the ones being fouled.

Seriously.

Sample from the commentators?

“I cannot believe that call by the referee, that is horrible.”

They called it a “nightmare.”

After the game, Coach Bob Bradley commented: “A lot of emotion went into the second half… Still don’t know why the goal was disallowed.”

“I think there was nothing there. I think it’s a good goal and that’s that.”

“Nobody knows” what that call was.

And in the nature of the game, there are no forthcoming explanations, just moving along, on to the next match.

1 Comment

Filed under Commenting, Really., Summer Sports