A story on Slate today takes a pot shot at NBC for its Olympics coverage. Aside for a bit too much women’s beach volleyball in prime time, and timing issues of which it is only partially to blame, let’s give the network credit for some absolutely fantastic play-by-play and color work. Tom Hammond’s “winning by daylight” call of the 100 meter final is a classic that captured all the excitement of Bolt’s crazy accomplishment. Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines have similarly brought tremendous energy to the swimming events, especially the Lezak and Phelps come-from-behind miracles. Tim Dagget, is terrific as color man with gymnastics—honest, optimistic, and detailed about the subtleties of a sport most casual viewers are unlikely to appreciate. Mike Breen is doing the very difficult job of making Team USA’s blowout victories on the hardcourt special, by reveling the athleticism and spectacular talent on display. In almost every case, they’ve done an admirable job of rooting for the American squad, but not at the expense of objectivity, or with any loss of enthusiasm for the amazing victories of other nationals, even when Americans don’t win or even medal.
The way things are going, the Olympics sure beats watching the Yanks.