The TV Trials, June 30, by James Dunaway, note by Larry Eder

Wallace Spearmon, photo by

Merritt_AriesQ1-OlyT12.jpgAries Merritt, 110m hurdles, photo by

Fountain_Hyleas200M1-OlyT12.jpgHyleas Fountain, 2012 US Olympic Trials,
photo by

Our TV critic, James Dunaway, is viewing the NBC broadcast from Austin, Texas. I miss my editor, and mentor very much. Mostly his pithy comments, sense of humor, and stories. I remember a night in Athens, in 2004, where my son, Adam, had dinner with James and I, as James told Adam and I stories about his first Olympic experience in 1956.

Here is James' critique of the June 30th NBC broadcast....

The TV Trials               Saturday, June 30    *** 1/2



We saw a lot of speed in today's one-hour telecast on NBC.


I have to start with an admission: Over the last day or two, I have been misspelling Jeneba Tarmoh as "Jenoba."  I don't know why -- had it right last weekend -- and I won't mess it up again.


UN-fortunately, I'm not the only one making mistakes, as we shall see.


When the show led off with three semi-finals in the men's 200 meters, it seems to me that  the announce team was not at the top of its form. In Heat One, as they came off the turn, we heard, "Spearman is in the lead," when in fact he was no better than equal second. In Heat Two, we heard, "Darvis Patton is running well," which was true enough, but Patton was a two meters or so behind Maurice Mitchell. And at the start of Heat 3, when Shawn Crawford raised his hand while they were on their marks, none of the announcers noted that the reason they were so long on their marks was that one of the other starters took his own sweet time settling into the blocks (15-20 seconds), and that when they were called to their marks again, one of the assistant starters told the slowpoke to step it up. All this was visible to us on the TV screen at home, but it wasn't mentioned by the announcers.


The heptathlon competition saw two of the top three finishers come through in the 800 meters to achieve the Olympic "A" standard which they lacked, and they did. The coverage was terrific, keeping us well informed about the times each had to run to make it. But surprisingly, while the phrase "the Olympic 'A' standard was mentioned at least a dozen times, I didn't hear the standard itself, 6,150 points, mentioned once. Hmmm.


Picky, picky, you might say. But it's the little things that make the difference between

ordinary and special.


The high jump package was short, and sweet. The three jumpers who qualified - Chaunte Lowe, Brigetta Barrett and Amy Acuff - were the only entrants with the "A" standard, and I thought a bit more attention might have been made regarding Barrett's big PR of 2.01, which elevates her to medal contention in London. I'd have liked Dwight to ask how she did it; a high-jump tech talk between them might have been fun.


The evening's two final races were dazzling. First, Aries Merritt outdueled Jason Richardson, 12.93 to 12.98, to establish that a new generation has taken over American hurdling, and we had great video, with enough head-on replays to convince me that the margin of victory was a perfect flight by Merritt vs. a couple of ticked hurdles by Richardson. Both demonstrated a fearlessness - physical courage is an important aspect of world-class hurdling - that will help them in London.


This was followed by Allyson Felix stunning race in the women's 200. She blew everyone away in the turn, and then ran the straight even faster, and we saw it all. Ato predicted it yesterday after Felix dominated her semi while easing up. You have to give Felix credit for not gloating after such a slam-dunk. She just smiled happily, as if she knew something nobody else knew. And why not?  Felix is the Latin word for "happy!"



Leave a comment

Wake up to RunBlogRun's news in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter and we'll keep you informed about the Sport you love.

Subscribe to RunBlogRun's Global News Feed

* indicates required