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
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
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!”