And I must say, for all the preening by the self-proclaimed "diva" Svetlana Khorkina, she accepted the silver medal as graciously as if it were gold. I only wish her compatriot Pavlova had joined her on the podium for the bronze, because I think she delivered a better performance than the technically proficient but uninspiring routines of China's Nan Zhang.
Just curious, but am I the only red-blooded American male out there who crosses his legs every time a gymnast vaults onto that insidious 4-inch-wide device they call "The Balance Beam"? I'd like to propose changing the name of this apparatus to something a little more appropriate. How about "The Impossibly Narrow Olympic-Dream-Ending Plank of Terror"?
Major kudos to Piersol for his handling of the debacle after a visually impaired judge tried unsuccessfully to strip him of his gold medal in the backstroke. "No one can take this away from me," offered Piersol. Ira Gershwin couldn't have said it any better. As for the judge in question, he deserves a little visit from Tony Soprano, know what I'm saying?
And how cool is it when they impose the swimmer's name and their country's flag at the bottom of their swimming lane? Much cooler than the same technology being used to slap corporate logos on soccer pitches and baseball backstops, I tell you what.Did you notice... That the gold medalists' names all began with P? That Svetlana Khorkina's coach looks like he hasn't smiled in a decade? That Bob Costas is in dire need of a haircut? Blue Collar TVFoxworthy delivered a nice twist on his trademark "You might be a redneck" routine, starting the show with a series of observations that began with "It might be a bad job if... ", and summing it up nicely with the maxim that "all bad jobs have low wages or rubber gloves."
Sometimes the best lines in sketch comedy are the unscripted gems that pop into a comedian's head a split second before they leave his mouth. When Bill Engvall presented his clay-sculpted pièce de résistance and announced, "I call this one 'Ouch,'" Foxworthy laughed so hard he was wiping tears from his eyes. Yes, it was that funny good thing I was wearing my Depends undergarments.
Then again, sometimes you don't need any words to get laughs. The sketch where we learn the answer to one of life's greater mysteries, "Who closes the door when the driver gets off the bus?" was a great piece of physical comedy. Watching that poor sap trying to squeeze his way through the door before it closed had me chuckling and pining for some Mr. Bean reruns.Wide Angle: Sahara Marathon I tell you, there's nothing quite like a PBS documentary to shake you out of a post-Olympics nationalistic fervor and make you empathize with 165,000 human beings whose sole commodity is sand.
Poor Mohammed Abdullah. Here is a man who proudly represents the Sahawari, a tribe of 165,000 political refugees driven from the shores of Algeria and forced to survive on humanitarian aid in the middle of the barren Western Sahara desert. Abdullah and his people welcome a group of 350 international runners who have organized a marathon in one of the harshest places on earth to help call attention to the plight of the people forced to live there as a result of a conflict that ended nearly 30 years ago. Abdullah doesn't have world-class training, a world-class diet or even a decent pair of running shoes, but he has heart. So my question is this: If you're really there to help the Sahawari, to draw attention to their plight and to give them a sense of hope, would it kill you to "just let them win"? A Spanish runner, who we're told holds a record in Spain for running 60 miles in just over six hours, crosses the line first in 3 hours 7 minutes, while Abdullah struggles to break the top 50 at a time of 5 hours 16 minutes 47 seconds. I suppose that, in a sense, Abdullah's struggle in the marathon reflects the reality of the political situation. As Jim Baker reveals later in the documentary, the former secretary of state was appointed as the UN Secretary General's Personal Envoy to Western Sahara, and busted his hump for seven years to get the international community to take notice and take action regarding the Sahawari. And what's the result? A footrace through the desert? No wonder he resigned in disgust.