“I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

Yesterday, Constantina Tomescu won the Olympic Marathon.  As with any gold medal win, it was a remarkable achievement, but it was made even more remarkable by several factors: her age (she’s 38 – the oldest Olympic marathon winner), the early lead that she carved out and maintained to the finish (almost a minute), and her overall speed (halfway through she was running just over five minute miles).

Sports commentators are not always the most articulate people in the world, but one repeated idea really struck me the wrong way.  As she ran, the commentators reviewed her performance in the 2004 Athens Olympics.  Suffering from heatstroke, she had pulled up and walked for a bit, eventually finishing 20th.

Because of this, the commentator said several times that her run yesterday represented a quest for "redemption" on Tomescu’s part.  Redemption?  She was ill (and speaking as someone who has had the precursor to heatstroke, heat exhaustion, it’s no joke).  She still finished.  What is there to seek redemption for?  His word choice (not an isolated one – he repeated himself several times) made it seem that she had to atone for some criminal act.

The bombast of Olympic commentary is bad enough without this sort of nonsense.  And winning Olympic gold is remarkable enough that it doesn’t need to be tarnished by commentating like this.


  1. Jill,

    Today I found the absolutely PERFECT solution to the idiocy of the commentators forced to cover sports they know absolutely nothing about, nbc.olympics.com has all the events in their entirety and you can choose commentary or no commentary.

    I have found it perfect for watching the equestrian events. The commentary choice if full commentary by idiot girl and boy in NYC or scrolling text commentary by someone who is obviously somewhat knowledgeable about the sport. I have gleefully been watching all 75 of the riders for the first final round of individual show jumping on and off all afternoon, seeing riders you would never see even on Oxygen’s expanded coverage.

    Did I say no annoying commentators?

  2. Yeah! Take that, nasty commentator! See if you feel like you require redemption after finishing an Olympic marathon in ANY position. Arrogant so-and-so’s these folks are.

    khms last blog post..I Always Feel Like…

  3. Hey Mary – yeah, but since I watch the Olympics with my knitting in my hand, I use the commentary to let me know when there’s actual stuff going on.

    I can’t say too much about the equestrian commentary because I felt like I jinxed Authentic the other night by saying to John, “I love this horse – he is SO SOLID,” about 2 second before he refused that jump. Poor guy – looked like he had a bug in his ear or something.

  4. The thing that kept ticking me off was the commentator during the men’s gymnastics competition who kept saying “that’s high bar 101”, “that’s pommel horse 101”, “that’s gymnastics 101.” Geez, guy! come up with some new comments will ya!