Wow I am writing things on this web log a lot lately. I should coin a verb for it.
We here at And That Happened are not so much here to report the sports stories of the day to you as we are to cover the people who report those sports stories of the day. Maybe that makes us pathetic, but I enjoy it because I don't have to stand in a sweaty locker room trying to talk to someone in a bad mood hoping he'll say something your editor likes (I've done it, it's not fun).
I mentioned in a previous post, I've become quickly enamored with Bela Karolyi's very unique presence in the NBC olympics booth next to (my hero) Bob Costas.
I also mentioned I couldn't understand a word he was saying, and was unsure of whether he was discussing vaulting form or how to make donuts. Apparently what was being said was far more entertaining.
According to Tampa Bay Online*:
"These people think we are stupid," Karolyi said. "We are in the business of gymnastics. We know what a kid of 14 or 15 or 16 looks like. What kind of slap in the face is this? They are 12, 14 years old and they get lined up and the government backs them and the federation runs away. There is an age limit and it can't be controlled."
The Washington Post also has some nifty quotes:
"They are obviously kids -- 12 or 14 [years old], max -- and you're telling the world they are 16? What arrogance!"
"The passport is made by the Chinese government," Karolyi said. "They can do any kind of documents."
As mentioned, we cover the people who cover the news, not the news itself. I'm sure you've heard speculation of the Chinese gymnasts' ages not being up to snuff, but Karolyi's vehement, biased and insulting statements of fact that the host country of the Olympics are pulling one over on the rest of the world is taking it to another level. Of course, Bela knows how communist countries operate, and also knows what a 14-year-old Gold Medal gymnast looks like, but this is still rubbing a lot of people the wrong way (notably poor co-anchor Bob Costas, doing a full-on Mike Myers).
Me? This sort of outrage makes me love Mr. Karolyi even more. Bring him in for Sunday Night Baseball in place of Joe Morgan. AND Jon Miller! There's nothing better than a studio analyst saying crazy things that make everyone around him so uncomfortable they feel their own jobs might be in jeopardy (yes, I miss Rush Limbaugh on ESPN). Unless, of course, they can't be certain if said studio analyst just said something that should make them uncomfortable because they can't understand what he said in the first place.
And I'm certainly not making fun of him or saying there's anything wrong with that. It just makes him more awesome, even if he is known for bringing up young female gymnasts with the same loving care and patience shown by a guard when bringing up a POW in a concentration camp. Are you not picturing how epic this would be, people?
I can't wait until I get that petition started and Karolyi is greating me every Sunday night before I have to listen to John Madden.
(Note: This author does not know nearly as much about gymnastics as he pretends to.)
*I feel the urge to top this by finding even more random and obscure sources in the future. I dare the rest of you ATH writers to try and out-do me.