NBC: Thanks, but I don't want to watch her cry (mild Olympics bitch)

During the all-around women’s gymnastics last weekend, we got to see Anna Pavlova cry when she was bumped from a medal position. I felt bad for the poor kid, but it wasn’t too excessive.

Then on Saturday, I watched Stacy Drogila, the American gold medalist from Sydney in pole vault, fail to qualify for finals. She really screwed up bigtime and she knew it, so after she wiped out, she had a meltdown. Who wouldn’t? It’s got to be an incredibly crushing sense of humiliation and disappointment for her. So why, for the the love of all that’s sacred, did the NBC cameras have to linger for minutes on her miserable, weeping form? :mad:

That was bad enough, but last night, I watched the women’s high drive final. Emily Heymans, an Australian who was diving brilliantly, totally screwed up and lost her medal chance. Not only did Emily cry, she totally lost her shit behind this little wall, kneeling with her face in her hands, then falling prostrate onto a mat. The girl was beside herself, and… millions of people got to watch it. For several minutes, which felt like an eternity. I felt so sorry for her, and I felt shitty watching it. I’m glad I had it on DVR so I could fast forward through it.

Is this kind of coverage necessary? Do other stations show that stuff? Is this the dark side of those feel-good, warm-and-fuzzy sequences they love to show? guess maybe some people enjoy watching that kind of thing… I think it’s pretty ghoulish and only adds to these people’s natural feelings of defeat and shame.

FWIW, it’s all part of the “human drama” that is the Olympics.

Let’s not forget the British marathon runner who had to pull up at Mile 20 or so. She hid behind a bush and they followed her around it.

She cries, then my wife starts crying and guess whose ass is in the car in the middle of the night off to buy frozen yogurt.


They also spent a great deal of time on Gale Deevers after she pulled up short (twice actually). She was obviously upset and it was probably more than a little embarassing, so of course NBC ignored the winners completely and focused on her.

And the woman who held the world record in the marathon and was running with the leaders for like the first half of the race dropped out and she was just devastated, so of course, they had to air and re-air and harp on the fact that she was crying and devastated. Dude, if you have to show it, show it once! Let them keep some of their dignity.

Was anyone else a little confused by the title?

You can tell which events I watch by the people I mention in my post; I had no doubt they were doing it all over the place, and no one was safe. pepperlandgirl, I saw the Gale Deevers wipe out, mostly because they showed it like 15 times in slo mo. How cruel!

As for “human drama,” I get what you’re saying, Mr. Blue Sky, and I can see how Anna Pavlova’s tears were inevitably on TV because she was crying right out there on the floor, albeit in a controlled manner. However, some of these people, like Heymans and the woman hajario mentioned, are trying to hide and grieve with dignity, but the cameras follow them into their most private, humiliating moment. That is what bothers me, the media’s attitude that they have the right to tape those scenes and air them, and that people might enjoy watching such things.

I do want to see human drama, and the agony of defeat is part of that. What I don’t want is to feel like a peeping tom and an intruder on someone else’s deep personal pain. That’s not why I watch TV, and especially not why I watch the Olympics. It seems so mean-spirited.

What, you thought “The Agony of Defeat” indicated shoe problems? Having low moments to contrast with the high ones adds depth to the program. Remember that sports is entertainment – and great emotion is dramatic and interesting.

Because the agony of defeat probably gets better ratings than the thrill of victory.

I subscribe to the notion that “You don’t know the highs unless you know the lows”. Four years down the road in China, you just might see these same athletes win the gold and then you would REALLY appreciate all the shit they went through to get that gold. Redemption feels great when it happens, although I realize not every athlete will be in position to win in 2008. But there were quite a few that redeemed themselves this year after bombing in Sydney four years ago. Those that failed this year are the ones I route for next time around.

I really enjoyed watching the American marathoner coming from 18th and took the Bronze, she was crying too…elated.

Then you have Maurice Green… :wally

Unfortunately, no. With how NBC covers things, I knew exactly the type of examples that were going to be in this thread.

Let me tell you, every athlete out there is competing for your enjoyment. :rolleyes: I don’t want to hear all the crap about how there wouldn’t be athletics without fans to pay for them. The Olympics were for amateurs only for quite a long while. You want to show a snippet of someone upset, fine, but don’t linger for minutes. It’s degrading and embarrassing.

Like I said, tears will be shed and that’s OK, it’s natural and part of sports. What bugs me are those moments of utter desolation when a person takes pains to hide in order to avoid being filmed while having a total emotional breakdown. If a person is clearly going out of her way to avoid being taped while lying face down behind a wall or in a bush, and you follow her there to stick a camera in her face, then you are a cruel asshole, IMO. That, I don’t want or need to see. That’s a private moment and I don’t want to intrude, just as I wouldn’t want to be intruded upon in that situation.

Can anyone posting to this thread admit that they enjoy watching this kind of stuff? If so, what about it appeals to you?

For what it’s worth, I turned to my wife at this point and said “If I were in her shoes, I’d take off my swimsuit!” It’s the “agony of defeat”, not the “voyeurism of defeat”! I’ll watch an athlete fail on the field of play, but there is no reason to trail them like a dog as they head to the showers. Geez, give 'em a little privacy!

It could be worse. When I was in high school, our cheerleading squad went to the national championship, and it was covered by ESPN. After our team performed, the team captain was so nervous (you know, small town girl, on national TV at the big cheerleading championship) that she blew chunks on camera. This caused the rest of the squad to start puking as well. All of it captured on camera. That’s gotta suck.

I would argue that the athletes are competing for our enjoyment. Considering the amount of effort they go through, it would be pretty disenheartening to think that nobody cares about the result. The fact that the athlete is so upset is proof of their awareness of attention. The emotion tells a lot about how invested the athlete is in the effort.

I understand that the agony of defeat can generate deep pathos and empathy on the part of the viewer – I get that it’s painful to watch. That’s the beauty of it. While I agree that it can be overdone, the grief shouldn’t be ignored, and should be allowed to play out, yes, in the public view. It’s part of the show, and a good part, at that.

As far as fans to pay for them, have you ever seen a spontaneous contest, say a footrace between kids on the street? Nobody’s paying anybody, yet part of the joy of the contest is that someone loses. People get invested in the contest, and associate with the athlete. Money only comes into it as greater organization is required.

But the point I’ve been trying to make is that these women tried hard to hide from prying eyes and have their painful moment in private. This is the distinction between Anna Pavlova and her dignified but tearful loss, and Emily Heymans total breakdown. If a person actively tries to get out of the public eye to lose her shit, why is it “good” to hunt them down so we can all experience schadenfreude at her expense?

I guess it’s just a matter of opinion, but it seems unnecessarily degrading and humiliating for the media to go so far in covering these moments. If you think it’s good, Danalan, then pat yourself on the back, because the networks obviously care more about what you like than about what I like. The scenes I mentioned made me feel vastly uncomfortable and bad, which kinda ruined some of the fun of watching the Olympics.

Really? You don’t think that the fact that they have been training for years for that moment, thought they might win, and now realise that they haven’t, and won’t have another chance for four years might have something more to do with it than a bid for attention?

Did you also feel great elation when an athlete won spectacularly? Were you discomfitted by the celebration? If Emily Heymans had won the gold, and similarly broken down with joy (not unreasonable, she seems kind of emotional), should we back away from that emotion?

Remember the smiley face and sad face of drama? This is entertainment – sure, it’s about driving oneself physically to excell, but it’s done in the context of an entertainment event – as evidenced by your avid watching, and the ratings. What do you think happens to the losers? Because there are WAY more losers than winners at these games. Sorrow is far more common there, and the emotional outbursts put a face on that sorrow.

Last night was the first time I’ve been able to see any of the Athens Olympics (we don’t have tv at home) and I couldn’t believe that the bloody cameraperson followed her and stood there while she cried. The poor girl went out of her way for some privacy and couldn’t even get that.

I sure wish I could have fast-forwarded through it. All I could do was rant at the screen until they finally switched away. Ugh.

(Nitpick: Emilie Heymans is Canadian.)

I totally agree, especially in the situation with Emelie Heymans. I actually had to flip to another channel after I realized what the camera was doing, so I don’t know how long they showed her. But what I saw was enough to bother me.

I don’t really object to showing someone walking away with their head hanging or even a few tears–but continuing to show her falling on the floor and sobbing *after she’d gone behind a wall for privacy * was over the top. This isn’t Big Brother for crying out loud! Leave the poor girl alone.

I feel like you’re not understanding me. Shows of emotions, positive and negative, are OK. If someone is crying right out there on the floor, like Anna Pavlova was, then she has to expect to be on camera. If Emilie Heymans (a Canadian, my sincere apologies for my error) had her breakdown right at the poolside, then she’d have to deal with it being on TV. What I and some others are taking issue with is the pursuit of a person into a truly private moment. Doesn’t that bother you at all?

Also, I’ve never seen anyone just completely lose control of him or herself after a win. Winning does not seem to lead to people falling face down and writhing in a most undignified manner.

What do I think happens to the losers? I imagine there are a lot of tears, shame, and self-recriminations, things that most people like to deal with unobserved by millions of strangers. Unlike happiness, which people don’t mind others witnessing, there is a stigma on total emotional hysteria in public. It adds insult to the injury of the loss that these people are denied their privacy in this ultimately painful moment, despite their best efforts to avoid it–and this is the key. They are trying to get away but can’t. :mad:

I guess I’m surprised that anyone would want to intrude on such a moment or would think it’s something they’re entitled to see in spite of the athlete’s wish to be alone. I try to respect that wish with other people, not shocked that the media doesn’t, only taken aback that anyone thinks this is worthwhile coverage to which they are entitled.