Real Sports' Bryant Gumbel: 'Winter Olympians Can Give Me A Snow Job'

This little turd is starting to show up in the blogsphere:

How cutting edge. So, from a sports commentator we have:1. The Winter Olympics are a farce because Ancient Greeks didn’t compete on πάγος and orχιονιού.
2. Other than in the John Candy film ‘Cool Runnings’, there aren’t enough black people competing.
3. Competions that are judged contain pseudo-athletes. Real athletes compete in sports that are merely referee’d or officiated.
4. Bryant’s buddy; Bob Costas, is in it for the money. Upon returning to his Hotel suite in Turin each day, he kicks off his shoes and pops in a highlights video of last’s year’s final four into the VCR.Coming next week on HBO’s Real Sports:
Let The Cast Of American Idol Judge The 2010 Winter Games

Someone has hired that pompous ass?

You think Sterling Sharpe and Greg Gumbel might be able to commiserate a bit were they to get together for a chat?

I don’t see what the problem is. I agree with most of what Gumbel said.

It IS kind of a stretch to try to compare the modern Winter Olympics with anything in Ancient Greece. Figure skating ISN’T a sport. It’s a performance, maybe, a skill, a form of dance but it’s not a sport and they’re not athletes. The commentators DON’T actually care about curling or the fricking luge.

The crack about a dearth of blacks is a little silly. It’s true there aren’t many black people competing in the winter olympics but that doesn’t mean the ones who do aren’t the best in the world at their particular sports.

And of COURSE it’s about money.

What’s the problem here. After the Salt lake scandal I just can’t work up any respect for the Olympics any more.

I don’t see what is so offensive about it. I hear the same kinds of things said almost every day, and I live in Colorado. “Who cares about a bunch of Norwegian cross-country skiiers or biathletes from Kazakhastan?”

The truth is, many of the best athletes in the world com from sub-tropical countries, and the Winter Games are essentially a games for the northern latitudes.

The winter games do have a large number of sports that are, at least in part, judged rather than scored. Ski-jumping, moguls, arials, figure skating, halfpipe - all involve judging of form. As anyone who has deep knowledge of these things will readily tell you, “reputation” is the unreported score in judging. If you’re ranked 50th in the world, it really doesn’t matter how perfect you make a run, it isn’t going to get the scores that a top ten athlete will.

Methinks some people just want to get outraged (which is what the blogosphere is all about).

Plus, lots of people just watch these games because they want to watch people wipe out. You don’t get that in the serious summer games like, say, chess and badminton.

Which in Anciant Greece were played naked, BTW. Also baseball. And the gymnastics rings and parallel bars.

Norwegians and Kazakhs, presumably. The Olympics (winter or summer) are not run just for the enjoyment of Americans.

Does Bryant Gumbel want gymnastics and diving (among others) removed from the summer games?

I like the winter Olympics better than the summer. I like the biathlon, the bobsledding, all the sports that I won’t hear about for the next four years; in part because this is the only time I ever get to see them. The announcers don’t care and don’t know much about these sports. And there’s no reason for NBC to keep an expert on the payroll for a sport that gets so little coverage. But that doesn’t mean there’s no demand. For two weeks every four years, there’s college basketball on only three channels and luge on one.

Gumbel is an idiot.

How is this any different then, oh, diving, synchhonised swimming, all of the gymnastic events, and probably some others that aren’t coming to mind?

Just because an event isn’t timed, or won by scoring points against an opponent, doesn’t mean it isn’t a sport. Get real people. I’ll take ice skating over badmitton or fencing, as a sport, any day.

He didn’t say there was “no demand,” he just said that he personally doesn’t care about them and doesn’t watch them. What’s wrong with that?

I didn’t see Gumble defending those things either and I would argue that synchronized swimming isn’rt even close to a sport. Gymnastics and diving sort of are but did he say that NO judged event can be called a sport? I don’t think so. It was pretty obvious he was talking about figure skating, which is no more a sport than ballet or tap dancing.

He felt his opinion was worth sharing, and the the reasons he gave to rationalize it are bullshit.

My point is that Gumbel’s view is widely held among Americans of all races, so why single him out for speaking up about it? I am willing to bet that the Winter Games aren’t much of an attraction for South and Central Americans, Africans, and those in the Middle East and SE Asia. Gumbel’s view is probably the same as the majority of Americans.


I agreed with almost all of it.

The majority of Americans, the ones who drink Budweiser, eat Twinkies, and watch American Idol are free to agree with him. I’m free to call him an idiot.

You’ve got that right.

This is where Gumbel’s arrogance shows. The link between the modern Olympics and the ancient Games is not which events are included - it’s the spirit of a competition between people from different nations (or, in the ancient version, city-states) - people who might normally be at war with one another but who agree to (for the most part) put aside politics and concentrate on the competition itself.

And to bitch because there are not very many Blacks at the upper-echelon of sports which originated in Nordic and Alpine countries - well, that’s about as reasonable a comment as to moan that it’s not fair that Kenyans & Nigerians do better at running events. Give me a break.

So he doesn’t respect figure skating - big deal. The competitors train physically just as hard as any other athlete - and have the injuries to prove it. And if “the majority of Americans” agree, why are the figure skating events the ones that get the highest viewing numbers? Obviously, someone wants to see them.