Saturday, September 13, 2008

They Said What?!!!

Today’s List is Dedicated to the inane, mean, outrageous and sometimes plain stupid things commentators have said during Gymnastics Broadcasts.

That wasn’t supposed to happen”

Said by all members of the NBC commentating horror trio at one point or another in the last five years.
Uh, I’m pretty sure even the most amateur of viewers can tell that the gymnast is not actually supposed to land on her head under the beam. A Great big duh right back at ya, Tim, Elffie and Al.

“High Bar 101. Grab the bar.”

Tim Daggett. Someone complained in a sports forum on the net that this was mean. I thought it was kind of funny. And I never think Tim is funny.

Elfie: You know, Al, I have to say, I was a tad bit disappointed when I saw this girl mount the podium. I never expected the Russians to put an athlete with so little talent on their team.
(Shocked silence)
Al: (obviously stunned by comment) Wow.

Elfie Schlegel at the 2003 team worlds. Elfie, how ever, was vindicated because not two seconds later, Alexandra Chevtchenko managed to completely flub her first tumbling pass, nearly flipping onto her head and landing out of bounds. She then proceeded to mess up the entire routine. It was pretty bad.

“A great start for the…..uh, the Romanian team.”
Tasha Schwikert as a little gymnast in a glaring red, blue, yellow and white leotard leaves the podium

“One minute they look like a world power, the next they look completely vulnerable”

Al Trautwig on some minor Chinese wobble in Beijing team event.
Al. Can you spell Hyperbole?

“You can’t say she oozes personality”

Christine Still on Chellsie Memmel. Uh, that’s not her job exactly, Christine. Let me explain. Her job is to focus, do really,really great tricks, and win medals. I believe that is what she did. Having to ooze personality is something required more in your line of work, Christine. Maybe go away and think about that.
(Thank Mally on IG Forum. I couldn’t remember exactly what Still said that day, but you’d noticed the same thing.)

“Histrionics are against him today.”

Hey John Tesh! Want to borrow my dictionary? I’ve already lent my thesaurus to Tim Daggett so he can find some new adjectives, but you can have my dictionary. In fact, I will give it to you..

“Oh, where is her brain?”

Christine Still when poor old Kramerenko choked on her vault, then touched the horse, getting a zero score. You know, I love the British for their no-nonsense commentating, their honesty about their bias and their quite fair judgement, but even I, the Queen of Blunt, thinks that was a little harsh.

“Her legs are kept together. She’s giving nothing away.”

BBC Commentator. I found this on a funny sports quote site. I wouldn’t even have blinked if I heard a commentator say that. But then I am not a dirty old man!! However Benny Hill dirty old man silly and double entendre-esque this is to us big fans, I included it because it made me realise what an understanding of the sport is required to appreciate the commentary. A lot of lay gymnastics fans were complaining during the Olympics about the commentary, and I am sure that a lot of the comments and the now-bizarre scoring system left the whole experience inaccessible to a lot potential fans.

"It’s like having a tear in your wedding dress right before you walk down the aisle.

Al Trautwig on Nastia Liukins ankle injury right before a comp. (Pretty sure it was at American Cup.)
I cannot even begin to comment on the outright chauvinist, inane, belittling nature of this piece of commentating! Of course that is all Nastia has on her mind to compare to her athletic career, Al, her potential wedding day!

“She’s a chunky little thing.” (Or something like that. Can’t find it.)

Monica Phelps or was it Christine Still. They could both be harsh. Also, according to a poster on IG forum, one of them called Shushanova chunky, so Shawn is in some pretty damn fine gymnastics company. Another claimed one of them commented on seeing the first “overweight gymnast from China” too! AND said another gymnast could afford to eat less lollies! Wow. they’d be sued in other countries!

“They can be sore losers sometimes.”

This was Australian gymnastics commentating mainstay Liz Chetkovich talking about the Americans after the Nastia/He uneven bars controversy about the Australian judge. What particularly annoyed me about this (though it was on a particularly dubious current affairs show who may have framed the snippet of dialogue however they liked) is that I am pretty certain Liz was referring to the American media portrayal of the saga. But the way it was presented, though, made it look like she was talking about the team. Now, there are a lot of bigmouths surrounding the American women’s gymnastics team, but I have never seen the girls behaving like bad sports in competition ever.


  1. I absolutely love your blog, it brings an element of entertainment to us gym fans that many of the other blogs don't. Keep writing!

  2. Lest we forget, Tim Dagget's famous "she's like a kid on a playground, it just looks FUN, like whhhhheeeeeeeeee...." referring to any number of gymnasts on uneven bars.

    Al Trautwig: "You don't get abs like that from the ab roller." Can't remember hot that referred to.

  3. "She just busts out a punch front...." --Tasha Schwikert, 2005 Wrolds

    "Kerri Srug's confidence has grown logrithmically." DUH, it's EXPONENTIALLY! Logrithmically means barely at all over a long period of time. --Tim Dagget, 1996 Olympics

  4. oh that's right! "Logarithmically" I remember flinching at that one too!! What a git he can be sometimes!

  5. My all-time most memorable insane things Al has said are his "Asian theater" comment about Ivana Hong wherein he implied that because she's Vietnamese she would get better scores in Beijing. AND his weird pervy stream of consciousness weirdness about Nastia stretching during floor finals.

    But the thing that made my mouth drop the most at the Olympics was when after Semenova's floor Tim and Elfi said "It's about time Russia did something in gymnastics."

    It was just so ridiculous and absurd. No the Russian federation isn't what it used to be. And they did have a very disappointing Beijing. But to say without qualifying that Russia has never done anything in gymnastics...when Russian gymnastics are what define the basic foundations of the sport is just...wtffff.

  6. The British commentator at the '99 Worlds was quite harsh too (can't remember who she was sorry, poss Monica) - particularly about the teeny tiny Chinese competitor. She called her chunky, and mentioned teeth counting with regard to age checking. But the no bias, very technical, commentating was refreshing when all I'd ever heard previously was the NBC trio.
    To be fair though, gotta love the fluff pieces - we are gymnastics starved here in NZ!

  7. It was probably Christine Still that make the chunky comment (if it was about Shawn) because I'm pretty certain Monica Phelps isn't commentating anymore.

    It it was about Shushanova then I think it was probably Phelps!

  8. I wish more commentators would speak their minds, dammit! This world has become to fluffy and plastic. I love the British commentary, they are "spot-on" hehehe ...

  9. And my all time favorite elfie quote... "She's working this balance beam like she's on the floor."

    She says it as though its something new even though she says it almost every time! Kills me :o)

  10. I have to go with Al:
    "I'm ready for my close-up Mr.De-Mill" after every single FX routine by Svetlana Khorkina at the 2003 Worlds.

    PS: That playground quote by Tim cracks me up every time, also because he repeats it every time!

  11. Hey, Christine Still didn't say "where is her brain" about Kramarenko, that was a Eurosport commentator (a guy).

    And Monica Phelps calls people chunky, Christine doesn't remark on weight, and no one called Shawn chunky to whoever asked that.

    Otherwise, great list, Monica cracks me up.

    "Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it."

    I think I'm gonna go upload the Eurosport coverage of the 1999 World AA

    I remember when she called said LilyPod was "a bit more beefy" at 1994 worlds than in 1993

  12. Al Trautwig: "You don't get abs like that from the ab roller." Can't remember hot that referred to.

    I believe Al was referring to Tasha Schwikert. This was during her floor routine - I believe at nationals. Al is such a fool.

  13. Oh...and isn't Al the one who continually says that he enjoys the "ethnic" floor music that matches the gymnast's country? That's one of my favorite repeating Al-isms.

  14. The British commentator at the 2007 Worlds called Shawn stocky, not chunky. Still, not what you'd expect from sports commentators.

    Otherwise, I'm also a big fan of the British commentary. I love it when they call routines "efficient".

    I think it was Elfi who made the comment about "ethnic" music - at the 1998 American Cup or something ... I just remember that she was referring to Anna Kovalyova on FX (is that the comment you were thinking of?). Ironically, in another broadcast at around the same time she was talking about how refreshing it was that the Chinese were no longer using only Chinese music. Soo ... it's charming when it's European music, but not when it's Chinese ... ethnocentric much?

  15. Oh the commentators. Lol. I just wanted to let you know that Al was reffering to Sam Peszek at the Olympics when she hurt her ankle right before the qualifications. The "Its like having a tear in your wedding dress right before you walk down the aisle." Which is still, very pathetic. Unless he said it both times...

    Oy i dont remember which commentator it was but it was a British man during the AA finals. Shawn had just stuck her UB dismount and Nastia congratulated her and the commentator was like. "Congratulations. Through gritted teeth!". Um yeah it could be that she was just focused?

  16. Let's not forget about the fluff piece on Carly Patterson pre-balance beam at the Olympics:

    speaking of her issues with beam at Nationals:

    "Now it may be ancient history, but there's a lot of that here in Athens."

    and, "Ms. Patterson is like a car that's been dented. You can fix that dent in the shop, but you'll always remember that you had it."

  17. Oh the nostalgia! I still remember when Liz Chetkovich first started commentating (I was about 12 or so I think). I used to giggle every time I heard her say the gymnast had "stuck it" when they had clearly taken a very noticeable, two-foot hop! I'm glad she's learned a little more over the years... ;)

    "Now, there are a lot of bigmouths surrounding the American women’s gymnastics team, but I have never seen the girls behaving like bad sports in competition ever."

    Have another look at the 2004 Olympics AA. "Being focussed" doesn't excuse how arrogantly the girls treated gymnasts of other countries during THAT Olympics. The crowd caught on - notice the lack of enthusiasm for the winner Carly?

  18. "I have never seen the girls behaving like bad sports in competition ever."
    Have you not seen the faces Nastia Liukin pulls whenever she gets beaten.
    For example after Beth Tweddle beat her on bars at worlds 2007.
    Nastia, and I'm beginning to think Rebecca Bross as well, don't take being beaten well. They never look pleased when they get anything other than a gold. It's fine to want to do your best, but if you medalled with a good routine then smile about it.