Timothy Burke for Deadspin:
Despite NBC’s odd penchant for showing crying gymnasts, the rather amazing image you see above (taken by AP staffer Matt Dunham) didn’t make it to air last night. It’s the Russian team reacting to the shock of world champion Ksenia Afanasyeva inexplicably falling onto her face on the closing tumble of her floor exercise. That fall—and the resulting 14.333 score—didn’t only shock her Russian teammates, but gymnastics fans around the world. If the routine had been scored slightly lower, it could have even cost the Russians silver.
It most certainly cost them gold, though as our Dvora Meyers pointed out yesterday the U.S. had pretty much secured it already. That’s because the Russians performed their final rotation on the floor before the Americans, meaning the U.S. floor exercise routines were simply procedure.
I watched the team finals live yesterday while working, so I knew this, but at this point is anyone surprised? NBC needs to provide as much of a pretense of drama as possible to keep people from changing the channel.
The further from live the footage is, the more time they have to cut around these things and change the way you think of what’s going on. They barely showed anything that wasn’t an American athlete already anyway. This is only going to be worse in Sochi.
The only indication that everything was easy was a slip by Al Trautwig that Aly Raisman only needed to score a 10 and a third to win the gold medal. A trained monkey could score a 10 based on the judging last night. A 13 if it was wearing a Russian leotard.
Best image of the Olympics so far, by the way:
Like apparently everyone else on the planet, I have some thoughts about the coverage of the Olympics and the Olympics in general. I will probably write about them at some point.
But for now:
If these Games belong to everyone and these programs are supported by our money, why aren’t the broadcasts open to everyone? The OBS should be offering all this stuff to everyone directly instead of forcing us to accept ludicrous broadcasting agreements.
Lily Burana for the New York Times:
What brings the tears to my eyes is not just the bereaved young woman, but the Marine who stands behind her. In an earlier photo in the series, we see him building her a little nest of blankets on the air mattress. Sweet Lord, I cry just typing the words, the matter-of-fact tenderness is so overwhelming. So soldierly. But in this photo — the one that lives on and on online — he merely stands next to the coffin, watching over her. It is impossible to be unmoved by the juxtaposition of the eternal stone-faced warrior and the disheveled modern military wife-turned-widow, him rigid in his dress uniform, her on the floor in her blanket nest, wearing glasses and a baggy T-shirt, him nearly concealed by shadow while the pale blue light from the computer screen illuminates her like God’s own grace.
I believe this photo has had such a long viral life not just because it is so honest but also because it is so modern.
For a lot of people, Memorial Day has become something that’s more about a day off work, cooking out, and sales at your favorite stores. It’s yet another thing that we’ve seen fit to over-commercialize until lots of people don’t even know what it really means.
Read the whole thing. Sadly, the Rocky Mountain News is no more, and I wasn’t able to find the original piece on the shell of a website they have left.
UPDATE: My buddy Ken found some related photos in a slideshow at the Times here.
On Friday, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley denounced the conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention as “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid,” forcing President Obama to address those comments in a Press Conference and defend the treatment of Manning. Today, CNN reports, Crowley has “abruptly resigned” under “pressure from White House officials because of controversial comments he made last week about the Bradley Manning case.” In other words, he was forced to “resign” — i.e., fired.
Boy, we sure did get that change we were looking for in government, didn’t we?
NASA joins the Commons on Flickr today with three iconic sets spanning the US space agency’s 50+ year history. Their Commons account will feature photos from across the agency’s many locations and centers, chronicling the history of space and lunar missions, and the people and places of the organization.
Gaze upon what used to be at the forefront of American ingenuity and industriousness.
(via Flickr Blog.)