Saturday, August 16, 2008


Stunning! Fantastic! Electric!
Those are some of the adjectives we came up with to describe the record-breaking win in the men's 100M by Jamaican Usain Bolt.
That's three more adjectives than TV6's Joel Villafana could muster right after the race. Joel you had all morning to think of a sentence to use right after the race, since you knew your director would cut back to you instead of the CMC commentators. Then you said "Thompson was his closest ally." Did you mean his closest challenger? His closest competitor?

But most of all Joel, your commentary after the race lacked statistics.
When was the last time Caribbean athletes came in first and second in the men's 100M at the Olympics?
James Gilkes of the Stabroek News wrote a rousing piece ahead of the 100M final, replete with statistics of the Caribbean's glory days in Olympic track history, and he equates today's Olympics as such: "...could signal a Caribbean medal rush harking back to the glorious, golden summer of 1976 in Montreal, when Hasely Crawford of Trinidad and Tobago won the 100m and Don Quarrie of Jamaica won the 200. For good measure, the legendary Jamaican also won silver in the 100."
You did not mention that it's the same two countries winning one and two this time, but with the positions reversed.
And was Richard Thompson's silver medal time in the final a new personal record? A new national record? You did not tell us.
Ato Boldon (who is doing commentary for NBC, and holds four Olympic medals) was quoted by the Houston Chronicle's John Crumpacker after the race, then the writer gave this bit of information as well: "All told, six men bettered 10 seconds. Only Marc Burns of Trinidad (10.01) and Darvis Patton of the U.S. (10.03) failed to do their part in the greatest 10 seconds in sports."

Even Dan Baynes of threw in some history of the sprint event, naming Hasely Crawford as the only other Caribbean athlete to win the event in Olympics history.

And did your producer have anyone monitor the CMC feed to see if they actually caught up with Hasely Crawford who is in Beijing with the national team?

CMC's website does give us the race, but there are no interviews or even comments from Bolt, Thompson, Powell, Burns or Frater. There's a story on the website on the reaction of Jamaicans to the win, but you have to pay to read that story and others like it.

The Associated Press had a comment from Asafa Powell after the game, saying "Usain was spectacular".

The BBC Sport website has the race (we can't access the video from the Caribbean), they also have an interview with Usain after the race, and they have former Olympic 100M champion Michael Johnson's reaction to the race in real time.

The UK Guardian (then the China Daily) also has the results of the final, albeit while taking a jab at whether Bolt is doping, in a story titled 'If the fastest man in the world is a cheat': "There was heady talk of people needing to go as low as 9.6sec in order to win it, which was tantalizing, except twenty years ago Ben Johnson had gone as low as 9.7 and run quicker than anyone has managed in an Olympics since, and look what happened to him. The shadow of Lewis, Christie and Johnson lay over Bolt, Powell and Gay."

And Sky News has the story as well, replete with comments from Bolt and Powell.

And this is how the Wales Online describes the young champion: "But, with the caveat that Bolt does not betray our trust in the months and years ahead, then this truly was the greatest race in athletics history. And Bolt is by some distance the most compelling athlete of his generation."

In terms of commentary, CMC probably is the lesser of the two evils.