Like many of you, I’m Olympics-addicted. Maybe it’s a sense of nostalgia, or the fact that my kids are finally old enough to “get it” and cheer along beside me, but it makes me proud, in a way, to see our country’s best athletes compete in their highest contest.
Now, if you’ve been following the news, you’d see some what of a backlash against NBC and their coverage, and yes, the spoilers and previously recorded event recaps are pretty bad, even maddening at times. But, two nights ago, while spread out on my bed with my three kids and a big bowl of popcorn excitedly watching the women’s gymnastics semi-finals, something happened that I haven’t quite been able to shake.
First Olympic-favorite and current World Champion, Jordyn Wieber, didn’t make it to the finals. Gabby Douglas and Aly Raismen performed beautifully, and in my non-Olympic judge opinion, very much deserved their spots, but there is no easy way to miss out on your dream, and Wieber was visibly upset.
While I didn’t expect any sense of privacy to the matter, what happened next has stuck with me. As the team filed out of the arena, Wieber, who was crying, tried to leave and compose herself, but was refused and made to follow her team to the press pool.
Wieber stood behind the others, trying to get her emotions in check before being shoved in front of the camera, and instead of allowing her that moment, the interview with Ali Raismen was framed to include Wieber behind her, sobbing.
It was heartbreaking. Commentators later referred to Wieber as a “diva.”
The competition continued, NBC commentators giving back story about the other gymnastic powerhouses such as China, Romania and Russia. While the coverage of others countries this year has been somewhat rushed and limited, there was ample attention paid to the fact that Russian gymnasts were “divas” often crying during practice. In fact, one of the commentators even remarked she saw the girl crying during warm-ups earlier that day.
Really? This is how we want to label and describe these women (some of them still girls)? These hardworking athletes who commit so much of their lives to sport and country; divas, really NBC?
What about the men? Why was John Orozco not labeled a “crying diva” after he sat distraught after a botched vault?
This is not the social reaction I want my daughter to associate with showing emotion about something she is passionate about. I’ll take my Olympics without reality-show twists, double standards and disparaging remarks, thankyouverymuch.
And as for you, NBC, only one word comes to mind, and that’s ashamed.
image courtesy Wzzm.com