The Olympics Sap-o-Meter.

Scenes from the Olympics.
Aug. 22 2008 11:00 AM

The Olympics Sap-o-Meter

After a week of Olympic-sized schmaltz, the Sap-o-Meter battles adversity.

The Sap-o-Meter team chatted online with readers about this project; read the transcript. The Olympics Sap-o-Meter is now a widget. Add it to your Facebook page or blog. Check out Slate's complete coverage of the Beijing Games.

On a day when America's relay teams both dropped the baton, the Sap-o-Meter had a drop of its own. After a week of sap scores in the mid-50s, NBC's commentators dialed down the schmaltz Thursday evening. The minuscule total: 35 Sap Points.

The night's most-sentimental figure was Cuba's Dayron Robles, whose gold in the 110-meter hurdles gave NBC its second deceased-parent narrative in as many nights. But just as one-time sprinting stud Tyson Gay bobbled the baton for the Americans, both stars from the sap list, mom and dream, had nights to forget. The maudlin pair scored two mentions each—their lowest combined score in Sap-o-Meter history. Fittingly, on a night with disappointments in track and field and a hard-fought gold in men's beach volleyball, battled (six mentions) and challenges (four mentions) combined to keep the sap from dipping to record lows.

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Sappiest Line of the Day: NBC's Tom Hammond: "This race no doubt dedicated to his late dad." Bob Costas: "And if that's the case, doing his father and his country proud."—On Cuban Dayron Robles' victory in the 110-meter hurdles.

The Sap-o-Meter Tag Cloud
adversitybattledcancerchallengescouragecrydeathdedicationdeterminationdreamemotionglorygoldenhardshipheartheroinspirationinspirejourneymagicmemorymiraclemommotherOlympic-sizedovercomepassionproudsacrificespirittearstragedytriumph

For a primer on how the Sap-o-Meter works, check out our first entry. Did we miss your favorite moment? Send your Sappiest Line of the Day suggestions to sapometer@gmail.com.

Sap-o-Meter History

(click on any bar to read that day's entry)

Josh Levin is Slate's executive editor.

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at the Atlantic, where he oversees business coverage for TheAtlantic.com.

Chris Wilson is a Slate contributor.

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