The Olympics Sap-o-Meter.

Scenes from the Olympics.
Aug. 21 2008 10:27 AM

The Olympics Sap-o-Meter

Usain Bolt might be the world's fastest man, but mom runs away with the night yet again.

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.

Usain Bolt may have set the world record in the 200-meter dash last night, but another story line outpaced his performance in the final Sap-o-Meter tally: the dead-mom narrative. As American volleyball star Misty May-Treanor sprinkled her mother's ashes over the sands of China after winning the gold, NBC littered its coverage with enough treacle to overwhelm even the most hardcore Sap-junkies. The final tally: a blistering 53 Sap Points.

NBC's saccharine coverage can feel more like a marathon than a sprint, but Wednesday night had its own runaway winner—mom, with another 16 mentions. Like Bolt's dominating performance in the 200 meters, mom benefited from both its own strong performance and underperforming competitors. Dream, which as of yesterday had been neck-and-neck with mom for gold medal in sentimentality, lagged with a paltry four mentions. Picking up the slack, golden earned a record-high seven mentions, receiving a major boost when America's "golden girls" May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh topped the podium for the second consecutive Olympics.

Sappiest Line of the Day: "Misty, moments ago we saw you and your dad embrace and that you scattered your mom's ashes on the sand. Describe your emotions as you did that."—NBC's Heather Cox, asking Misty May-Treanor for insight on the peculiar way she's celebrated her Olympic titles

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.

TODAY IN SLATE

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The One National Holiday Republicans Hope You Forget

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.

Doublex

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

The Only Good Thing That Happened at Today’s Soul-Crushing U.N. Climate Talks

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 23 2014 6:06 PM Nothing to See Here The one national holiday Republicans want you to forget.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM Why Is Autumn the Only Season With Two Names?
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.