The Olympics Sap-o-Meter.

The Olympics Sap-o-Meter.

The Olympics Sap-o-Meter.

Sports has moved! You can find new stories here.
Scenes from the Olympics.
Aug. 15 2008 11:01 AM

The Olympics Sap-o-Meter

A new rivalry in the sport of schmaltz: dream vs. mom.

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.

Americans Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson brought out the best in each other on their way to winning the gold and silver in the women's gymnastics all-around. They also brought out the best in NBC, which made an inspirational push late in the broadcast to tie the Sap-o-Meter record: 42 Sap Points.

Regular Sap-o-Meter followers will note that a classic rivalry is building on the sap list: dream vs. mom. Like the Liukin and Johnson of treacle, these weepy wonders went toe-to-toe again last night before Liukin's gold-winning floor exercise unleashed a torrent of dreams from the NBC announce team. Mom might have staged a last-minute comeback, but Liukin's mother, too nervous to watch her daughter perform, was waiting elsewhere for a triumphant phone call as dad hogged all the screen time. Last night's final tally: 10 for dream, 8 for mom. The total count for the first week: 44 dreams, 33 moms.


Sappiest Line of the Day: "[Nastia's father] Valeri Liukin winning a gold medal for the Soviet Union, bringing a new dream to the United States when she was just a baby, literally."—NBC's Al Trautwig, putting Nastia Liukin's victory in the women's gymnastics all-around in proper context.

The Sap-o-Meter Tag Cloud

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

Sap-o-Meter History (click on any bar to read that day's entry)

Josh Levin is Slate’s editorial director.

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

Chris Wilson is a Slate contributor.