The Olympics Sap-o-Meter.

Scenes from the Olympics.
Aug. 14 2008 4:18 PM

The Olympics Sap-o-Meter

On a night of dreams, NBC saves its syrup for Michael Phelps.

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.

The question facing NBC last night: What should a network do when there's no possibility of a Michael Phelps medal ceremony? The answer: Ration your syrup! The peacock's usually exuberant commentators, perhaps drained by Wednesday's record-setting performance, restrained their romanticizing last night. The resulting schmaltz score:an all-time low 27 Sap Points.

Like the Olympic gymnasts in the men's all-around competition, the Sap-o-Meter produced strong but not soaring scores. Mom and mother mentions, which often anchor the team of sap words, had week-low numbers. (With Debbie Phelps mostly out of sight, they were essentially playing a woman down.) Rescuing the night with a Lezak-esque performance, however, dreams tallied a record nine mentions.

Advertisement

Sappiest Line of the Day: "It is unbelievable for Jonathan [Horton]. He's living a dream here."—NBC's Elfi Schlegel, setting the scene at the men's gymnastics all-around competition. (Emphasis on sap words is ours.)

The Sap-o-Meter Tag Cloud
adversitybattledcancerchallengescouragecrydeathdeterminationdreamemotionglorygoldenheartheroinspirationjourneymagicmemorymiraclemommotherovercomepassionproudsacrificespirittragedytriumph

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

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  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.