The Olympics Sap-o-Meter: Lindsey Vonn cries, NBC rejoices.

Scenes from the Olympics.
Feb. 18 2010 11:22 AM

The Olympics Sap-o-Meter

Lindsey Vonn cries, NBC rejoices.

In its quest to find sap in Wednesday's utterly unsappy events, NBC proved that athletes aren't the only ones who can overcome adversity. On this sixth evening of Olympics coverage, the peacock fought through horrific ski spills, interviews with barely coherent snowboarders, and even an uncensored expletive. Oh, and Lindsey Vonn won a gold model. And cried. A lot. Now that's the stuff broadcast television dreams are made of.

Advertisement

NBC established the tearjerking tone of its Vonn coverage with the first question of Todd Brooker's post-race interview: "How long have you been dreaming of this moment?" While Vonn's words didn't light up the Sap-o-Meter—her responses ranged from "It's awesome!" (twice) to "It's so awesome!"—her leaking eyes sent the subjective sap count soaring. "An emotional Lindsey Vonn," Bob Costas explained to those viewers unable to interpret the meaning of tears. "Obviously those emotions a combination of joy, pride, relief, thanks, appreciation all rolled into one." Thanks to Vonn's golden sobs, NBC's final tally on the night reached a respectable 38 Sap Points.

Emotion remained a presence in Tuesday's broadcast even after Vonn left the slopes, notably when Shaun White's coach advised the gold medalist to "make sure you stomp the shit out of" his last halfpipe run. In a sappy save, Costas apologized and smoothly assessed the conversation as "obviously a lot of emotions there from Shaun White and company." Dedication and determination, too, bound together American gold-medal winners White ("deliberate in his dedication, he persevered and what a payoff"), Vonn ("a look of determination on her face"), and Shani Davis (who, after his victory, thought of "all of the hard work and determination and dedication" that preceded his race).

Our Sappiest Line of the Day presages sappier moments to come on Thursday, when figure skating returns to the airwaves. The men's competition "will come down to the free skate with Olympic glory on the line," Tom Hammond explained. (Emphasis on sap word is ours.)

Previous Sap-o-Meter entries:

Become a fan of Slate on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Josh Levin is Slate's executive editor.

Jenny Rogers is a Slate intern.

Chris Wilson is a Slate contributor.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 8:38 AM An Implanted Wearable Gadget Isn’t as Crazy as You’d Think Products like New Deal Design’s UnderSkin may be the future.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.