The London Olympics Sap-o-Meter
Dreams crushed and dreams achieved as NBC’s sapologists zoom in on Lolo Jones and Aly Raisman
Don’t call it a comeback: Lolo Jones may not have gotten the gold that she lost after tripping over a hurdle in Beijing, but her narrative of Olympic redemption propelled her to the front of primetime’s sap assembly line on Tuesday night. In a different arena, gymnast Aly Raisman hoped to achieve her own dream of earning an individual medal, a goal that had barely eluded her in the women’s all-around. Coasting on the wind of these Olympic dreams, Tuesday’s Sap-o-Meter soared to a respectably sweet 47 Sap Points.
Dreams were undeniably the star Tuesday, with nine mentions raining down from every venue. When Raisman finally grabbed individual gold in the floor exercise, she wasn’t afraid to profess that her dreams had come true. “I've always dreamt of being an Olympic champion,” she said, adding that for her and her coach, “That was our dream, to be an Olympic champion.” Nipping close at dream’s heels was inspiration, with five total mentions. Using a little sap to do a bit of good, Tom Hammond noted runner Kellie Wells’ story of escape from sexual abuse, explaining to viewers that “after holding it inside for so long, last year she revealed those tragic details because she wanted to be an inspiration to other women who might find themselves in a similar situation.”
In the end, however, Jones’ dream of redemptive gold was too sweet to be beat. Following the heartbreak of the 2008 Olympics, she delivered the night’s Sappiest Line of the Day: “I feel like I'm representing everybody who has a dream, a hope at anything. They look at these Olympic athletes as inspiration, and I feel it's a huge honor to be that inspiration.”
Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the London Olympics.
Natasha Geiling is a Slate intern.