Sap-o-Meter Olympics 2012: Journeys on the track and dads on the beach on an overwhelmingly sweet night for NBC
Allyson Felix’s Journey, Misty and Kerri’s Dream, and More Sap from NBC
Scenes from the Olympics.
Aug. 9 2012 2:56 PM

The London Olympics Sap-o-Meter

Journeys on the track and dads on the beach on an overwhelmingly sweet night for NBC.


The bikini-clad golden girls are golden once more. On Wednesday, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings won their third consecutive Olympic gold medal in beach volleyball and produced a sugar rush of sappy commentary in the process. Though NBC’s prime-time broadcast was only three hours long, the Americans’ triumph on the beach and three gold medals in track and field boosted the Sap-o-Meter to a sweet 65 Sap Points.

Making the most of their three hours, NBC emphasized journeys in nearly every event. While icons May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings ended their “journey together as the greatest team of all time,” first-place finishes for Allyson Felix (in the 200 meters) and Brittney Reese (in the long jump) were the fulfillment of four-year journeys after Beijing disappointment. Felix, who hopes to become an elementary school teacher, offered an especially sugary nugget when asked what she’d tell her future students. “It's been a journey. It's never easy,” she said. “There's just tons of hardships along the way, but you can't give up, lose sight of your dream.”

Early in Wednesday’s telecast, paternal narratives stood front and center. NBC gave extra attention to ex-baseball star Frank Viola, the father of diver Brittany Viola, with a combined seven dads and fathers being devoted to him alone. And on the sand, announcers also focused on the athletic blood of May-Treanor, who learned her sport by playing with her father, a 1968 volleyball Olympian.


The Sappiest Line of the Day came courtesy of that puckeringly sweet beach volleyball coverage. After NBC’s Heather Cox asked how she and May-Treanor made a “dream into a reality,” Walsh Jennings gushed:

"Oh my gosh, Heather. So much hard work and love and dedication and faith and belief and support. I mean, we have an army behind us, and there’s so much love at home. Thank you everyone at home. Misty and I, I said, we have something really special. And the world knows it, we know it, we embrace it. … I am so honored to have played the past 12 years with Misty. I am just so proud."

Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the London Olympics.

Krystal Bonner is a Slate intern.

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