Where Has All the Schamltz Gone? A Slow Night for Sap Fiends on NBC.

Scenes from the Olympics.
Aug. 10 2012 11:12 AM

The London Olympics Sap-o-Meter

Where has all the schamltz gone? A slow night for sap fiends on NBC.


The sap geyser that is NBC’s Olympics coverage normally erupts between 8 p.m. and midnight, as reliable as Old Faithful. But on Thursday it ran dry. Where were the journeys, the inspirations, the daughters and sons? Thursday’s plotlines did not lack for sap potential: Americans Katie Bell and Brittany Viola tried valiantly to dethrone Chinese platform diver Chen Ruolin, Usain Bolt won everything, and Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee delivered the United States its fifth one-two finish in decathlon history. Yet none of this was enough to generate more than 38 Sap Points, the lowest score since the opening ceremony.

On Thursday, most of NBC’s sugary sweetness came from beyond America’s borders. There was a trickle of fathers in connection to Kenyan 800-meter champ David Rushida, whose dad earned Olympic silver in 1968. And diving bronze medalist Pandelela Rinong of Malaysia contributed three of the night’s seven prouds in as many seconds when she gushed, “I think they [Malaysians] will be very, very, very, very proud of me. … As a flag bearer, I feel it's a responsibility for me to make Malaysia proud, and now I made it, so I just want to say that I'm really proud to be a Malaysian.”

Bob Costas’ interview with four members of the victorious U.S. women’s soccer team did, however, cap off the evening with a nice sap infusion. Abby Wambach began: “I'm so proud of this team.” Alex Morgan continued: “I mean, words honestly can't express how excited I was at that moment. I've never wanted to cry on the field, but I honestly think I shed a tear or two on the field, and I was so excited.” Hope Solo piled on: “We played with style and sophistication ... and we played with beauty. I think we're proud of that.”


Solo then sealed the deal by uttering the Sappiest Line of the Day. “This is the first team in my long career that I’ve ever played with that I've truly felt like it was a team,” she said. “From player No. 1 through 22 players, alternates included, it was truly a team effort, winning this gold medal, and I've never felt that with all of my heart until tonight.”

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

Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer. 



The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
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.