Walcoff: Suffering from a Beijing burnout

Those aren’t ordinary dark circles under my eyes, they’re Olympic rings. I’m hooked on watching the games until late into the night then waking up at 3:30 a.m. to give listeners of the KGO radio morning news all the results of events they won’t get to see until later in the day.

Of course, some of the action is broadcast live in the early-morning hours, so it’s not all drama-delayed, drama-denied television, but it’s close.

And with more than 10,000 athletes competing in 302 events in only 17 days, I’m approaching Beijing burnout. Sure, there have been riveting moments, but did we really have to see the women’s marathon coverage drone on and on?

How about all those preliminary heats in the track and field competition … boring. Wake me when Usain Bolt breaks a sweat. The Jamaican sprinter toyed with his rivals in winning the 100 and 200 meters, yet all we got to see of the world’s fastest man is his Muhammad Ali swagger.

How about one less story on Michael Phelps and one good feature on the equally amazing “Lightning” Bolt. By the way, do you think if Phelps swam for China, officials would request a fill-in for his public appearances? You know, someone with straighter teeth and a less goofy smile.

Actually, unlike the public relations obsessed host nation, Phelps seems incredibly grounded considering his sky-high fame.

But with all of NBC’s understandable gushing over Phelps, and the constant close-ups of his adoring mom and sisters sitting poolside, do you think the announcers could have once at least addressed the question of where’s papa? Fred Phelps is a Maryland state trooper who often took him to swim practice when he was very young, but has not been actively involved in his son’s life following a divorce when Michael was 7 years old. The senior Phelps declined all interview requests, saying this is Michael’s time and like everyone else, he was rooting for him. I guess it didn’t fit NBC’s feel-good Olympic format.

Finally, a real test for the U.S. men’s basketball team. In Friday’s semifinals, the aptly nicknamed “Redeem Team” takes on defending Olympic champion Argentina, the team that beat the U.S. in the 2004 games and is led by NBA veterans Manu Ginobili, Fabricio Oberto and Andres Nocioni. No way the Americans win this anywhere near as easily as their first six games in Beijing, where their average margin of victory was 32 points.

See them while you can. As the U.S. marches on in the last year of Olympic baseball and softball, I wonder, did the IOC simply bend to anti-American sentiment or did it just need more time for riveting events such as pistol shooting, handball and whitewater canoeing?

Rich Walcoff is the sports director at KGO Radio (810 AM) and can be heard weekdays between 5-9 a.m. on the “KGO Morning News.” He can also be reached at richwalcoff@abc-sf.com.

OlympicsOther Sportssports

Just Posted

A felled tree in Sydney G. Walton Square blocks part of a lane on Front Street following Sunday’s storm on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
After the rain: What San Francisco learned from a monster storm

Widespread damage underscored The City’s susceptibility to heavy wind and rain

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Rainiest October day in San Francisco history

Rainfall exceeded 10 inches in parts of the Bay Area

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
Whistleblowing hasn’t worked at the SF Dept. of Building Inspection

DBI inspectors say their boss kept them off connected builders’ projects

Most Read