Gumbel No Fan of Winter Games

Ashley's picture
Submitted by Ashley on Sat, 2006-02-18 21:01

Have you guys seen this? I just had a discussion a few days ago about whether events like board-x and halfpipe events were "really sports" (yes, they are). But I have never seen anyone so angry about the Olympics!

"Finally, tonight, the Winter Games. Count me among those who don’t like them and won’t watch them ... Because they’re so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try too. Like, try not to be incredulous when someone attempts to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing. So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention. Try not to point out that something’s not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what’s called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won ... So if only to hasten the arrival of the day they’re done, when we can move on to March Madness — for God’s sake, let the games begin."

(Bryant Gumbel on his HBO show)

( categories: )

Artistic evaluation vs. physical observation

sjw's picture

Robert, I disagree. There is a huge difference between judging a skater and refereeing, especially on the artistic points. For games, the rules are defined by simple, concrete physical relationships. A computer system could in principle implement them (indeed one could argue that they ought to start making more use of modern technology and less use of referee calls). For art they are defined by broad abstractions. No computer will ever be able to do it. There's a difference in kind here.

Great post Robert. I'm in

Landon Erp's picture

Great post Robert. I'm in total agreement with all of it.


It all basically comes back to fight or flight.


Robert's picture

The only time government should spent money on a sporting event is when Police and the military are required to attend to keep the peace.

"Any "sports" that are based on judges marks..."

That's a very fine line you've drawn.

Think of how an umpire's/referee's subjective decisions about events in a game can effect the outcome:

In a boxing match where both boxers are still standing at the end - who has racked up the most points?
Did that ball nick the cricket bat before being caught?
Was the player in control of the football as he scored the try?
Was the ball going to go on to hit the wickets?
Did his hand touch the plate before the backstop tagged him out?
Did Maradona's hand touch the soccer ball as it flew into the net?
Who's body crossed the line first in that photo-finish?
Which car had right-of-way going into that corner?
Which boat crossed the start-line before the gun?
Etc. etc. etc.

The subjective input of an impartial judge is required in most sports. It just so happens that certain gymnastics etc. are judged on the artistic input rather than raw athletic performance.
Then again, it takes a hell of a lot of athletic ability to make what gymnists etc. do look so easy and "artistic."


Kenny's picture

Living in London, I object to the prospect of being taxed to pay for London 2012 - I was rooting for Paris when the result was announced.

Half-pipe snow-boarding is like synchonrised swimming, freestyle skiiing and ice dancing - subjective BS to appear to be inclusive. Any "sports" that are based on judges marks rather than objective measurements should not be sanctioned.

I'd like to point something

Robert's picture

I'd like to point something else out: it is a fact of genetics that black athletes have come to dominate some sports. Running, particularly sprinting being the classic example. Does this "commentator" take issue with that? Will he make the same "where are all the black swimmers and black road-cyclists" comments when the summer games & Tour de France roll around again.

This guy is just another media arse-hat taking a supercilious and rascist swipe at sports normally enjoyed by the rich.

"...despite a paucity of

Robert's picture

"...despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention."

While it's true that it deosn't snow much in Africa, thanks to the Wright Brothers and Frank Whittle there is now a way for natives of Africa to get to the slopes to train. The fact that they don't has to do with the way African politics affects economics and personal liberty in Africa.

But of course contemporary commentators are better at sneering then thinking: i.e.

" Try not to point out that something’s not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what’s called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won ..."

Gumble's hood rep

JoeM's picture

Is Bryant Gumbal kidding? In the words of Paul Moonie, "Wayne Brady makes Bryant Gumbal look like Malcolm X." More of the same "tribalism" at any rate.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

Hatred of the good for being the good?! Naked and horrible.

I've looked at some of the coverage and have been unable to believe my eyes at the athleticism on parade. For once the word "awesome" is not just an empty bromide. In fact, it's inadequate.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.