Friday, August 03, 2012

The 2012 Olympic Swish-Whack, Take That! Awards

In 2004, I created the Swish-Whack, Take That! awards to commemorate Mariel Zagunis winning America's first fencing gold medal in 100 years. NBC, showing signs of awfulness even back then, aired a 30 second clip of Zagunis' three points, and then skipped her medal ceremony.So every two years, I give out Swish-Whack, Take That! awards to athletes and others who do something cool during the Olympics. You can read about the origins of the Swish-Whack, Take That! awards here.

This week's first SWTT award goes to our very own Mariel Zagunis, who because of her gold medals in both 2004 and 2008, was given the great privilege of carrying the U.S. flag into the opening ceremonies. But that's not why she received her award.

Sadly, she did not win a medal this year, which ended up gaining more attention and being a bigger story than her gold in 2004. So, she gets a Swish-Whack, Take That! because people are now recognizing the sheer awesomeness of what she has done over the last eight years.

The next award goes to Tim "that's 'Sir Tim' to you" Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee appeared in the opening ceremonies, seated at a NeXT Computer, just like the one he used to invent the Web. He tweeted "This is for everyone," which was instantly spelled out in LCD lights that the audience was holding up.

Meanwhile, Meredith Viera, who hosted NBC's broadcast with Matt Lauer, said, "If you haven't heard of him, we haven't either." So tens of thousands of Twitter and Facebook users very helpfully told Viera and Lauer who he is and why he's important, using the very tool he created.

And started the #NBCfail hashtag, which has become one of the most popular hashtags of the Olympics.

NBC had previously said in a statement they would not stream the opening ceremonies online because, "they are complex entertainment spectacles that do not translate well online because they require context, which our award-winning production team will provide…"

That's some award-winning context there, NBC. Proud, willful displays of ignorance are always so helpful to the viewing public.

That's why I've created your very own award, just for you. And in the spirit of your coverage, I will announce it only on Twitter six hours after you actually won it.

The third SWTT goes out to opening ceremony producer Danny Boyle and choreographer Akram Khan, because the Berners-Lee fiasco was only the tip of NBC's iceberg of awfulness.

During the ceremony, they paid tribute to the victims of the 7/7 terrorism attacks, which were choreographed by Khan. Not surprisingly, NBC cut away to an interview between Ryan Seacrest and Michael Phelps.

When asked for a response to their callous heartlessness, NBC spokesman Greg Hughes said the next day that "our programming is tailored for the U.S. audience. It's a tribute to Danny Boyle that it required so little editing."

No, it's an indictment of NBC's raging idiocy that the network fails to realize that this is not another episode of "America and Pals." This is a global event where the host country, for just a couple hours, gets to showcase itself to the rest of the world. It's not your place to edit anything, let alone replace a moving tribute with a suck-up conversation between two Americans.

Shame on you, NBC. This is why people don't like you.

This week's final Swish-Whack, Take That! award goes to Phelps himself, after he was criticized by teammate Tyler Clary for his work ethic.

Clary said, "The fact that he doesn’t have to work as hard to get that done, it’s a real shame.
I think the things he could have done if he’d worked as hard as I do would have been even more incredible than what he has pulled off."

Phelps responded by pointing to his ear, indicating that he couldn't hear Clary over the thunderous clanking of his 14 gold and two bronze medals.

Clary continued, "The day that it happens, when I finally beat him, is going to be a huge deal in my mind because it would be complete satisfaction."

But — swish-whack, take that! — Clary has not beaten Michael Phelps in these Games at all. He finished fourth in the only event where he swam against Phelps.

An event where Phelps got another gold.

But today, Clary won his first gold medal in the 200 meter backstroke, an event Phelps did not swim in.

However, he did beat Ryan Lochte, who still owns nine more medals than Clary.

Meanwhile, Phelps has won four more medals in the last five days — two gold and two silver — giving him a grand total of 20.

So tell me, Tyler Clary, what more could Michael Phelps had done if he worked as hard as you? Turned those bronzes into silver and silvers into gold?

Or, maybe if he had worked as hard as you, he would still only have one medal at all.

The second edition of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is now available. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

My other book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing is also out.

You can get both of them from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million in October, or for the Kindle or Nook.


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1 comment:

  1. Gotta watch the placement of those nonrestrictive clauses:

    "During the ceremony, they paid tribute to the victims of the 7/7 terrorism attacks, which were choreographed by Khan."

    Strange that they would let the guy who orchestrated a terrorist attack do the choreography...

    Otherwise, though, a great post. I would also nominate the fencer from South Korea (I don't remember her name) who got cheated when the clock didn't start, and then refused a conciliatory and meaningless medal from the Olympics judges when the int'l fencing folks sided with her.


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