Sunday, August 4, 2013

Curtains for Ato - a tongue-in-cheek look back at the 2011 broadcast from Daegu!


As our focus shifts to Moscow this week, I reproduce here an open note  I wrote two years ago in honor of Ato Bolden’s World Championships broadcast from a hotel room in Daegu. (The reference to the program covers is that almost every athlete on the cover of the daily program lost.)

Curtains for Ato

Dear Ato,

I have long had the greatest respect for you as an athlete and an announcer. I even saw you set your 100m collegiate record in Eugene.Your insight as an announcer can be topped only by the fact that you referenced your own career during these championships even more than Dwight Stones did his. Now that takes stones!

And you suffered with grace the humiliation of anchoring Universal’s world championships coverage from your own hotel room, which ran in terms of d├ęcor and inspiration just ahead of the broom closet from which Stones and volleyball expert Paul Sunderland – he of the women’s 30k walk fame – broadcast theirs. Certainly, it takes the aforementioned stones to anchor for the greatest track and field power on earth its national broadcast from a hotel room. This sets a new standard - that would be the zzzzzzzzzzzzz standard – in broadcasting chutzpah.

Imagine what could go wrong with broadcasting from a hotel room: your roommates exiting the shower with the camera on, the toilet flushing, room service delivered – yes, you took chances with your broadcast that
I could never have imagined. No, really! And so you are to be congratulated on such an overarching achievement in broadcast journalism.

Except for one thing: the curtains, Ato, the curtains.

Have you ever seen such dismal and uninspired fabric? Did you never think of the background to which you were subjecting the dozens and dozens of US fans who tuned into your broadcast whenever we could find it? Did you know, before you arrived, that early East German design was hot in Daegu? Drab and dreary have never been so popular. Kind of like Mid-Century American, which is the baby boomers’ way of saying we want to sell our parents’ old furniture and get really good money for it.   I have never seen such ugly curtains. Day after day after day they did as much for your broadcast as the cover of the daily program did for the athletes on it.

So please, Ato, if NBC cannot afford a better hotel room for you in London, would you get in touch? My sister has won national awards for fabric design, and I’m sure she would rush to London if you should try to subject us to yet another fashion disaster.

The world anticipates already the classic matchups that will define the London Olympics. I, however, can’t wait to see your choice of curtains.

Our national fabric strains with anticipation.

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