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lefteh's avatar

How do you feel about post-competition interviews in the Olympics?

Asked by lefteh (9404points) August 15th, 2008

I just watched Bob Costas grill Michael Phelps alongside Mark Spitz for a rather lengthy amount of time. Normally, I wouldn’t care much. However, this was right after Phelps won his gold medal in the 100m fly. He seemed very tired and distracted, and I couldn’t help thinking that he would rather be spending these golden moments with his family or getting some rest. Other athletes are receiving similar treatment. How do you feel about this?

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22 Answers

augustlan's avatar

I always feel like we (the viewers) are “invading their personal space.” I mean, jeez, let the guy catch his breath, ya’ know?

tinyfaery's avatar

Are they obligated to give interviews by their sponsors? Pro athletes are contractually obligated to talk to the press.

Bri_L's avatar

I thought that Bob Costas’ questions were more thought out than the others. In the end I don’t feel they needed to do that interview at that time. Most of the immediate interviews are filled with obvious questions that you already know the answer to. I agree with Augustian give them their space.

Bri_L's avatar

I don’t know that they are professionals are they?

lefteh's avatar

@tinyfaery: American Olympians are not pro athletes. Not at the Olympics, anyway. They are unpaid. Some countries pay their athletes…but I still wouldn’t consider them professionals in the context of the Olympics. The Olympics are a competition of amateur athletes.

tinyfaery's avatar

But they still have sponsors, don’t they?

lefteh's avatar

Yeah, they do.
But I doubt that the sponsors obligate them to do interviews. Phelps, for example, is sponsored by Speedo, and I can’t recall seeing a Speedo logo anywhere during the interview.

crunchaweezy's avatar

One of the athletes in the Olympics was said to be paid $2,000,000 a year from sponsors, I think it was a diver, not sure.

wildflower's avatar

I think post-game interviews are an inherently bad idea. It’s really not fair on the athlete. Maybe my opinion is a bit too rosy, but I don’t think the aim of good journalism should be to make people trip up or say things they didn’t really want to say. That, and seriously, let them at least shower before you make them focus on anything else!!

andrew's avatar

@lefteh: Amateur except tennis and basketball, right?

syz's avatar

I hate those interviews…..they’re stupifyingly inane. “How does winning the gold make you feel?” How do you think they feel? Duh. “You lost the race. What happened out there?” He didn’t swim fast enough to win. Duh.

lefteh's avatar

@andrew: They are amateurs when competing at the Olympics, no matter what they do outside of the Games.

Indy318's avatar

The one critic I have of post-race interviews is that the are atheletes rarely given enough time to take a breath. Swimmers and espically track athletes are always seen panting during the interview and can barely squeeze out two consective words. Geez, cant they wait 5 minutes before shoving a dozen mics in their face.

marinelife's avatar

Hate them always, not just the Olympics.

Potential threadjack warning: Is Bob Costas wearing fake hair?

Bri_L's avatar

Thats funny I never thought about it. It doesn’t look like it but then that would be the point eh?

lefteh's avatar

Probably.

andrew's avatar

@lefteh: What does that mean, they’re amateurs? Like, you get to Beijing, and people just ignore the fact that you’re a professional athlete?

The immediate post-interview thing is understandable—part of the job of the coverage (and TV in general) is to denote an aspect of “liveness”—and what better way to convey that than by interviewing the athlete right after they’ve performed.

I’m also not convinced that the atheletes are innocent victims fo the press—after the women’s 400M preliminary today, the USA athlete ran straight from the finish line to the microphone.

In terms of inaneness, though, I agree. But isn’t that par for most sports coverage? I mean, isn’t John Madden (god bless him) the prime example of this?

lefteh's avatar

Like, you get to Beijing, and people just ignore the fact that you’re a professional athlete?

To a degree, yes. Everybody competes on the same playing field. Kobe Bryant versus some kid from Lithuania. They are playing for the same honor, against the same teams, in front of the same audiences. One of the things that I love so much about the Olympics is that it is a great equalizer.

andrew's avatar

Ok. I have to call shenanigans. Technically, “amateurism” isn’t part of the olympics anymore. From wiki (emphasis mine):

‘It gradually became clear to many that the amateurism rules had become outdated, not least because the self-financed amateurs of Western countries often were no match for the state-sponsored “full-time amateurs” of Eastern bloc countries. Nevertheless, the IOC, led by President Avery Brundage, held to the traditional rules regarding amateurism. In the 1970s, after Brundage left, amateurism requirements were dropped from the Olympic Charter, leaving decisions on professional participation to the international federation for each sport…. As of 2004, the only sports in which no professionals compete is boxing and baseball (though even this requires a definition of amateurism based on fight rules rather than on payment, as some boxers receive cash prizes from their National Olympic Committees);’

lefteh's avatar

I read the same wiki article after you raised the question the first time. It made me think, but I stand by my point. Just because many competitors are professionals outside of the Olympics does not mean that they are not competing on an amateur level at the Games. They are playing for sportsmanship, patriotism, and glory — not money.

andrew's avatar

Ah! A semantic argument. I’d agree with that definition of amateurism.

lefteh's avatar

Semantics indeed. Sorry — should have made that clear from the get-go.

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