Let the Games begin!
And what would any self-respecting Olympic Games be without some sort of prime time television tie-in. Thrill as television actors imitate athletes in a pitched battle for prime time ratings supremacy. Gasp as your fave TV characters run, jump and swim their way onto the medal podium and into your TV-viewing hearts!
Here’s just a few of my fave sporty TV moments:
4X400 RELAY (THE COSBY SHOW) – It’s no secret Bill Cosby was a great college athlete. Here, he gets a chance to show it as Doctor Huxtable participates in a relay grudge match with his old Hillman College alum. Who wins? I think we need a photo:
CANOEING (THAT 70s SHOW) – Leave it to the bored teens of That 70s Show to invent a new Olympic sport – mountain canoeing. Though the logistics took awhile to work out, the boys eventually master the sport – leading to the inevitable near-death experience:
STANDING LONG JUMP (HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER) – Okay, it’s no longer an Olympic sport (And trampoline is? Where’s the justice!). Still, I couldn’t resist this brief clip of Marshall standing at the wall of his building for several episodes dreaming of jumping to the neighbour’s deck. He eventually does (they all do). Which leads to the inevitable question – how do they get back?:
WRESTLING (THE WONDER YEARS) – Plucky Kevin gets a schooling in the ‘Agony of Defeat’ in this episode of the coming-of-age series. Arnold sucks at wrestling. But chicks dig athletes. So there’s that:
CROSS-COUNTRY/SWIMMING/GYMNASTICS (THE MIDDLE) - Nobody represents the TV Olympic spirit more than teen Sue Heck. Though hopelessly inept at every sport (and life) she just keeps trying in her endless effort to fit in. Even being attacked by a deer while training doesn’t dampen her desire for furthur teen humiliation. This musical montage of Sue’s greatests ‘hits’ does a great job of capturing the true Sue:
SOCCER (KING OF THE HILL) – Athletes don’t win gold medals all by themselves. They need a good coach to push and inspire. Coach Hank Hill is not a good coach, but his speech about the origins of soccer is pretty funny:
ARCHERY (GAME OF THRONES) – Forget about Olympic pressure. If this archer misses his shot in this second season clip, he doesn’t just lose a medal. He loses an entire empire. And if he makes it? Well, he may still lose the empire. And then there’s that post-battle blood test:
BASKETBALL (THE WHITE SHADOW) – In this full episode, our fave 1980s high school team goes international in a match against the Russkies. Interesting to see all the Cold War clichés brought out in a school setting:
5X300 SWIMMING RELAY (BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS) – This classic late 1970s pseudo reality/celebrity thingee had everything – sport, T&A, and Howard Cosell! Answers the eternal question – who is the better swimmer? Charlene Tilton or Pernell Roberts:
UPPER CLASS TWIT OF THE YEAR (MONTY PYTHON) – Not so much an Olympic sport as a way of life. Forty years before England’s Olympics, this was the sporting event that defined an empire: