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  • Final word on the Olympics ratings juggernaut

    The Beijing Olympics on NBC turned out the largest viewing audience in American television history. Safe to say NBC's mission was accomplished.

    NBC's Beijing coverage reached 214 million viewers during the event's 16-day run, according to US media reports, eclipsing the 209 million viewers who watched the the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.

    The US network broadcast a record 3,600 hours of coverage from Beijing across its various multimedia outlets - including mobile and online - after paying $894m for the rights.

    As it turns out, the top five most viewed television events in American history are Olympic events. The Beijing games are trailed by Atlanta '96, Lillehammer '94, Athens 2004, and Seoul '88. For some perspective on this year's viewership, the average primetime audience was 27.7 million people, up 11 percent from 2004.

    Combined with the BBC, 250 million people tuned into at least 15 minutes of the Olympics across two countries. Yikes.

    Read More »from Final word on the Olympics ratings juggernaut
  • FPM Medal: Fashion division

    The only episode of Project Runway I have ever seen showed the contestants trying to outfit female professional wrestlers, managers and divas, so I may not be the most qualified observer to hand out the FPM medals for fashion; but, in the true spirit of Olympic judging, I'll do my best be partial and unfair, and I will disregard factual evidence in favor of my own preferences. I am also willing to accept bribes.

    On a visual level, the Beijing Olympic Games were a Sizzler scale buffet from the very first minute of the Opening Ceremony to the final passing of the torch to London. The sheer volume of athletic attire and costumery makes it very hard to pick out the award winners, but just as the 26.3 mile marathon begins with a single step, we must start in order to finish:

    Fashion No-No medal - This was a close call with the banned lighted costumes of the Spanish synchronized swimmers a strong runner up, but the FPM medal goes to the New Zealand men's field hockey team, whose black

    Read More »from FPM Medal: Fashion division
  • The Medal Stand: Just how much is a gold medal worth?

    A few links to get you through the day

    It's worth millions of dollars if you can land the right endorsement deals. A few companies are already reaping the benefits from some of their Olympians' success. [ABC]

    After seeing Michael Phelps' recent comments in The Baltimore Sun about how he would like to play in the World Series of Poker, the Asian Poker Tour sent him an open invitation to play in its biggest tournament next week in Macau. I'm pretty sure the 14-time gold medalist just wants to go home, but you never know. [Bluff Magazine]

    What do Liu Xiang and the U.S. men's soccer team have in common? [Rocky Mountain News]

    Some Chinese press members/bloggers did not have kind things to say about the London portion of the Closing Ceremony, British journalists took notice. [Telegraph]

    Alicia Sacramone gets a hero's welcome back home in Massachusetts. [GateHouse News Service]

    What's it like running on the track at the Bird's Nest ... a reporter shares a few interesting short stories from

    Read More »from The Medal Stand: Just how much is a gold medal worth?
  • Michael Phelps is committed as one can be to something four years away. The 14-time gold medalist says he plans on competing in the 2012 London Olympics, albeit with an easier, less-ambitious schedule than the one he just finished in Beijing. He's already broken the most prestigious mark in Olympic history, so what's next? What will Michael Phelps do as an encore?

    He'll be 27 in London, an age that was once thought to be over-the-hill in swimming. (Although that sterotype was perpetuated because, up until a few years ago, there wasn't enough money in swimming for people to stick with the sport beyond their college years. Phelps doesn't have that problem, since he's making seven-figures from Speedo, Visa and all his other sponsors.) He could probably handle a slate of eight events again, but not with the same dominance he exhibited in Beijing. Look for Phelps to slice his individual events from five to three (or possible even two) to compliment the three relay events.

    First to go will

    Read More »from What will Michael Phelps swim in London?
  • A few years ago, I wrote a letter to the mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley. I asked him to consider putting up Chicago as a candidate for the Olympics in 2016, and then outlined the many reasons why Chicago would be perfect for the games. One month later, Mayor Daley announced that Chicago would seek the bid for the Olympics in 2016. Coincidence? You decide as FPM takes you through Chicago's bid and chances to win the games. Yesterday, we looked at the venues and layout. Today, we look at the leadership of the bid.

    Obviously, the IOC wants people in place who can handle the massive undertaking that is the Olympics. Chicago's team is a mix of politicians, businesspeople and former athletes who are comfortable shaking hands with everyone from heads of state to small children.

    Mayor Richard Daley: It can be difficult to convey to non-Chicagoans the power and charisma of Mayor Richard M. Daley, pictured above with IOC president, Jacques Rogge. The man gets what he wants, and does it in a

    Read More »from Looking at the bid for Chicago 2016: leadership
  • Best of Beijing: Volume 16

    Let's take a look back at some of the best pictures from the Closing Ceremony ...

    The Bird's Nest lights up for the final time

    Performers brighten up Beijing

    Do not try this at home

    Hundreds of dancers assemble on top of a tower

    This has got to be one of the coolest bikes I have ever seen

    See you in London ...

    Photos via Getty Images

    Read More »from Best of Beijing: Volume 16
  • Create-a-Caption: 'Are you sure you want me to sign this?'

    Before heading off to be a guest on Letterman, Shawn Johnson took some time to sign an autograph for a fan at the Closing Ceremony. Normal, right? Except for the fact that it looks like the fan wanted the Olympic gold medalist to sign her ... hand? What good is an autograph if you're going to wash it off in a few hours?

    As always, put your best caption ideas down below ...

    After the jump check out the winner from the Yao-LeBron C-a-C

    Yao and LeBron share some laughs in China


    James: In two years those gymnast(s) will be eighteen

    Yao: In two year(s) those gymnast(s) will be twelve

    Photos via Getty Images

    Read More »from Create-a-Caption: 'Are you sure you want me to sign this?'
  • The Medal Stand After Dark: How much faster can Bolt go?

    A few links to get you through the night ...

    I know, I know. If he had run all the way through the line, Bolt's world record time would have been even more impressive. After seeing his coaches' comments and reading this article, it sounds like he could actually go a lot faster. [Wired]

    All athletes must make sacrifices to earn a gold medal, it sure seems like Chinese Olympians had to give up more than most. [LA Times]

    There are some jet-lagged players at the U.S. Open in New York City right now. [SI]

    What kind of lessons did London Olympic organizers learn from the Beijing Games? [Business Week]

    Bill Dwyre has an interesting take on the Beijing Olympics and how they relate to the "instant-gratification" society that we live in. [LA Times]

    Photo via Getty Images

    Read More »from The Medal Stand After Dark: How much faster can Bolt go?
  • If you're sick of beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor, don't tune into ABC anytime soon. She will be starring in the cast of "Dancing with the Stars," set to premiere on September 22. May-Treanor never mentioned this during her numerous interviews on NBC. I'm sure that she didn't talk about it because the deal wasn't finalized, not that NBC wouldn't let someone talk about ventures on other networks. Right, NBC?

    How will she perform? Coming off of nightly primetime appearances, she will have the all-important fanbase in place. Though athletes have done well on DWTS in the past, she will only have a few weeks to prepare. Her service defense won't really impress the judges, and she may find out one of the tough realities that faced other Olympians: judging isn't always fair. Can she add the mirror ball trophy to two Olympic gold medals? Tune in to find out.

    Photo via Getty Images

    Read More »from Misty May-Treanor trades volleyball for dancing shoes
  • After an impressive showing in Beijing, the Redeem Team is earning comparisons to the immortal 1992 Dream Team. Some are even going so far as to debate which incarnation of USA Basketball was superior. Here at Fourth-Place Medal there is no such discussion. We present to you the following statistics which you may peruse at your leisure:

    Dream Team members: 22 NBA titles, 15 NBA MVP awards

    Redeem Team members: 5 NBA titles, 1 NBA MVP award

    Case closed.

    Photo via Getty Images


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