The Worlds On NBC – Thoughts & Views From TV On Day 2-4

By Jeff Benjamin

Oh! The thrill of victory!
Oh! The agony of defeat!

It’s a good thing that ABC 4-5 decades ago didn’t copyright the above phrase from their great groundbreaking show “Wide World Of Sports” (another show that never should’ve ended IMHO!) because the NBC crew covering the Worlds in Budapest once again not only let their emotions out on both successful and failing endeavors, but we’re also able to share and commiserate with the millions of invisible viewers out there following along!

Here are some samples –

1) With the heptathlon’s final event – the 800 – yet to start, the women’s field was oh so very close in points!

So America’s Anna Hall decided to go for it, taking it out and trying to get points to pass Katrina Johnson-Thompson for the overall lead.

Alas, it was not to be.

Although Hall won the 800, she couldn’t garner enough points to take the title away from the Brit.

As commentators Trey Hardee and Paul Swangard said, “This is everything built into these moments right now. Every time these athletes got up early, this is what it’s all about.”

Hartie deftly summarized the results at the finish by saying, “if a picture is worth 1000 words, then one of these of the women finishing is worth millions!”

To add to the disparity of feelings of victory and defeat, the announced stressed help places third through seventh we’re always separated by an astounding 60 points!

2) With the start of the Men’s  10K, it was now Leigh Diffey and Kara Goucher’s turn.  As the race progressed, it was becoming an All-African affair, a subject Tiffany in Goucher knew very well. Battling the heat, Goucher commented, “There’s unbelievable speed here on a difficult hot night.” As Ugandan legend Joshua Cheptegei battled the Ethiopian and Kenyan stars, it was not lost on Goucher that Ethiopian Selemon Berega had “ spoiled the party in Tokyo!”

But there would be no spoiling this time as the Ugandan pulled away, winning his third world title at the 10K. Berega would have to settle for 3rd behind the Kenyan Daniel Ebenyo.

3) “ America do you have a problem!” proclaimed Ato  Boldon after American Noah Lyles’ shockingly fast Victory in the men’s 100 meters.

The problem? “Noah Lyles has figured out the hundred, and now he’s going to go compete in his event, the 200!” said Boldon.

“Yes, and you know what?” said Diffey. “ he he backed up the talk, backed up the talk!”

“Also,” continued Boldon, “ remember, Noah Lyles has never made a United States 100-meter team in his life!”

“Hey Ato!” said the victorious Lyles and his post-race interview with Lewis Johnson, “Who did you put your money on!?”

“ Hey, he’s right,” said Boldon. “ I thought he’d come here and figure out his acceleration, and he did that!”

“ Congrats to the man,” concluded Boldon.

“ I deserve that!”

4) The great question going into the men’s shotput was the world record holder Ryan Crouser. Questions about his fitness and recovery from diagnosed blood clots lead to many questions.

But after his throw of 23.51 (the second-longest throw in history behind himself!), Trey Hardee sums it up the best.

“ He’s just a dangerous, powerful man!”

In the Post Recents view, which was conducted by Paul, Swangard, and Hardee
Crouser discussed how we had to balance the injury with his ability to “both be careful, but not have a long downside before Worlds.”

When Swangard asked Crouser that given his challenges this year, why he should come to this year’s world championships, especially with the Tokyo Olympics right around the corner, Crouser replied, “ I have a short time span and competition, and I felt this year is all about the world championships.”

4) “She’s done it and can’t believe it!”

Leigh Diffey’s proclamation about the amazing win by Sha’Carrie Richardson out of Lane 9 (!) in the women’s 100 m final was probably echoed by millions of viewers around the world, who also probably couldn’t believe that she did it either!

“Not since 2017 has an American woman won a world championship hundred gold,” said Boldon.

In the post-race interview with Johnson, Richardson, Recognized and Thanks people who supported her through her challenging times and how she “ what did the performance to speak for my words.”

It sure did.

5) It was in the men’s 800-meter qualifiers that the “Agony of Defeat” led to a tough yet pleading assessment from both Boldon and Sonya Richards-Ross.

When Isaiah Harris failed to move out of his first heat post, commentators echoed how American members of the 800 squad had failed to even get into a final championship race over the past couple of years.
“ I’m still shaking my head,” said Ross over Harris’ elimination.
There was somewhat of a sigh of relief when Bryce Hoppel, who is jostled and seems to be falling backward off the final turn, still had enough to make it on to the next round, but Boldon concluded that “The U.S. It’s not off to a good start..”
Shocking to Boldon, Ross, and the audience was Olympic medalist Clayton Murphys, the last 100 m of his heat where, after leading with 200 m to go, unfortunately, went backward. I did not qualify as well.
“Wow!” was all bold and could say. While Ross stated that it is shocking that runners of this caliber leave it’s chance in the first round, I’m not trying to take the pace out, noting that Murphy’s PR of 1:42 was not equivalent to his 1:46 performance.
“It’s not like it hasn’t happened before,” said Bolden. “It happened last year, and Eugene with all for Americans out on home soil!”
“ I don’t know what’s going on in the men’s 800 event in America,” said Bolden.
“We are not trying to pick on them – it’s just utter shock. These guys are too good to be not qualifying out of the first round at Worlds.”
6) The commentator’s assessment of legendary Dalilah Muhammad’s failure to advance in the women’s 400 m hurdles carried a more understanding view as Ross stressed her late start for her season with some hint of injury. Diffey also mentioned how she bought a couple of bouts of COVID-19, but Ross also concluded that “Delilah has had a great career.”
7) Once again, the NBC crew had to juggle and pivot in the right direction as the viewers were presented with the women’s discus, the men’s high jump, the women’s 1500 m final, and the Men’s Steeple final! Both Paul Swangard and Trey Hardee, Alistair coverage as American Laulauga Tausaga-Collins totally destroyed the competition, and becoming the first American woman to win a WC Discus Gold!
“ I don’t know the word to describe what happened,” said Hardee.
“This breakthrough does not do this justice!”
On the men’s high jump, America’s JuVaughn Harrison jumped solidly amid a great duel with Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi.
“Game on!”, said Hardee, and it was, as the Italian successfully held off the charging American to win gold.
During this field event drama, Leigh Diffey and Kara Goucher called both distance events, emphasizing the hot conditions in the Budapest Stadium.
For the 1500 couch and Goucher gave great praise to the Kenyan phenom Faith Kipyegon, who has single-handedly revolutionized the race.
“She has changed this event, and she’s carrying others with her who have set national records behind her,” said Goucher.
With the women tight together and approaching the bell lap, Goucher admitted, “My heart is beating out of my chest because it looks like every woman here can win this race!”
But it was only for a short moment as the canyon put on the afterburners, and although chased a bit by the pack, notably Sifan Hassan, totally dominated the last 200 m and one going away.
“She’s just too good,” said Goucher.
Pivoting over to the men’s steeple final legendary favorite Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco slowly moved through the pact and took to the lead pack, where Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma planned to take him on.
“This is the race we wanted to see!” said Goucher.
With 200 meters to go into the final water jump, it was El Bakkali who is stormed home easily, defeating his competition and experiencing the thrill of victory!
More victories, challenges, and defeats to come!