I was geeked up for this weekend's Belmont Stakes looking forward to the opportunity to actually see a horse win the Triple Crown. Yet again I will have to wait to see something that hasn't been accomplished since 1978. I think Big Brown's trainer made the right decision to race this weekend. The horse for whatever reason just didn't have it.
They claim that there is no injury and I will abide by their word. Their explanation of the horse being dehydrated on a steamy June afternoon makes some sense to me. If I thought the horse had the competency to do this I would say he choked under the pressure. Obviously the horse doesn't know the difference in races are outside of the amount of people the horse sees going to the track.
Where Big Brown will rank in horse racing history has already been established due to his wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. He may move up that ladder even further when he runs at the Breeder's Cup in the future.
Shortly before the Belmont I found out about the passing of Jim McKay. When I was a young child, it was before the days of ESPN the internet and instant access to every sport in the world, I remember fondly on many a Saturday afternoon watching Wild World of Sports on ABC and watching events like the Belmont where he would be the host. It is a little nostalgic of me, probably, but I miss the days of a Jim McKay who wasn't over the top in his announcing style or yelling boo-yah after every highlight. He always had a way of conveying the excitement of the event without putting himself in the spotlight.
The two things that have always impressed me about Jim McKay were the way he handled the 1972 Summer Olympics and the 1980 Olympics. When all hell was breaking loose in Munich during the awful hostage crisis he remained on the air in a cool collected manner in which he kept the flow of information coming. When you are behind the scenes in TV you see what happens to the best and worst anchors. To be on a national and international stage like he was and to handle it like he did it makes you appreciate what a pro he was.
The second story that always impressed me about McKay was when he was hosting the 1980 Olympics it was during a time when games weren't shown live. The US hockey team was playing the "Miracle on Ice" game live against the USSR and he was hosting the broadcast about 2 periods behind to a national audience. He is hosting during the first intermission as the final seconds are going down on what is one of the most exciting events in United States sports history and he is forced to deadpan as if he doesn't know what is going on in the game. If that isn't a pro I don't know what is. Jim McKay was a true professional in every sense of the word.
Thinking of Jim McKay also got me thinking about the Olympics and how it is covered in the year 2008. I really think that as far as Olympics coverage nobody did it better than the way ABC did it back in the 70's and 80's. I know technology has changed and the way TV is done has changed but it was just a simpler cleaner way of doing it. They aired the events live and whatever happened happened. NBC has pre-packaged everything to the point I no longer really enjoy the Olympics. Maybe I am in the minority but I enjoy the actual ebb and flow of a game or an event. I don't need it pre-packaged. Maybe NBC will surprise me this summer but I doubt it.