Clown for a New Day

Clown for a New Day
Dagwood might make it in today's emasculated circus

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Out of the Past: Figure Skating Commentators At the Olympics: Sandra Bezic Shines Near the Ice, Dick Button Above It ...

First posted February 17, 2010

PLEASE NOTE:  If you wish to leave a comment, fine, but you will have to leave your name.  Sorry, but I am no longer accepting comments by Anonymous.   The thoughts of all are most welcome.

Update February 12, 2014: There are so many of you drawn to this post, I am inspired to try taking in some of the ice competitions in Russa, and turn out another rant or rave. So I might be back here on Sunday morning if not sooner.

What a tony pleasure to have Dick Button back at the games, sharing his feelings about figure skaters. He covered many Olympics for ABC, an arrangement I think that kept him from other networks. Button actually returned to the games for NBC four years ago. This man is so much fun listening to and believing in; he brings to mind late San Francisco evenings, years ago, sitting across a cafe table with friends following a night out at Skateland-at-the-Beach (a roller rink), just cutting up jokes and talking about a shared passion. Button has class. He has tact. He is not always right, and he will show his surprise when the scores surprise him.

In Dick Button's absence, I've had to stomach Scott Hamilton, whose excessive cheer leading and dubious critical faculties have driven me more than once to shout at my TV set, "Shut     up!" The best thing I can say for Hamilton this year, at least during the pairs finals on Monday, was that he has kept his comments to an admirable minimum. Maybe he was working under a gag order by NBC so that they could squeeze in more commercials; Not another night will I sit up until midnight, no matter who is skating. That's it.

Hamilton's rink-side partner for pairs was Canadian Sandra Bezic, and what a welcome voice and intelligence she possesses. I hope she covers more ice events in the days ahead. She has a gift for honest feedback in a velvet smooth manner. And she never dominates the action. She, in fact, proves herself a much more engaging commentator than did the super-nice Peggy Fleming, who always struck me as afraid as a mouse to offend a single skater -- or the sport she represented.

But up there in the NBC "fireside" room talking to Bob Costa, Dick Button is the real article. Character. Class. Age. Best of all, a natural undying enthusiasm for the sport that he has given his whole life to, from champion Olympic competitor to class act commentator.

There is something else, if you will allow me: Such sweet music to my ears on Monday night: "She is a former champion roller skater." Yes, yes! Thank you, somebody, up there, for the nod. Is that the closet my sport (laugh if you must) will ever get to the Olympics?

By the way, I thought that the young roller- turned ice-skater, Katie somebody, and her partner surely deserved higher marks; same for a Canadian team. In fact, I found the judging overall for this event rather atrocious. A couple of sacred cow Russian teams, ragged and inept, hardly deserved such a pass from the judges.

As for the pairs medalists, I was in perfect agreement on the Chinese teams, although I could have seen it going the other way.

The Middle Kingdom is catching up. The balance of power, as in politics and elsewhere, is changing on the ice too. Roller skating in China, anybody?

2/17/10

26 comments:

Steven said...

You described Sandra Bezic perfectly. She really adds to the whole experience. I have to give the commentator team credit in being quiet much of the time and allowing us to enjoy the skating. Scott Hamilton is opinionated and a bit arrogant (if you saw him on Apprentice, you might have seen some real character flaws) but his passion and honesty is welcome. I could do without the play by play guy. Hes fine, but typical old school sports commentator who has a Muzak/Stepford quality to his tone - never offend -- Make inane comments like the one where he told Scott Hamilton not to be modest. forget when he did but it was wierd.

jan Dalquist said...

Plushenko's protests reminded me of Irina Slutkaya's when S. Hughes won the gold instead of the Russian. P. is a peacock and a poor loser. I'd love to see a video and commentary of his program and Lysacek's side by side along with commentary on the difference.

Anonymous said...

Sandra Bezic is annoying and she needs to shut up. Everything out of her mouth is negative. It nice to hear Scott and Dick with their postive comments leaving the negative to the judges. Sandra has nothing interesting to say and everyone in our home just can't stand her. SHUT UP Sandra!!

Anonymous said...

Scott is an annoying little queen - when someone does a jump etc, hes like here it is "ummph type reactions. just shutup and let us watch. and sandra is just as bad with her undermining the other commentators - she overanalyzes stuff. a mediocre skater in her day, she won a few titles as candas pairs champion and a 9th place finish in one olympics yet she commentates as if she knows it all. you arent a competitor sandra. you choreograph the routines but you are not the one doing the moves so shutup.

Showbiz David said...

How would you rate Dick Button?

I think I liked Sandra, new to my ears, partly because she was so low key and soft and intelligent sounding compared to cheer leader Scott. Maybe most of us would prefer watching the skaters without the hype commentary. I have skipped many Olympics because of Scott's annoying presence as he believes that without his commentary, we simply would not be able to enjoy the skaters on our own! Who knows what direction he is getting, perhaps to cheer lead to make it all sound more athletic rather than artistic, like most of the other events. I am almost inspired to start a blog called Shut Up!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but Sandra Bezic did a TERRIBLE job as commentator. She wouldn't shut up and her commentary was often unwarranted opinion versus welcome color commentary. I had to mute her. She drove me crazy!

Barbara said...

Sandra Bezic is one of the worst commentators skating has ever been subjected to. Her comments are trite, overly chatty, and she speaks in a whining, nasal, irritating voice. Surely they could find someone more palatable. She needs her tongue cut out.

Showbiz David said...

This I can say: we each can be irritated by personalities who get on our nerves. I can't stand Scott, maybe he's gotten less a pip squeak cheerleader, but I did not watch last night's ladies, partly because of Scott, partly because NBC I assumed would have dragged the whole thing on for hours. Please, bring back dick! And/or put a gag order on them all while the skater is skating. Would any of us tolerate at this watching ballet or circus or, you name your show????

SHUT UP!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that the commentaries were less this year, thankfully. I have always disliked the constant "chatting" during the performances, especially from that Bezic woman. Annoying, annoying annoying. What REALLY annoyed me was the talking during the Gala performances. The competition is OVER, for cryin' out loud. Let us enjoy the skating. It's like being in a movie theater and someone is on a cell phone. What an insult to the viewers. "We can be here at the the Olympics but you peasant viewers cannot afford it so we will just talk through the performances because we CAN".

In short, Scott Hamilton is WAY TOO LOUD, Sandra Bezic is a pain in the butt!

Anonymous said...

Sandra Bezic is so biased. She's a Canadian and choreographed Yu-Na Kim and Joannie Rochette in the past. She is not a proper commentator for a Vancouver Olympics. She was hysterical when Miki Ando beat Rachael Faltt after the short program. I thought Scott Hamilton was a fair, compassionate commentator,but not anymore. He was so brutal against Mao Asada. There is no reason to bash 19-year-old hardworking sweet girl like her. NBC was using Plushenko's slow part to make viewers believe how fast Lysacheck was moving. Plushenko's music slows down in the middle. Of course, he goes with the music. They can't fool me.

Overstreet - Western Fiction said...

I like Scott Hamilton when he talks about the sport in pre- or post-game venues, but he does talk more than I would like during the routines. As for Bezic, there's just something about her voice that rubs me the wrong way. I've enjoyed the content of her comments but can't stand the tone.

Anonymous said...

I applaud all who think Sandra Bezic is a whiny irritation. Get her off the commentator list. And, hey, I don't care who knows it: I love SCOTT HAMILTON.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with most of you people. Both Scott Hamilton and Sandra bezic were great skaters. Scott knows more about the new rules than any other commentator out there. As for his cheer leading, obviously you all know nothing about his career. He skated when the sport still was lime a family. You cheered for each other no matter your country. You were friends with your counterparts. Heck one of his best friends was an opponent from the Canadian team! I love listening to Scott because he gets excited for the skaters no matter what country they represent. Its called respect...something that any true athlete would give to their opponents when they do well! The Russian couple did very well and deserved their gold as did the other pairs medalists. The Olympics are all about sportsmanship... maybe you all should learn what that is.

Anonymous said...

Sandra Bezic is the most annoying commentator EVER!! She says nothing constructive. I can't stand her droning voice and inane, useless comments. She needs to SHUT UP....better yet, never speak again on TV, especially the Olympics!

Showbiz David said...

Hi Everyone ...

For the record, my comments on both Bezic and Hamilton, as you can see, were made watching them at work at the last Olympics in 2010.

I am going to make a real effort to watch the dance this Sunday morning, and I will share my views.

Anonymous said...

I had to look up who Bezic is just because the way she speaks drives me up the wall. She sounds so "goody-two-shoes"....very square and as if she has a stick...anyhow...Scott doesn't bother me, but she is awful. I thought so 4 years ago, too, and was surprised to hear her uppity nasal voice again this year. For the rest, we've really enjoyed the Olympics this year.

Anonymous said...

Of course all the comments about the commentators are a purely subjective analysis of people's feelings that are pretty much nonsensical and unimportant since none of these folks have ever skated or competed. . .so who cares!

Showbiz David said...

Evidently, you care.

Showbiz David said...

Some of these comments, which I did not publish, sound like they came from the school of Tanya Harding.

You of the ice crowd, are you really that vicious?

How naive of me, yours is a sport of the pampered rich, protected and spun, of course, by Big Media in collusion with the IOC.

Anonymous said...

Unlike other Olympic competitions,
ice skating is accompanied by music. And, the skaters skate to the music.

Therefore, commentators should SHUT UP during the competition so the TV viewers can watch and hear what is going on without interruption. The commentators, if they must, can comment AFTER the performance. I think this would be a very good rule.

The commentators are so annoying that I am just about to quit watching the ice skating competitions.

Anonymous said...

Please NBC....get rid of Sandra Bezic. She ruins the beauty of the skaters' routines!

Bunny lady said...

I was hoping NBC would get a new female commentator this Olympics, but no they brought back Sandra Bezic. I think her comments are horrible and the sound of her voice drives me crazy. If I hear her say "look at "the skater" fly I just may punch the TV. The best and greatest is Dick Button. No one can outdo him. He tells us so much about the sport. NBC, Please get rid of Sandra and don't torture us anymore.

Showbiz David said...

Thank you, Bunny Lady, for giving us your name, even if it is bogus.

TO OTHERS READING THIS:

I WILL NOT PRINT ANY MORE COMMENTS BY "ANONYMOUS."

You'll need to post a name.

Thanks

John Alifano said...

I thought Sandra Bezic was wonderful! Her commentary was soft, gentle, articulate, sensuous and sophisticated. I loved her way with words, describing Yumi Kim's performance as "enchanting, casting a spell, the most beautiful I've ever seen"...etc. Please, let's have more of her! Her commentary possesses an erudite, educated, sophisticsted softness, which in my view, greatly enhanced the beauty of women's figure skating!

Showbiz David said...

I'm charmed to have all you icers in here contributing. I will try to watch the long dance finals if I can get it complete. Maybe by Netflix.

NBC coverage, apparently putting figure skating late late in the evening, enraged me.

heatherb said...

It's hilarious how different everyone sees it. Maybe it shows age? I personally prefer Scott. His voice is familiar and comfortable to me. Sandra's voice and phrasing are difficult to listen to. Dick doesn't add much.