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  • Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

    (I originally posted this on dyestat's college messageboard, but thought it appropriate to post here as well-WM)

    Everyone LOVES to pick on Carol, but I can tell you no one in the business works harder than she does in talking to the athletes before a meet to get their current state of fitness and any other insight she can gather. And some of you have disliked her for so long that it's just easier for you to pick on her mistakes rather than judge the totality of what she does.

    As I mentioned earlier, it's easier to remember the mistakes than it is the things that are done right. Does Carol occasionally say things she wishes she could take back? Sure, but so do most announcers in the business.

    Some recent criticisms:
    "Mulvaney's bad racing tactics at the NCAA"...Sorry, but I'm sure if you asked Chris Mulvaney, who, if I recall correctly, was not shy about referring to himself earlier this year as the best collegiate 1500/mile runner, he'd admit that he screwed up for the second year in a row.

    "Talking to injured athletes while they were on the track"--Sorry again, but that's good TV hustle and I'm sure it didn't add to the athletes' discomfort.

    (Referring to Allyson Felix doing too much too soon)--"When I was sixteen, I made the Olympic team...". In all the years that I've been working with Carol, that may have been the 2nd time that she referred to her own accomplishments, and it was totally appropriate. And her comment about "Felix running too fast" was also appropriate, although probably could have been phrased better. We've all seen cases of high school pheenoms who disappear after a year or two. And in case some of you don't know of Carol's achievements(in addition to being Carl's sister), she was the bronze medalist in the long jump at the 1983 World Championships(and a 2-time NCAA Champ), and was a nationally ranked 100m-hurdler and heptathlete. So, while you may not agree with her analysis of certain events, she's speaking with some experience behind her.

    While interviewing Raasin McIntosh at the U.S. Nationals, the winner of the 400-hurdles went into an emotional recounting of the tragic accident involving Bev Kearney and how it affected the Texas team. As McIntosh went on about one of the other individuals who died in the crash , Carol thought to herself, "No one is going to know who she is talking about". As McIntosh finished, Carol said, "And, of course, she was referring to Ilrey Oliver" (who was a a student adviser at the school). That may seem like a small point to her criitcs, but that was a very professional "save".

    And how about giving her some props for speaking her mind on issues like the IAAF false start rule or Mo Greene not running the 200 final at the Nationals?

    I know this isn't going to stop the "Carol-bashing", but it might help some people become more objective when judging her the next time.

    Regards,

    Walt Murphy
    Self-appointed defender of all things related to TV track (:-)

  • #2
    Re: Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

    I like Carol Lewis, she says whats on her mind and she was an athlete at a high level. When she says something I take it into consideration even if I do not agree initially. She does her job and does it well. And beyond that shes a television announcer, beyond giving you facts, who really cares?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

      Thanks, Walt. I've always liked Carol and none of us are perfect in our jobs. She has always had a great rapport with the athletes. Lewis Johnson does a great job too. And of course, Dwight Stones is the king. I think he could describe a blade of grass growing and make it sound interesting. Too bad that all we get for the field events these days is the executive summary.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

        One other thing we must remember is that not all athletes spill their guts to strangers. Whether it is a recorded pre-race interview or a live post-race interview, the vast majority of athletes respond willingly and truthfully, because they are familair witht the interviewer. Saying incorrect things in the heat of of the cometition is something all announcers do, but getting accurate information from an athlete or coach before a cometition is not an easy task. An athlete or coach isn't going to just tell anybody what their condition is. These athletes/coaches must truly trust the person who is asking the question. Whether it is Carol, Dwight, Larry Rawson or Lewis Johnson, the interviewer must be a familiar face and trustworthy, otherwise you may end up with a brush off. Nowadays, you can't just go up to and talk with many of the super elite athletes. You must jump through hoops and barrels by arranging things through managers and agents to get that interview. Believe me, Carol does know her stuff, and the athletes respect her very much. I have seen her sit down in a relaxed, informal setting, and just talk with athletes. It is the same type of friendly chatter you and I would have with our friends. Sure, athletes know what they say may make the air, but they also trust her, and may also tell her something as a friend, in confidence, trusting that it won't be broadcast. In the TV business having accurate information is paramount, but having and the respect of your interview subject (and your peers) is equally as important.

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        • #5
          Re: Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

          Dwight Stones is far from the King. His commentating is about as annoying as my dog barking constantly at 7 am. He's ignorant, self-obsorbed, and could care less about the track meets as much as recording the show so he can go home and watch himself. Yes Dwight, all of us at home know that you were good in your day, you do not need to remind us every single broadcast. It would be great to watch Pre, Pac-10's or the National meet without Dwight mentioning something about himself. Nobody cared then, nobody cares now!

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          • #6
            Re: Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

            Nice attempt at a "defense" Mr. Murphy, but the sad truth (at least from where I sit) is that whenever I hear her voice it's like the proverbial nails on a blackboard. She's shrill and doesn't have much command of the language. Nor does she have any particular insight into the sport at which she excelled. (Nor would I expect her to: professional announers should be hired in ALL sports, not former athletes.)

            The fact that she works hard at what she does--and I don't doubt that it's true--only makes it all the more sad that she remains a poor announcer. She may know a lot, but she doesn't get it across.

            Her commentary on the false-start rule was indeed spot-on, but the fact that it stands out so only suggests to me the blandness of her work in general.

            I hate to say this, but from my attempt at a detached point of view she only keeps the job because she fills two minority slots at once. (and has the added cachet of packing her brother's name) I'm all for affirmative action, but I didn' t know that being a bad announcer was an endangered species that needed extra protection.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

              >Dwight Stones is far from the King. His
              >commentating is about as annoying as my dog
              >barking constantly at 7 am. He's ignorant,
              >self-obsorbed, and could care less about the
              >track meets as much as recording the show so he
              >can go home and watch himself. Yes Dwight, all of
              >us at home know that you were good in your day,
              >you do not need to remind us every single
              >broadcast. It would be great to watch Pre,
              >Pac-10's or the National meet without Dwight
              >mentioning something about himself. Nobody cared
              >then, nobody cares now!

              Two things must be pointed out. 1) Dwight is by no means ignorant. He knows more about the technical aspects of the field events than any other tv commentator and/or journalist. His knowledge of the running events, although not as
              expert as the field events, is non intrusive. 2) Dwight cares very much about the meets he works on. Although he is a stickler for getting things right, he is not afraid to communicate to the audience to good and bad aspects surroounding a telecast. Yes, he is opinionated. But isn't it refreshing to hear what someone really thinks of a situation rather than avoiding or sugar coating it. It sounds as if FYI can't shake his ill feelings toward Stones when he was a brash, outspoken athlete. I think we need more Dwight Stones' type of athlete or commentator, who are not afraid to make a comment and take a stand.

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              • #8
                Re: Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

                I can tell Carol does her homework (don't they all?) and it's good she was a former elite athlete with the means to get close to the competitors, but that can't overcome her 'problem,' which is that she so often belabors the obvious and says things that are gratuitous. The reason I like Dwight is that he calls a spade a spade, both with his analysis and his interviews.

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                • #9
                  Re: Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

                  Carol is not the lead announcer. This means she is there to lend insight that the average fan could not obtain for themsleves. I think she is highly inadequate in this regard. Repetitive phrases such as "She put the pedal to the metal" and "He picked it up at the end" offer little of her world-class expertise. Tell me about injuries. Point out technique flaws and strengths. Give some training insight. Describe the action in regard to strategy, lane assignment, or block placement. Simply, I rarely hear Carol offer more insight than a high school athlete.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

                    Its fine for you like her, Walt, just as its okay for many of us not to. She does not do everything bad, just (to my ear) most things. She is not articulate and has an irritating way of repeatedly stating the obvious. She know NOTHING about any race over 400 meters. I have never seen evidence of her doing her homework.

                    As far as her creditials go, we need to set aside the fact that she was a world class runner/jumper. That does NOT make her a world class commentator. Having the knowledge (and again, to me she does not) and having runs the times/jumped the distances does not qualify an athlete to communicate that knowledge in an interesting way. Truth is, I'd rather listen to dead air and watch the race with no annoucning than listen to Carol Lewis.

                    BTW, her total lack of professionalism was clearly shown in that little confrontation she had with Michael Johnson on air a few years back. Something about a brother of hers.....
                    Joe Lanzalotto

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                    • #11
                      Re: Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

                      >Dwight Stones is far from the King. His
                      >commentating is about as annoying as my dog
                      >barking constantly at 7 am. He's ignorant,
                      >self-obsorbed, and could care less about the
                      >track meets as much as recording the show so he
                      >can go home and watch himself. Yes Dwight, all of
                      >us at home know that you were good in your day,
                      >you do not need to remind us every single
                      >broadcast. It would be great to watch Pre,
                      >Pac-10's or the National meet without Dwight
                      >mentioning something about himself. Nobody cared
                      >then, nobody cares now!

                      I have never heard Stones talk about himself, but then, since he does the field events, he never really gets more than 50 words at a time. I have always found Dwight to be knowdlegeable well beyond his event, even beyond the field events. In the few times I have seen him have a crack at distance events, he talks about the runners in the rac without hestation - all of them, not just the guys in the front. He seems to have been watching and learning. I'd listen to him anytime, but I guess the differences are why they have forums like this.
                      Joe Lanzalotto

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

                        I'd like to respond to the continued bashing of Carol Lewis, but I think I'll wait until posters use their real names.

                        Can someone explain to me why some people can be so opinionated about people and issues on boards like this without identifying themselves? I'm not implying any sinister motives are afoot--I just don't understand the practice.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

                          I'd like to respond to the continued bashing of Carol Lewis, but I think I'll wait until posters use their real names.

                          Can someone explain to me why some people can be so opinionated about people and issues on boards like this without identifying themselves? I'm not implying any sinister motives are afoot--I just don't understand the practice.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

                            And I feel so strongly about the issue that I had to post my feelings twice(:-)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Carol Lewis bashing-A Response

                              I don't know how to break this to you, Walter, but there are an awful lot of track insiders on this Board--people who in one way or another would jeopardize personal relationships by saying what's on their mind and signing the messages with their real names. So they (we) have a choice. We either use fictitious names, or we refrain from making what we think could be important contributions to a discussion. Of course, the only ones you ever see are those who choose the first option. They (we) believe that what we have to say is worth saying, and they (we) don't think that the value of their contributions is diminished by the fact that they are speaking anonymously.

                              By the way, I have not previously posted on this thread, but I have posted on other threads either anonymously or under a pseudonym. So I understand the dilemma.

                              Comment

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