COMMENTS: Poor Ping Pong Caliber

As for the Olympic Games themselves, swimmer Michael Phelps attracted the attention of all three networks as he surpassed compatriots Mark Spitz and Carl Lewis with his eleventh career gold medal. NBC Sports Analyst Rowdy Gaines, a swimmer himself, marveled that Phelps won his butterfly gold with goggles full of blinding water: "It is going through this dark forest where you are just kind of feeling your way." CBS' Barry Petersen and ABC's David Muir had their reports confined to the broadcast medium for fear of violating online copyright. NBC's closer was a ping pong up-close-&-personal. Carl Quintanilla introduced us to Wang Chen, a Chinese immigrant to New York City, who failed to qualify for her native land's Olympic team in 1996 and 2000. Now 34 years old, she is swinging a paddle for the United States. There is a ping pong club in the Big Apple with her name on it but her "biggest challenge has actually been finding players of her caliber with whom to practice." Quintanilla faced her at the table to evince his own shortcomings in that regard.


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