Bela Karolyi Gives Bob Costas Fits
We don't do YouTube clips here at NBfPB because we ain't that sophisticated, but I hope that someone somewhere posts Bela Karolyi accusing the gold-medal winning Chinese girls, er sorry, women's gymnastics team of cheating in his commentary with a visibly nervous Bob Costas. The first exchange went something like this...
Karolyi: "The Chinese react differently to the pressure because they are 14 year old girls and the Americans are, comparatively, women."
Costas: "Yes, but all the Chinese gymnasts' passports say they meet the age requirement of 16, so it is cool."
Karolyi: (in his irrepressible, 'I know how Communist governments work Bob' way) "Well, of course their passports say that, they're issued by the government, but nobody with a brain thinks those Chinese girls are a day over 14."
Then the hand. Costas reaches over and lays a hand on Karolyi's shoulder as if to say, "OK, old man, you've said enough." The camera fades just enough to make it not so obvious, but the body language was unmistakable, Costas was hard pressed to administer his ultimate responsibility to not dare insult NBC's host/overlords, the Chinese government.
Then, imagine my amazement when, in the wrap-up segment, they let Karolyi speak again, where he continued to go after the Chinese. Basically, he said, they won but they cheated and shame on them. Costas seemed helpless to stop it. I wonder if Karolyi promised to play nice after the first go 'round and reneged or what, but it was comical. Costas rarely gets rattled, but you could see his discomfort. Don't worry Bob, the Chinese won't send you to re-education camp!