Oh, my, essayist Enberg sure can tell a story

Media Watch

July 22, 1996|By MILTON KENT

In this era of the glib and overly polished sportscaster, the guy who writes out and tosses off his best lines in hopes that television sports columnists will note his "spontaneity," NBC's Dick Enberg stands practically alone.

Enberg, the network's lead football voice and nightly essayist during the Olympics, is that increasingly rare breed of sportscaster whose work consistently is of high quality. In the early days of these Games, Enberg, the best storyteller of his era, is up to his usual.

Paired with Bob Costas, Enberg was wonderful as co-host of Friday night's opening ceremonies, and so far, his nightly "Moments" essays have been moving.

Saturday's piece on the little-known and little-reported people and aspects of the opening ceremonies was a touching reintroduction to the series he began in Barcelona, Spain, in 1992.

Last night's story on Dominique Dawes, the Gaithersburg native and member of the U.S. gymnastics team, was Emmy-award caliber. He followed the 19-year-old over the five years since she burst onto the national scene at a meet that he called.

Sure, the violins were a bit mushy and the focus on Dawes' tears was slightly overboard, but Enberg's tale opened a window on a talented performer who has been shaded by Shannon Miller and Dominique Moceanu. It was yet another special moment from a special announcer.

The good

Yesterday wasn't a particularly sterling day from an announcer standpoint, but the pictures and sounds from virtually every venue were striking.

From the sounds of feet striking the balance beam to the sights of the water splashing from the pool, NBC's audio and video teams beautifully captured the day.

The best work came from the camera operator who got the shot of gymnast Jaycie Phelps' toes, as she unsuccessfully tried to stay on the balance beam during the compulsory competition seen in last night's prime-time telecast.

The bad

During the afternoon session, reporter John Dockery seemed determined to wring every last ounce of emotion, present or not, from a post-match interview with Greco-Roman wrestler Dennis Hall, virtually coaxing him to say that some of the inspiration for his win was his late brother.

The less than honest

In setting up the U.S. women's basketball team's game with Cuba, afternoon co-host Ahmad Rashad noted that a gold medal would boost a new professional league, which will be televised next summer by, of course, NBC.

Rashad conveniently didn't mention that another league, which has commitments from nine Olympic team members, will start play this fall, and won't be televised by NBC.

Pub Date: 7/22/96

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