All records are first-ever, new
Sharing a few thoughts:
You can always count on the Olympics impressing, whether it’s the summer games or the winter games, and the 2014 edition from Sochi has not disappointed.
The different events are always interesting to watch. While each of the sports that make up the games has an annual or biannual championship, and competition is held on a regular basis, it’s interesting every four years to get re-acquainted with figure skating, downhill skiing, bobsledding (two- and four-person), luge, skeleton, short track skating and biathlon.
It’s also a time to became acquainted with sports that are a little newer, such as the snowboarding. Apparently there’s still a debate about whether it should be an Olympic event, but after watching the slopestyle competition on the opening weekend, such arguments appear to be foolish – the young women and men who compete in that sport are certainly elite athletes.
Coverage of the Olympics also brings out more than few pet peeves of mine, especially when it comes to some of the stock phrases that pop up during coverage.
For example, viewers of Olympic programming heard on more than one occasion about something being the “first-ever,” as in the “first-ever back-to-back gold medalist” or the winner of the “first-ever competition.” Lose the ever – if something is the first, it’s the first. It’s never happened before. No further explanation needed.
Not too far behind is the infamous new record. Every time a record is set, at any time in any sport, it is an accomplishment that has never happened before – it’s a record. Putting new before the record does not make it any more impressive or important or do any more to describe what has happened. It’s just redundant.
Those two examples are cousins of another phrase that doesn’t turn up all that often when the Olympics are discussed, but comes up quite frequently in our day-to-day business. That, of course, is the old favorite “first-annual event.” Just so we’re clear, an event can only be classified as an annual event when it’s been held in at least two successive years.
If an event has never been held before, it’s simply the first, but if you really insist, a simple disclaimer reading that it is hoped the event will be held annually can work.
That said, you still have another week to sit back and enjoy the Olympics and marvel in all the first-ever new records that are just waiting out there to be set.
In addition to the Olympics, there were a couple of events that happened earlier this month that certainly offered reason for pause.
The first happened on Feb. 6 when Jay Leno made his final appearance as host of “The Tonight Show.” That show brought the curtain down on Leno’s 22-year run on late-night television. Throw in the 30 years his predecessor, Johnny Carson, spent hosting “Tonight,” and you can get an idea of the kind of influence the two had on many aspects of American life during their reigns at the top of the late-night genre.
Jimmy Fallon, who takes over as “Tonight Show” host on Monday, is a worthy successor to the legacy left by Carson and Leno (much more so than Conan O’Brien, as NBC learned the hard way during several months in late 2009 and early 2010), and, it’s a sure bet he’ll put his own spin on the franchise.
That’s not a bad thing, either. Remember that when Carson left his post in 1992, there was much discussion about the selection of Leno and the “Tonight Show” format. Any criticisms and concerns proved to be unfounded.
The other major event happened last Sunday when we had the chance to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”
It proved once again what many generations have known – their music is timeless and is as fresh and interesting today as it was in 1964.
(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)