Like everyone, I am enjoying the catfighting among our men's speedskaters. But I think that NBC really back the wrong horse, er cat, in this fight.
I first saw Chad Hedrick on the Today Show a few weeks before the Olympics. They explained, with no apparent irony, that his nickname is "The Exception." Shouldn't that have been the first clue that this guy was an arrogant jerk? I mean, what normal person would allow himself to be marketed this way?
Clue number two came after he got his first gold medal. One of the NBC anchors relayed an anecdote about how his parents saw Laura Bush in the stands and told her that they were Bush people and she responded that they were Chad Hedrick people. This is not a political blog, but let me just say that this story did not endear him to me.
Then came his pouting about Shani Davis pulling out of the team pursuit, thereby denying him his chance to win five golds (that, and the fact that he lost to Davis in two subsequent races). Clearly, there is a long history here, but the obvious racial overtones of a white southerner accusing the only black athlete on the team of being selfish and unpatriotic are a bit uncomfortable.
It's hard to see how NBC hero-anointing machinery went so wrong, especially when they picked Hedrick over the adorable Joey Cheek, who has no annoying nickname, and donated all of his winnings to poor African children. I'm not ready to declare Joey Cheeck my Olympic boyfriend, but I'll take him over Chad Hedrick and his creepily perfect teeth any day.