Saturday, November 6, 2010

Please Re-Peat This ... Four Times


If Bob Costas, Jim Lampley, the other NBC Sports anchors, or their army of Olympic researchers and interns, are online to gear up for the London 2012 Olympic commentary, I hope they'll read this post.

Because on my desk is a copy of a page-turning academic paper my good friend J. Brian Carberry got published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Olympic History.

In his report titled The Olympic 4-Peat -- A Rare Achievement, Carberry presents his case as to why the terms "Olympic Four-Peat" (changed here to match AP Style), "Olympic Three-Peat" or similar should be added to the Olympic and sports lexicon.

That definition states that to achieve the rare Olympic Four-Peat one must take home the gold medal in four consecutive Olympic competitions in the same sport/discipline. An example: Carl Lewis winning his fourth gold medal in the long jump at the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. One blogger used the term in 2004 to describe the original/first Olympic Four-Peater, Al Oerter.
(11/7/2010 correction: Oerter was not the original/first Olympic Four-Peater.)

Carberry also charts the history of past or potential Olympic Four-Peats, including 15 athletes -- five women and 10 men -- who may Olympic Four-Peat themselves into the history books AND Carberry's updated research during the Games of the XXXth Olympiad.

Yes, we are shopping for tickets to attend the potential Olympic Four-Peats (as stated in my previous post, Carberry and I also seek tickets so we may achieve a personal Olympic Three-Peat in spectating at the women's beach volleyball final in 2012).

Following Carberry's six-page report, a 10-page chart provides excruciating yet thorough detail about Olympic Three-Peat and Olympic Four-Peat achievements in modern Olympic history (only eight Olympians achieved Olympic Four-Peats thus far -- remarkable.

Commentators should clamor to describe the one-time Olympic Five-Peat (would that also be an Olympic Pent-Peat or Olympic Pente-Peat) and the single Olympic Six-Peat (Olympic Sex-Peat?) winners in history, Hungarian fencers Pál Kovács and Aladár Gerevich, respectively. CNN.com features a nice write-up about Gerevich.

By way of this post, I am encouraging Carberry to set up his own website, Facebook page and blog to showcase and elevate the terminology he proposed should have more prominence. This way, Brian and others will be able to continue to build a case for the Olympic Four-Peat vocabulary to achieve mainstream status in sports coverage and conversation.
An online resource dedicated to this topic will permit more interactive history and discussion on this topic, and give fans a place to reference -- in real time from London 2012 -- the status of the upcoming Olympic Four-Peat contenders.

To inspire Mr. Carberry to get online and get busy, I added an "Olympic Four-Peat" statement to the Al Oerter page on Wikipedia.
(11/7/2010 update: Because this statement was incorrect, it was later edited from the Wikipedia page; I stand corrected.)

And send a copy of the article to Mr. Costas -- he needs to read it.
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