Jeremy Wariner came to Beijing with very high expectations. The 400 meter machine arrived in China, setting off the airport metal detectors in style—with his two gold medals from the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Okay, his medals didn't actually set off detectors. Maybe it was the sunglasses, without which Wariner seemed merely human. Or the big chain, which seemed to act as a temporary place-holder for Wariner's third gold.
Alright, Wariner didn't actually set off the detectors (at least not to this writer's knowledge). In fact, the only thing Wariner had in mind to set was a new world record.
Instead, the aloof sprinter found himself draped with the American flag, honored with representing second place, a silver, in the 400 meter dash. He placed between fellow Americans LaShawn Merritt (gold) and David Neville.
Neville. Kind of like the '60s R&B singer Aaron Neville, famed for hit singles like "Everybody Plays the Fool" (sooo smooth!). It would have been the perfect song for Bob Newmeyer, who interviewed Wariner on the track after the race.
See, Wariner had trained with coach Clyde Hart, who himself possessed two golds in the 400 meter event. So when Wariner changed coaches, electing to go with Michael Ford in 2008, many questioned the necessity and the reasons behind the move.
Enter NBC' s sideline interviewer, Bob Newmeyer. The "fool" drew the unlucky right to interview the already short-tempered Wariner. Wariner answered Newmeyer's first question amicably enough, explaining that he was disappointed with his finish, but was ready to try to win his next race, a relay.
Newmeyer then asked the obligatory question about the coaching change. Wariner replied quickly, and without edge, that he was sorry but he would not be answering questions related to that subject matter.
Of course, Newmeyer couldn't accept that, and had to push the now sunglasses-less Wariner. He began to speculate on the coaching change.
Wariner, visibly upset, left before Newmeyer could finish. The reporter just managed to make a face into the camera as if he was totally unaware of his superfluous question, and that it had cost viewers any more information about the race that Wariner could have provided.
Mr. Newmeyer, please respect the athletes. They respect you. They come over to you after their second place finishes and heart-breaking losses (see: Lolo Jones). They don't curse. They don't cry. They answer brainless questions with a smile or a kind of softness.
Treat them the way they treat you.