Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines

Verbal Performances of Jason Lezak's 4x100 Olympic Freestyle Relay Leg

Original U.S. Broadcast 11 August 2008 on NBC from Beijing, China


"Le Split"



 [AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from the audio] 1

Hicks: France has taken the lead up there in Lane 5 over the United States. Alain Bernard awaits as the anchor guy. And Jason Lezak is going to have to make up some ground on Alain Bernard, who stands six-feet-five [6'5"] and can absolutely fly.


Gaines: I just don't think they can do it, Dan. I mean, Jason Lezak has been there. How many times in his career has he anchored this free relay and medley relay?

    Gaines: But I -- I just don't think he can do it.

         Gaines: He's trying to ride that wave as much as possible.

      Hicks: Bernard is pulling away from him. Lezak --

        Gaines: Look at the world record line.

Hicks: -- a three time Olympian. The world record is absolutely going to  be  shattered here.2 The United States [is] trying to hang on to second. They should get the silver medal. Australia is in bronze territory right now --

Hicks: -- but Lezak is closing a little bit on Bernard! Can the veteran chase him down and pull off a shocker here?!

Gaines: Well there's no doubt that he's tightening it up!

Hicks: Bernard is losing some ground!!


              Here comes Lezak!!! 


                         Hicks: HE'S DONE IT!! THE U.S. HAS DONE IT!!

                Gaines: HE DID IT!

                     Hicks: A new world record!

                                 Gaines: HE DID IT! HE DID IT!


Hicks: [Michael] Phelps's hope's [are] alive!

Gaines: That might be the most incredible relay split I've ever seen in my entire life. Not only was that the fastest in history -- it BLEW AWAY the fastest in history.

1 Note on the extended audio "SD" version above: In a news conference prior to the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, France's Alain Bernard stated: "The Americans? We're going to SMASH them. That's what we came here for." [emphasis added] These remarks are included in the "Simulated AM Radio" version above.

2 Five of the eight teams -- the United States (3:08.24), France (3:08.32), Australia (3:09.91), Italy (3:11.48), and Sweden (3:11.92) -- beat the previous world record of 3:12.23, established in a preliminary heat by the United States at these same Olympic games. The latter achievement was remarkable in its own right, as a group of relatively unheralded American swimmers -- Nathan Adrian, Cullen Jones, Ben Wildman-Tobriner, and Matthew Grevers -- beat the previous world record set in 2006 by the United States at the Pan-Pacific Championships, a team which included Michael Phelps and Jason Lezak. Of the members who competed in the 2008 Olympic preliminary heat for the United States, Cullen Jones' swam the fastest leg (47:61) and thereby earned a spot in the final heat.

Questions for Students: 1. What impressions (cognitive and affective) does the artifact above (text, audio, images, sound only) produce in you? 2. What kind of impressions do you think the artifact might produce in someone outside the U.S.? In France? 3. The artifact above (text, audio, images) can be interpreted as coordinating and integrating momentum or movement to produce two different races. Explain. 4. What role does image color play in the interpretation  of the artifact above. What is the interpretive significance does the title/catch phrase "The/Le "Split" and of its strategic placement? 5. The audio performances of Hicks and Gaines above have been described as "manic" and "way over the top." Such judgments are, of course, relative -- subjective, culturally-situated. However, there are objective aspects to the performances from which subjective judgments are calculated. Consider the following verbal attributes: volume, rate (number of words per 10 second block of time), pace (variation in rate across 10 second intervals, including relatively longer and shorter pauses), enunciation, pitch (vocal highness and lowness), staccato ("punching" of words and phrases) and their variation over the length of the clip. Do the same with the French and British audio clips for comparative purposes. What are the key objective differences across the verbal performances? How do these differences contribute to the relative perceptions and judgments of auditors?

Page Updated: 7/28/19

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