Bill Littlefield is not hosting Only A Game this week because he’s in London, taking in some sights and watching the Olympic Games. He checked in with guest host Karen Given to fill us in on his trip.
On Thursday, when the U.S. women’s soccer team won the gold medal in a thrilling match against Japan, Littlefield was in the Albion Pub in the Blackfriars section of London watching the game while, as he said, everyone else seeemed to be “waiting for Usain Bolt to run faster than everyone else.”
Though he didn’t try to use his position as the host of NPR’s only sports program to get any special treatment at the Games, Bill has enjoyed watching the events in the stands. “It’s much better than most press boxes I’ve been in,” he said.
On Tuesday, Littlefield saw some gymnastics, including Aly Raisman’s gold-medal winning triumph, but he said the real star of the show that day was Dutch male gymnast Epke Zonderland.
“It was one of those things where the whole arena just went nuts,” Bill said. “Every move was more spectacular than the last. If that guy hadn’t gotten the gold medal, the people would’ve torn the place apart.”
Littlefield got to check out the U.S. men’s basketball team’s quarterfinal win against Australia, but for him, the highlight was the previous game. That’s when Argentina beat Brazil, sending Argentinian fans into song for much of the first half of the Americans’ game.
While NBC’s coverage of the Games focuses on American athletes and their accomplishments, Littlefield said British broadcasts focus on their hometown heroes, too.
“If you watch the standard BBC channels, you would be led to think that’s it’s only the performance of various bicycle riders, people on horseback and rowers that matter because their all Brits.”