"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
The three-minute biography is as indispensable to NBC’s Olympic coverage as Bob Costas thoughtfully stroking his upper lip. Sporting careers are short, Olympic sports are obscure, and the games are a quadrennial happening — so most athletes have only one chance to win a medal. Which means we have only one chance to learn about them.
These are the eight athletes Salon would most like to see profiled on the Olympic broadcast. Not all of them have a chance to win a medal — although Dawn Harper already has a gold — but they all represent how sports can inspire a nation, a gender or a generation.
Edward McClelland is the author of "Nothin' But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times and Hopes of America's Industrial Heartland." Follow him on Twitter at @tedmcclelland.More Edward McClelland.