CNN's Piers Morgan got caught Tuesday evening behaving like a dirty old man.
After shamelessly flirting with Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. women's soccer goalie Hope Solo, the sixteen years his junior guest eventually asked, "You're telling me you watched our final because I'm hot?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: What is strange is that women's soccer in America seems to me to be a much bigger sport than men's soccer, and certainly much more interest in the women's Olympic team, I felt, just talking to people, I guess because of the sense that you may win it. But why is that, do you think?
HOPE SOLO: We've come a long way, let's be honest. Men's soccer as well has come a long way in America. The women are just that good. Let's be honest. We're number one in the world. And Americans like success. It is a beautiful game, and I think for the first time in the last few years, Americans are starting to see the beauty in the game of soccer. You look at our World Cup last year, our epic game against Brazil in the quarterfinals, our loss against Japan, our heartbreaking loss. And then you move on to the Olympics, we played with so much passion and beauty, but also the drama. I mean, we have captivated the audience because of the dramatic games that we've won.
MORGAN: It's also not unhelpful that you radiate beauty yourself, is it, Hope?
SOLO: Yeah, you know what, that's not true though. That's what I'm saying is for the first time the game speaks for itself, period. The game is beautiful.
MORGAN: But it is true. Hope, you can't deny the undeniable.
SOLO: I'm not denying anything.
MORGAN: You are extremely glamorous. You just have to admit it.
SOLO: But we have a fan base because we're hard core. We're athletes. I mean, you take a player like Abby Wambach, she goes in hard for tackles. She wins air balls that no other player can, men or women. And that's why people love us. People love us because they see women playing a sport with so much heart, so much passion, and just so much grit that you rarely see in women. It’s not about our looks.
MORGAN: How do you feel -- well, listen, you may think that and I -- listen, I think it applies to men as well.
SOLO: I may think that? No, it's true. It is true. What, you're telling me you watched our final because I'm hot?
MORGAN: Honestly? I watched it for the magnificence of your goalkeeping. Obviously.
SOLO: Thank you, perfect. Perfect answer.
Am I getting too old, too conservative, or both? Did that seem like an inappropriate interview on a cable news network in the year 2012?
The reality is that America's female athletes had their best Olympics performance ever this year, actually winning more medals than their male counterparts for the first time since the games began.
To suggest fans were watching the exploits of U.S. women due to their glamour or beauty diminishes their accomplishments. This seems especially true given the controversy surrounding a women's Olympics video NBC posted at its website last week.
As someone that has coached girls in soccer and softball, I wonder when female athletes will be judged solely for their performance and not their attractiveness.
Like many Americans, I was mesmerized and awed by the talent of our nation's women at these Olympics. This shouldn't be diminished by making it all about hormonal urges.
After all, I highly doubt Morgan would have asked Jamaican track star Usain Bolt - someone the CNN host said numerous times on Twitter last week is the greatest athlete of all time - if his popularity is due to his sex appeal and not his speed.