Lucky number seven...
And you know what that seven is, right? Of course you do.
And "lucky" is a good way to describe it...
• We begin tonight at The Water Cube, with Bob Costas
talking to Rowdy Gaines about Michael Phelps. Their actual
discussion here is irrelevant ("Is Phelps the greatest
thing since our Olympic broadcasting contracts?"), because
what is really amazing is that Rowdy is saying something
without yelling it. Who knew he had another volume?
Chevy Gold Medal Spotlight. It doesn't always mean fluff.
In this case, it's just Chevy sponsoring a specific race
(the 4x100-meter medley relay qualifier). Anything to show
Michael Phelps again. Except... Phelps isn't even swimming
in this one. But he might be later. He and Ian Crocker, who
IS swimming now, might trade places later. It's all
a little odd. I would think that you'd have to keep the
same team throughout, but
I guess that's not the way it works.
Here are Al, Tim, and Elfi with a fluffy look back at Nastia
and Shawn, the triumphant American gymnasts who finished
1-2 last night. Or, more accurately, early this morning.
Is this fluff? Hmm... yes and no. They do have some slow-motion
footage, but mostly it's just a replay from last night. After
all, most people in the Eastern and Central time zones didn't
stay up until the end since it was after midnight.
I'm going to make an executive decision here and say that--provided
they avoid the slow-motion and the sappy music-- I'll count
this as "events." Don't make
me regret this, NBC.
I know it's the proper gymnastics terminology, but saying "preparing
to mount the floor" just sounds funny. What are you
doing before you mount the floor? Hovering?
Last night, when gymnastics was live, Tim Daggett said that
Shawn Johnson couldn't get a high enough score to beat Nastia
Liukin. Tonight, to build the drama, he says that she COULD
have gotten a high enough score. LIAR! It's as if they still
want Shawn to win the gold. Is it not enough that she needed
a good score to win to silver? That, at least, was true.
I thought there was plenty of drama last night when it was
live, why does Tim feel the need to manufacture some drama
Bela and Bob interview Shawn and Nastia. It's fluff, but
it's a good interview. This was actually taped just a few
hours after the competition, so Bela is wearing the same
clothes as last night. The best part is when they show Bela's
reaction to Nastia's floor routine. It's just as good the
Hey, it's track-and-field! Apparently the entire U.S. 1,500-meter
team is made up of people who immigrated from eastern Africa.
Bernard Legat previously ran for Kenya and Lopez Lomong is
We learn a little more about Lamong via a 30 second
fluffette segment. He was one of the Lost Boys of Sudan
to the United States.
He really has an inspiring story and,
actually, a 30-second fluff piece doesn't do it justice.
Go read this bio
of Lomong, written by banned-from-China
Go ahead. We'll be here when you get back.
It's a beautiful blue-sky day at LIVE beach volleyball. Blue
sky? We must not be in Beijing.
Sandy wants to know what's
up with the women in bikinis standing courtside before
the men's beach volleyball match. Are they
And is it just me or does the U.S.'s Phil Dalhausser
look like a taller version of James Carville? I would presume
the Rajin' Cajun doesn't have as good of a set shot,
In the middle of the second Dalhausser and Rogers' second
set, we get a quick view of the machine the Chinese use to
maintain the sand in the beach volleyball arena. Announcer
Chris Marlowe dubs it the "sand-boni." Sideline
reporter Heather Cox even gives us a rundown of its
which include churning, cleaning, and smoothing the sand.
Best of all, this little tidbit doesn't count as fluff, because
they do it between points. That was interesting, NBC. Keep
doing things like that.
The Americans lost the second set and after a short commercial
break, we come back to find them down 6-0 to the Swiss team
of Martin Laciga and Jan Schnider. But just like that, the
U.S. comes back and the score gets tied 8-8. Laciga, who
not talking to his brother when they were teammates in the
Athens Games, starts berating his current teammate. Nice
AHHH! The score is tied 9-9 (they go to 15)
and NBC cuts over to swimming so we can see, LIVE, the
women's 200 meter
backstroke. Not to nitpick here, but this isn't a Phelps
race, and the Americans swimming in this one aren't even
favored. Why not tape delay this race instead of the volleyball?
Kirsty Coventry wins easily. America's Margaret Hoelzer
gets the silver. BOOM! Just like that we're back
to volleyball, where Dalhausser and Rogers have a 14-13
lead over Laciga and Schnider. Match point! And the U.S.
15-13, two sets to one!
BOOM! Back to swimming. NOW it's a
Michael Phelps race. Yes, LIVE! This is the finals of the
100-meter butterfly. Now
that I see how closely all of these events are to each
other, it makes sense that NBC cut away when they did.
And the race
is on for gold medal number seven. Phelps trails Serbia's
Milorad Cavic at the turn, but is expected to make
it up on the back. Except he doesn't! Cavic's still ahead!
PHELPS IS GOING TO LOSE! And...
HE WINS! Oh my God,
he wins! As if everything else he did wasn't enough, he
wins this race by one hundreth of a second. How?!
I don't know, Rowdy doesn't know, even Phelps' mom, Debbie,
holds up two fingers, thinking he placed second. But then
the results come up and we see the replay. Yep. Phelps
touched first. Unbelievable. Un-freakin'-believable. Debbie
to her knees she's so stunned. Great, great shot NBC. Yes,
I know they always have a shot of his mom, but it's still
a great look. Wow. Just... wow.
Andrea Kramer interviews Phelps
afterwards and even he's speechless. Seven gold medals
in one games. Great job, Michael.
Cris Collinsworth is back for some fluff, talking with Kobe
Bryant. I can't say I've been the biggest Kobe fan in the
past, but it's clear how moved he is to be playing for the
U.S.A., which he says maybe wasn't emphasized enough by U.S.A.
players in the previous years. It's a pretty good interview,
about Kobe and not about how Cris wants us to feel. Still,
Collinsworth looks like a middle manager that just got home
from the office. C'mon, Cris. It's the biggest audience in
the world. Couldn't you at least wear a tie? Fluff!
Back at the pool, Andrea Kramer says that Serbia has filed
a protest regarding Phelps' win. I doubt anything will come
of it, but after that finish, I can hardly blame them for
disputing this one.
It's time for Michael Phelps' medal ceremony. Will he sing?
Of course he won't. But at least he looks happy on the stand
this time (unlike previous
times). Maybe now that he has
number seven and some of the pressure is off
of him, he can enjoy it.
And the protest
is dead. Andrea Kramer reports that FINA has disallowed
it. That was resolved a lot faster than I
thought it would be. I thought we'd be hearing about it
It's old folks time at The Water Cube! In the women's 50-meter
freestyle, 41-year-old American Dara Torres is about to race.
She leaves her walker by the side of the pool and then asks
an official to delay the race because Swedish racer Therese
Alshammar has a tear in her suit. With age comes calm wisdom,
and even though she spends her pre-race preparation helping
Therese, she still finishes first in her heat.
To the Bird's Nest, where we finally have some track and
field to watch. After some Tyson Gay fluffette, we get to
watch him race in the 100-meters. He qualifies to move on.
Big shock there. I just want to point out here that I loooooove
the camera that rolls along the side of the track with the
racers. It really gives you a good feel for just how fast
Jamaica sprinter Asafa Powell fluffette. He's, like, fast.
Fortunately, so is his fluff.
After a taste of track and field, we jump over to men's volleyball,
featuring the U.S. beating China. This is the first game
back for head coach Hugh McCutcheon, whose father-in-law
was murdered by a Chinese citizen on the first day of the
games. On the one hand, I can't believe that incident would
make any difference for the team, but on the other hand,
this is as sharp as I've seen them look since the games started.
The U.S. wins in a three set sweep.
Back in the studio, Bob interviews Michael Phelps and previous
gold medal record holder, Mark Spitz. Phelps reveals to Bob
that even he can't believe he beat Cavic in the 100-meter
butterfly earlier. Mark Spitz, meanwhile, sounds like a motivational
speaker while praising Phelps and his accomplishments.
asks both swimmers, who is the best Olympian? Phelps waffles
a bit, but surprisingly, Spitz flat out states that he thinks
it's Phelps. Spitz is surprisingly eloquent, although he
does sound like he's been rehearsing this speech for a
while. Phelps on the other hand, sounds like a 23-year-old
with lots of stuttering. But hey, he's got seven gold medals.
I can't be too hard on the guy.
Congratulations to Michael Phelps, all-time gold medal record
holder. He certainly made it exciting tonight, even though
his extended end-of-the-show interview added mightily to
the fluff count. But even my hard, cold heart has to admit
that some fluff is worthy, like if you tie the record for
most gold medals at an Olympics. Tomorrow he might break
the record, but that doesn't mean I condone the fluff. Be
careful NBC. I'm watching you. See you tomorrow.