less is better...
Running! Diving! Gymnastics! We cover all the major venues
• After Bob's intro we go straight to the Bird's Nest,
which once again has that great tracking shot over the top
of the stadium. This time it starts further out, which makes
it obvious it must be a helicopter shot. I have no way of
knowing when they shot it, though. Heck, for all I know,
they might be using the same shot every day.
The first event, the women's 200m quarterfinal. In the first
three races, three Americans and three Jamaicans advance
to the semifinals. Rematch!
Liu Xiang fluff! You remember, the Chinese hurdler? Tom Hammond
says his withdrawal prompted national mourning. And then
they proceed to show us proof by playing some sad Chinese
music while showing still pictures of Chinese people looking
sad. It's all so sad. Sad. Sad. Sad. Or so I determined from
looking at pictures of eight out of a billion Chinese citizens.
I'm sure the rest are just as sad. At least we didn't
have to listen to Jimmy Roberts talk about it. Fluff!
Great tracking shot of Dayron Robles of Cuba as he wins his
heat in the 110m hurdles. The rolling track camera is perfectly
timed with him and because he was so far in front, he was
the only person in the slow-motion shot. It looked like a
training video. Good job, NBC.
David Oliver, U.S. hurdler, gets some fluffette. Turns out
he wants to win. Shocker!
Chevy Gold Medal Spotlight. Now we're talking some fluff.
U.S. 400m runner Sanya Richards was dating Aaron Ross,
now a football player on the New York Giants. He proposed
to her right before a
game. Awww.... Can you get any more fluffy than a wedding
Anyway, they both claim to be fast, and he's challenging
her to a race. Actually, this could be interesting. Ross
ran a 4.44 40-yard-dash in the NFL
Combine, so he's no slouch, but she's still the favorite
to get gold, so she's no pushover either. Let's see what
Psh! They wimp out! Instead of a real race we get a fake
fire trail and Ross left behind in the dust. As if fluff
wasn't bad enough, now we had to inject some kind of battle-of-the-sexes
thing into it. Oh well, what did I expect? Fluff!
American Troy Dumais likes diving in China because the Chinese
are so good, and if you're going to beat them, this would
be the place. Fluffette!
Sure enough, the Chinese are good, and He Chong of China
wins. Troy Dumais finishes sixth. I guess he spent too
admiring the Chinese.
NBC has sort of a fluff/ad hybrid. A "flad," maybe?
It consists of clips from previous events while a voiceover
talks about events yet to come. I don't know what exactly
as I'm concerned, flad equals fluff.
Math time! Shots of Usain Bolt running PLUS quotes about
his 100m race EQUALS Bolt fluffette.
Bolt and the United States' Shawn
Crawford finish one-two in the 200m semifinal. That race
ought to be good.
Mary Carillo reports today about kite flying in the windy
city of Weifang, the self-described center of kiting
universe. She has a simple diamond kite, and is intrigued
by the other people in the park doing kite fighting. She
wants to fight but the locals tell her that her kite wouldn't
a chance. Back in the studio she shows Bob the string that
fighting kites use and it's covered with crushed glass
and glue. A Dutch man had told Mary that he knew someone
that had lost an ear. Costas says, "They Van Goghed him?"
Okay, that was a good line at the end, but really this whole
thing was pretty boring. In fact, almost all of Mary Carillo's
stories have been boring. Oh, they're interesting in a "I'd
like to read an article about that" sort of way, but not
in a "let's watch this instead of events" sort of way. Fluff.
• And now we're over
to gymnastics, where we only have one more night to spend
with Tim, Al, and Elfi. I know, I can hear
you crying already.
Jeremy Wariner, the Athens gold medal winner for the U.S.
in the 400m, wants to run faster than last time. I never
would have guessed that without this fluffette. Jeremy wins
Sanya Richards should race fast because she has aerodynamic
elbow sleeves. But I'm worried that gigantic engagement
ring from Aaron Ross will slow her down. That thing's a monster.
The race starts, and she
comes out of the last turn with a huge lead, but then
just too much
meters. Bronze for Sanya.
Afterwards with Bob Neumeier, Sanya
said her leg cramped about 20 meters into the straightaway.
That would explain
how her she lost such a big lead. Ato Boldon, however,
seems unconvinced. When Tom asks him for his analysis, Ato
he doesn't see anything indicating a cramp. For Sanya's
sake, I hate to admit it, but I think Ato's right. Ato talks
us through the replay, and her stride never
changed in the stretch. I think she was just out of gas.
Good analysis by Ato.
The nice thing about tape delayed coverage is we can go immediately
to the next event, the women's 100m hurdles final, featuring
Lolo Jones. Go Lolo! Also running for the US., Damu Cherry
Oh no, Lolo! Lolo hits the ninth hurdle, and
although she didn't fall, it slowed her enough to finish
out of the medals.
But the winner, Dawn Harper of the U.S.! Yay, Dawn!
interviews Lolo afterwards and she's very gracious about
her mistake. Later, however, NBC has a heartbreaking
shot of Jones standing alone in the stadium tunnel, overcome
with emotion. Again, can't we get the track and field production
crew to work the gymnastics next time?
Speaking of gymnastics, we're back with Al, Tim, and Elfi
for the women's balance beam. Cheng Fei of China goes first,
and even though she blows a couple of moves she still gets
a high score. Both Tim and Elfi say it's too high. Al says
it's too high. But none of them will say what you know Bela
would say, which is that they suspect it's a bit of homer-ism.
That's why Bela should be the analyst in London in 2012.
Do it, NBC!
Incidentally, we've gone over 32 minutes without a commercial
break right now. I love it!
Fall, stumble, fall, stumble... nobody's doing well tonight.
That leaves the door wide open for a one-two American finish
for Johnson and Liukin. First up, Shawn Johnson.
really good. She bounces a little on the landing, but high-ranking
Team Rockwood member Sandy says she's the
best so far. Let's see if the judges agree.
Yes they do! Shawn's
in first and NOW NBC decides to go to a commercial, 44
minutes after the last break. Way to build
the suspense, Peacock.
Back from the break, and Nastia's up. Wouldn't that be sad
if she tied for first AGAIN? Oooo... it was realllly good.
I'm thinking one-two. If it isn't, I'm personally going to
contact Bela and have him throw a fit for me. And the result
Second for Nastia! First for Shawn! One gymnast to go!
The last gymnast stumbles! U.S.A., gold-silver! Shawn smiles
as big as ever
and searches the crowd to find her mom and dad, then points "number
one" at them when she does. NBC has a shot of the parents,
and Mom and Dad point "number one" back. Mom is
shaking and starts crying. Dad gives her a big hug. This
is better and more emotional than any fluff segment that
NBC has produced in the entire Olympics.
And did Shawn sing? Sigh. No. Well, nobody's
• And now
we're live in the studio with Bob and Bela, joined by Shawn
Johnson and her coach, Liang Chow. It's a pleasant interview,
I suppose, but I think that Chow actually has a
more interesting story. Oh, well. NBC's been waiting for
Shawn to win a gold medal for the whole games, so now we
finally got it out of the way. Fluff!
Last up tonight, the men's high bar in gymnastics.
Netherlands gymnast is named Epke Zonderland. Epke Zonderland!
Shout it out loud! GO ZONDERLAND! Oof! His crash was as spectacular
as his name. It's too bad he fell,
his routine was great.
The first Chinese gymnast did well, but
everyone else has had problems. And now the door is open
for Norman, Oklahoma's
Jonathan Horton. Boomer Sooner, baby! Wooooo!!! Okay, he
stepped on the landing, but the rest of the routine was
Sandy says definitely medal, I say gold. SECOND?! Oh, come
ON! Even the Chinese crowd is booing. He finished .025
behind China's Zou Kai. I'll bet Bela is going nuts, now.
to go, but I'd have a hard time believing that both could
score higher than that.
The next gymnast up is France's Yann Cucherat. He falls.
Horton is guaranteed third. Igor Cassina of Italy is the
bar gymnast, and he is the reigning Olympic champ. Tim
says he misses an element and that means Horton will get
And he's right!
Mom and Dad Horton are waving flags, hugging,
and crying, much like Shawn Johnson's parents. There must
be some gymnastics'
parents code that I don't know about. Jonathan points at
the camera and says, "Silver medal, baby! Woooo!" Seems
like we just said something like that.
It's hard to find much to complain about when we get to
see 44 straight minutes of events. Okay, that's not true.
I can ALWAYS find things to complain about, but I was pleased
with the coverage today. Good job, NBC!