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Wednesday, August 20, 2008



Wet bikini action!

That's sure to produce some odd search engine results, isn't it? But what else can I say? It's what happened...

• It's raining in Beijing, and Bob says because of that they might not be able to bring us BMX racing or beach volleyball. Well, maybe now NBC can show us some taekwondo, because that's indoors and can't get rained out, right? Riiiiight. Here's betting that if we need to fill time, it will be with gymnastics fluff.

•  Platform diving is back, and so is the drop cam! I looooove the drop cam. Of course, I love pretty much everything about the swimming and diving coverage, and have said as much for days. I guess I don't need to say any more about it.

• Some fluffette about how scary it is to jump off of the 10 meter platform. Americans Laura Wilkinson and David Boudia both think it's scary. Yet still they do it. Maybe it's only scary when it's in slow-motion and has spooky music behind it.

• Chevy Gold Medal Spotlight. U.S. diver Laura Wilkinson broke her foot before the Olympic trials in Sydney, but still managed to win gold. Now she's going to be the old veteran diving against girls half her age. Go, old people!

•  Alex Croak of Australia was a gymnast in the Sydney Olympics, got bored and switched to diving, making her a two sport Olympian. We find all of this out while she's preparing to dive. Why can't all of the divers have their trivia delivered like this? Laura Wilkinson's fluff took three minutes and added nothing to the show. Alex Croak's bio was more like what you'd see on a baseball game during an at-bat. It felt much more natural.

• Bob tells us that the LIVE BMX semifinals and finals have been postponed due to rain. Yes! Now we're going to see some different sports, right? HA HA HA HA HA!

• Off to last night's track and field, where we first start with that tracking shot over the top of the stadium. Why am I obsessed with this shot? First, because it's cool. Second, I didn't figure out until tonight how they were doing it. Earlier in the broadcast that camera panned around and it turns out that it IS on a cable not, as I thought yesterday, on a helicopter. It just turns out that the cables run between the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube. That's how it got yesterday's shot from outside of the stadium. That's your camera geekery for the day.

• Now on the track, the men's 110m hurdles semifinal. Cuba's Dayron Robles is skinny and wears glasses. He looks sort of like Urkel. Maybe if he wins he'll do The Urkel Dance. He wins the heat and advances to the final.

• "Crusoe," this fall on NBC. Anyone else think that NBC executives told someone, "Hey, that 'Lost' thing is a hit... can we do something on an island?"

• Oh no. No no no no no. It's the Gymnastics Gala. Is it an event? No. And you know what that means... all of this is fluff. Yes, I know the Beijing Olympic Committee is selling tickets to it, making it officially a part of the Olympics, but I don't care. All it really does is take away time from other events that we could be watching like, say, taekwondo, for instance. Have I mentioned that NBC couldn't find time in its 1,200 hours of programming to show ANY taekwondo?

Well, at least we got to see Chinese gymnast Yang Wei pretend like the pommel horse was an actual horse. Even Al and Tim have a hard time faking a laugh for that one. Blech.

• You know how NBC has been telling us in promo after promo that they have the Super Bowl this year? Well, I can't wait until right after the Super Bowl, when they have the Super Bowl Gala, featuring players from each team just goofing around, not caring if they drop the ball or miss a block. Won't that be great?

• Carl Lewis fluff! I mean, Usain Bolt fluff, but he'd be the first person to win the 100m and 200m in the same Olympics since Carl Lewis in 1984. Wow. Was that really 24 years ago? I'm old. Sooooo old.

• Ato Boldon wants Bolt to break the 200m world record. Or at least he wants Bolt to try this time, and not let up like he did in the 100m dash earlier.

Holy Michael Johnson! Usain Bolt is a freak! And I mean that in a good way. He destroys the field in the 200m and beats Johnson's world record by two hundreths of a second. Ato has nothing to complain about this time as Bolt ran all-out the entire race.

Michael Johnson incidentally, is here to call the race for the BBC and NBC had a camera on him when Bolt broke his record. I'm guessing that since he was laughing that he took it pretty well.

Wait a minute! As third place finisher Wallace Spearmon is walking around with an American flag on his back, officials review the tape and find out he stepped on the inside lane line, which means he's disqualified. Ato takes us to the replay and shows us three instances of Spearmon stepping on the line. Spearmon's DQ moves Shawn Crawford up to third.

But wait another minute! Now Ato shows us that not only did Spearmon step on the line, but so did Churandy Martina of the Netherlands Antilles! If HE gets DQed, too, then Walter Dix would move up to bronze and Shawn would move up to silver. Weirdness at the track!

• Next, the women's 400m hurdles. Jamaica wins gold in another race, as Melaine Walker finishes easily ahead of American Sheena Tosta. What is in the Jamaican water this year?

• After a few hours in real time, but just minutes in our tape-delayed time, the U.S. protest has been upheld, Churandy Martina has been disqualified and Walter Dix, who originally finished fifth, will now be awarded the bronze medal. Can you imagine how crazy all of this would have gotten if Bolt had stepped on the line? Why, even Bela Karolyi would be going nuts!

• Back in the studio, Bob tells us that Bolt's dad says that Usain's secret was eating yams grown on their farm. Yams? What kind of Jamaican water are they using in those yams?

• A LIVE look in at beach volleyball and it's pouring! Will it still go on? Who knows? Hey, maybe they can show taekwondo if... oh, why do I even bother. We all know that if NBC needs to fill time we're just going to get more gymnastics gala. Ugh.

• So if you're an NBC executive, what could be better for ratings than Misti May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh playing beach volleyball in bikinis? How about both of them playing in WET bikinis in a rainstorm? That sounds like a Spike TV show. "Tonight on Spike TV: Wet Bikini Volleyball!"

• And now we're bouncing between two live sports, beach volleyball and women's diving. We flash quickly over to diving to see Laura Wilkinson's dive that puts her in the top ten.

Back to volleyball. It's the U.S.A. versus China, by the way. The winner of this one gets the gold medal. A random observation: the Chinese uniforms are red with yellow trim. And what's the most prominent yellow item on their uniform? It's not the Chinese flag, instead it's a big, yellow Nike swoosh. Yay, capitalism!

• The U.S. wins the first set 21-18, and we don't go to commercial. Why, it's like we're there! Awesome!

A medical time out in set two. May and Walsh are ahead 17-15. Chris Marlowe says that Chinese player Tian is known to fake injuries to get more time to rest. Interesting.

An artistic comment: Everyone in the audience is wearing various pastel shades of those cheap plastic rain parkas. I think it looks pretty.

Back to action, STILL with no commercial breaks! I LOVE live events! It's now been 50 minutes since the last commercial break.

Gooooooooooooooold!!! May and Walsh give the U.S. the win! Wow, what a great segment. You know, that almost makes up for NBC not showing any taekwondo. Okay, it doesn't really, but the volleyball was still great.

• Back to diving, STILL without a break. Laura Wilkinson qualified for the platform diving finals, and we see her last dive and a short interview with Andrea Kremer.

Haley Ishimatsu, the other American diver, just missed advancing and the 15-year-old comes to the realization that her Olympics are done right in the middle of Andrea's interview. Kremer does a good job here of not pushing Haley for answers. Ishimatsu is obviously heartbroken, but she did finish 14th and only needed to finish 12th to make the Olympic finals. My guess is we'll see her in London in 2012.

• Back to beach volleyball, where victorious Misti May-Treanor scatters her mom's ashes on the sand, a ritual she also performed in Athens. The guy next to her when she does it has a confused look on his face. I wonder how he'd feel if he knew those were human remains.

And finally, after one hour and one minute, we take a commercial break.

• Cris Collinsworth, America's favorite soccer dad, tells us today of South Africa's Natalie Du Toit, an amputee who competed in the new open water swimming event. She finished 16th. Cris is very inspired. I'm presuming it's because of the amputee thing and not because she finished 16th. Regardless, this is the closest yet that Cris has come to telling us how to feel. That's not a good sign, Collinsworth. Don't make me go all Jimmy Roberts on you.

• German Matthias Steiner, a heavyweight weightlifter, gets some fluff. I know what you're thinking, how do heavyweight weightlifting and fluff go together? Well, Steiner's wife died in a car accident last year, and as he stood on the medal stand he held up a picture of her. Yes, it was touching. But yes, it was also fluff.

I was really, really scared that we were going to end the night with an hour of fluff due to the Gymnastics Gala. Instead we ended with an uninterrupted hour of beach volleyball. This is what we call a win-win situation. See you tomorrow!

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