Blog Trouble in 'Lympic China

Friday, August 8
Saturday, August 9
Sunday, August 10
Monday, August 11
Tuesday, August 12
Wednesday, August 13
Thursday, August 14
Friday, August 15
Saturday, August 16
Sunday, August 17
Monday, August 18
Tuesday, August 19
Wednesday, August 20
Thursday, August 21
Friday, August 22
Saturday, August 23
Sunday, August 24

2000 Watch
2002 Watch
2004 Watch
2006 Watch
Rockwood Comic
Home Page



Thursday, August 21, 2008



The men with the golden guns...

Who got the gold, and who shot themselves in the foot? Read on...

• And today it's sunny in Beijing, which means there's no way NBC will show any taekwondo tonight. Yes, I know... I'm bitter.

• We start the night with... fluff? That's not a good sign. Misti May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh rock out to "Barracuda" in slow-motion. Bob interviews them in the studio. I guess the match did run late last night, so some people might have missed it, but it's still fluff. Bob asks Kerri if she's run out of people to hug, and Kerri says she hasn't hugged Costas yet. Is Bob angling for some beach volleyballer affection? He doesn't get it.

• Off to the Bird's Nest, where it's raining! Oh yeah, this was taped last night. Tape delay is fun! Nick Symmonds of the U.S. is running in the semifinal for the 800 meters. He gets a some fluffette, because you've never heard of him. And now you never will (at least, not until 2012). He finishes fifth in his heat and fails to advance.

• Allyson Felix fluffette. Her church is important to her because her dad was the preacher. Her coach, Bobby Kersey, is Jackie Joyner-Kersey's husband. She won silver in Athens and works with kids. She used to be called chicken legs. We actually find out a whole variety of things about Allyson, and no one else voices it over. It's all in her words. It is fluff, but it's well-done fluff.

• Now Allyson's race, the 200m final, which features three Americans and three Jamaicans. Revenge! Or not. Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown wins handily, but Felix finishes a strong second. The bronze? Kerron Stewart of Jamaica by one hundreth of a second over American Muna Lee. The six U.S. and Jamaica runners all finished ahead of the remaining two racers. They were from... eh, who cares?

• Chevy Gold Medal Spotlight with America's favorite soccer dad, Cris Collinsworth. Cris tells us how good his job is. We know, Cris, you tell us every night. Tonight he interviews the U.S.A. men's beach volleyball team of Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers. Cris, a highly-paid on-camera personality does the entire interview wearing shorts and an unbuttoned polo shirt. He says the team has "raw emotion." And it was a "wild scene" out there. He also tells Bob, "You said it, brother." Since Cris is obviously saving all of his money on wardrobe, maybe he could go out and hire some better writers.

• The men's 4x100m relay. The U.S. has won this 16 out of the last 21 times they've run it. Despite that, Tyson Gay's uniform bib looks like "USA" was scrawled on it with a magic marker. Really? China can't find a printer?

AAAAAA!!! The U.S. missed the last baton pass and they're disqualified! They're not alone. Four of the eight relay teams missed the last pass. I know weather seems like a copout, but could the rain have something to do with that?

In the second heat, two more teams get disqualified. These are Olympians! Shouldn't they at least be able to make it around the track?

• And now the women get their shot at the 4x100m relay. Their bibs, too, have USA written in magic marker instead of being preprinted. How can something like that not be prepared? Is the United States such an obscure country that China didn't know we were coming?

AAAAAAA!!! It happened again! On the last leg, again! The same as the men tonight, and the same as the women in Athens. Not to point fingers, but if Lauryn Williams has missed the baton pass on two consecutive Olympics, maybe it's her.

• Ato Boldon and Lewis Johnson did a good job analyzing both the men's and women's mistakes. Occasionally they slip into using jargon that only real track people would know, but I like that. I'd rather they do that than dumb it down.

And afterwards, Tom, Ato, and Lewis lay into the U.S. Track organization. I don't know anything about the leadership changes they're talking about, but it sure looks like U.S. Track has the same problem now that U.S. Basketball used to have, which is there's no apparent teamwork involved. That's fine when it comes to racing individuals, but terrible when it comes to racing teams.

• For the last time, we head to the Water Cube and the first thing we get is Laura Wilkinson fluffette. She's not playing it safe! She's going for it! Good to know.

• On to diving. Chinese diver Wang Xin wants everyone to have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Xin tonight.

• Laura doesn't dive well on her first few dives, and that takes her out of medal contention. But then, on her last dive, she found out the true meaning of the Olympics as her fellow American team members gave her a standing ovation. And then in a truly amazing moment, she nailed her last dive. Suddenly, Russia declared a cease fire with Georgia, Osama bin Laden gave himself up to the U.S. authorities, and Israel and Hamas laid down their arms. Yes, this inspiring moment (cue sappy music) has truly changed all that is wrong with the world. But now, thanks to Laura's inspiration final dive, all hunger has ended and world peace has been declared.

You didn't really think I could write a whole paragraph of fluff, did you?

• And yes, I wrote that because announcer Ted Robinson was laying it on a little thick there at the end of the diving competition. Even Andrea Kremer was cloying as she interviewed Wilkinson after it was over. In fact, it was so treacly that I'm halfway considering labeling this segment fluff.

•  Back at track and field Tom and Ato give us a bit of Usain Bolt fluffette and then just talk for a couple of minutes. You know... about track and stuff.

Really? We couldn't have shown ANYTHING else? There was even a medal ceremony going on in the background (all I know is it was the Russian national anthem... I don't know who or what for). Maybe we could have watched THAT.

For that matter, did you know that the U.S.A. softball team lost the gold medal to Japan earlier today? I accidentally found that out (I try to avoid Olympic news... and that's not easy), and thought that maybe NBC would do a story on that, given that one of the reasons softball is being removed from the Olympics is that the Americans are supposedly so dominant. But noooo. There was not even a single mention of the softball upset --potentially the biggest upset of the Olympics-- on tonight's broadcast. Couldn't we have used this three minutes for THAT?

• Next up, the men's 400m final. Fortunately, there's nothing for the U.S. to drop on this one. Jeremy Wariner is the favorite, but that doesn't mean anything tonight. Three Americans. Could there be a sweep? Tonight I think we'd settle for someone finishing.

Sweep! But surprisingly, Wariner isn't the winner. Instead LaShawn Merritt wins and David Neville finished third by literally diving in front of the Bahama's Chris Brown.

Afterwards, Wariner didn't really feel like talking to Bob Neumeier, to the point that Bob looked shocked at one point by Jeremy's non-response to a question about his coaching change. LaShawn, on the other hand, was more than willing to talk about himself.

Urkel! Cuba's Dayron Wrobles is up next in the men's 110m hurdles final. He's flanked on either side by Americans David Oliver and David Payne. And... those are your winners, Wrobles finishing first, Payne second, and Oliver third. Payne apparently is a little confused, because after the race as he and Oliver were hugging, Payne motioned to the camera and said, "Number one baby!" I'm sorry, David, but perhaps you need to look up at the board again to see who finished first.

• Off to the X Games! Sorry, I mean the BMX finals. There's lots of crashing and surprisingly, neither the U.S. men nor women finish in first. There's not a lot of nuance involved here. The sport itself reminds me a lot of the snowboard cross in the winter Olympics. It's fast and fun to watch, but NBC only spends six minutes here, so it's hard to get too worked up about it.

Of course, I could get worked up about the fact that NBC won't even spend ONE minute on taekwondo, but I won't. Not again.

• Chevy Gold Medal Spotlight. It's beach volleyball, the men's final this time, and NBC is promising that it will be live and commercial free. Yes! It's the gold medal game featuring Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers of the United States versus Marcio and Fabio of Brazil. This should be fun.

Fabio's nickname is "Jaws." Like from the Bond movies? You know, "Moonraker" actually had some scenes in Brazil. I wonder if that's why.

Yes! Chris Marlowe shows us a graphic of volleyball player nicknames, and they say Fabio got his nickname because when he screams after a good shot he looks like Richard Kiel from the Bond movies.

In the time it took me to write all of that, the U.S. went from six points down to tied at twelve. That's because the U.S. team is great. In fact, nobody does it better. Makes me feel sad for the rest.

They go back and forth to 17 points, when Phil Dalhausser spikes one over the net to give the U.S. their first lead. Fabio probably didn't care for that view of a kill.

And the Americans win the first set! Rogers, "The Professor," has the winning touch. In fact, you might even say he has the gold finger.

Fabio looks upset that they lost the first set after having such a big lead. He's probably thinking, "I can't believe we're not better."

Phil Dalhausser takes a spike shot right in the face. It knocks his sunglasses off. I guess that one was for his eyes only.

In the second set, the U.S.A. gets ahead, but then blows their lead and Brazil wins it. I guess The Professor lost his golden eye.

And now, after 71 minutes of commercial-free programming, we take a break. But only for a couple of minutes.

• Phil "The Thin Beast" is taking it straight to Jaws in set three. He might even be scaring the living daylights out of him.

The U.S.A. is now up 12 to 3, and the third set only goes to 15. Is there a chance the Brazilians could win? Normally I'd say never, but after all the problems the U.S. track team has had tonight, I'll never say never again.

• Gold medal point! Brazil spikes! Dalhausser blocks! Does Brazil catch it in time? No! The Thin Beast and The Professor are the men with the Midas touch! The U.S. sweeps the beach volleyball events. They threw everyone in the world at them, but it turns out the world was not enough.

Do you think the Americans can also win gold in non-beach volleyball? It seems doubtful, because you only win twice.

Can you believe I strung out one little reference that far?

• Back in the studio, some late breaking news from Bob. The IOC is actually looking into the Chinese gymnasts being underage. My goodness, Bela Karolyi must be going nuts right now.

I like that NBC is willing to take an entire hour and show us a live event, but I'm a little upset that they seem to be using that as an excuse to not show us a wider variety of events. I'm torn. What do you think? Still, it's been more pleasant that unpleasant, so I'll tune in again tomorrow.

<<Back to Wednesday, August 20 On to Friday, August 22>>