Creepy London Olympics mascots chase Will Rockwood Comic
Monday, July 30, 2012
2:47 1:03 0:10
Events Ads Fluff

America's New Sweetheart

Sorry, Ryan Lochte, it isn't you. Say hello to Missy Franklin.

You never know what's going to happen during the Olympics. That's not hyperbole. No one knows. Oh, they think they do. Especially the people who pay millions of dollars to produce ads in advance of the Games featuring the athletes they think will do well. But those millionaire ad-makers don't know any better than you who will actually win. Ryan Lochte is finding this out the hard way. Hopefully he'll be able to pull it together before it all falls apart.




* Bob welcomes us then sends us to the "Men's Synchronized Platform Final," a sport with a title so long that NBC had to compress it into illegibility to make it fit in the tiny text box they use onscreen. I would have just put it on two lines, but I'm just a snarky internet writer. What do I know about graphic design?


* The diving coverage is really good. The commentators are solid, the camera work is fantastic, and the divers themselves are entertaining. My only complaint? Couldn't their swim trunks be a little less skimpy? If this was "Survivor" instead of the Olympics, there would be a lot of strategic blurring-out of body parts. And given the skimpiness of the suits, I think you know which body parts I'm talking about.


* Johnny Mac is back interviewing Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings on the beach. First he plays a little volleyball with them, then he asks them about the bikinis. Well, at least he knows the NBC party line.


I took me a while, but I finally figured out McEnroe's interview style. He doesn't actually ask any questions. Instead of saying, "What are your plans for after the Olympics?" he says, "Your plans after the Olympics are..." and then just lets the statement hang there until the interviewee fills in the blank. And let me be clear: he doesn't ask, "Your plans are...?" with a question mark at the end, like he's fishing for an answer. It's more like, "Your plans are..." like he knew the answer, was going to give it himself, but then lost his place and is trying to finish the sentence. It's really odd.


Maybe he'll get better as the Olympics go on, but given that this piece was obviously shot and edited in California before the Games began (i.e. they had weeks to work on it), I'm not holding out a lot of hope for improvement.


* Speaking of bikini-clad volleyball players, it's off to the English beach where, thanks to the cool British weather, no one is wearing a bikini. NBC watches its ratings drop by the minute.


* Back at the pool, Missy Franklin is about to swim two races 10 minutes apart. But first, fluff! She's been swimming since she was a tiny child, but she's happy staying in Colorado with her normal life, her friends, and her original coach. She also turned down thousands in endorsement money so she could stay on her high school swim team. That would be pretty intimidating if you were from a rival high school, wouldn't it? Well, she seems like a sweet girl and of course we wish her the best. But still, fluff.


* American Allison Schmitt will swim in the first race, the Women's 200m freestyle semifinal. But before she does, we get to see a picture of her and Michael Phelps holding medals. Phelps posted it on Twitter because he said he liked training with her. Aww! Isn't that sweet? Maybe Ryan Lochte can pose with her after he's changed into one of his dozens of pairs of shoes. Hopefully a Frenchman won't beat him to it.


* Missy swims the second semifinal and qualifies. NBC is treating the break between races like it's live. That's good. It gives you a real sense of how close the time difference is. In between the races that Missy is in we'll first see Ryan Lochte try to redeem himself in the 200m freestyle against Frenchman Yannick Agnel, who beat him last night.


AAAA!!! The US lost to the French? Whoops. Sorry. I copy-and-pasted that from last night's entry. So let's look at tonight's race. AAAA!!! Lochte lost to Agnel? Again?! Well, after tonight, it's pretty clear that Agnel is better than everyone else. He won going away. Lochte was fourth by a tenth of a second after getting outtouched by two other swimmers. No endorsement deals for fourth, young man. Work harder!


* Now to Franklin's second race in the past 15 minutes, the 100m backstroke. She wins, breaking the American record in the process! In the postrace interview she thanks God for her talent and her parents for being there. America's sweetheart is now a clutch gold medal winner. Take a good look, Lochte. That's where your endorsement deal is going.


* Tonight on "The Real World: Olympic Gymnasts," the US men get their reality show intro just like the women did last night.


* I know it's just a term specific to the sport, but doesn't it seem odd that the last move in the floor exercise is called the "dismount"? How do you dismount the floor? Wouldn't you be floating?


* Sam Mikulak falls on the floor exercise. Elfi Schlegel says, "That would have been a 15.66!" Uh-huh. What does that mean? Is it green? Yellow? Red? I have no idea.


* Dannel Leyva falls off the pommel horse during his routine. Tim Daggett points out that the Americans shouldn't think it's hopeless because one of the Japanese gymnasts just had a big fall on another exercise. Really? I might believe that if I'd seen it, Tim. Maybe you could tell the producer to show other gymnasts while the US team is standing around waiting for a green light.


* Well, look at that. After the next commercial break we get to see some of the other countries' gymnasts. Shut my mouth, NBC!


* The US men are thoroughly disappointing in gymnastics so let's get over to the pool as quickly as possible, where maybe 6'8" Matt Grevers can salvage some American glory in the 100m backstroke. Remember, Matt, Missy Franklin could take your endorsements, too.


And he wins! The win, combined with the touching sweetness of recorded footage of Matt proposing to his girlfriend after a previous non-Olympic victory, should guarantee Mr. Grevers at least a share of Ryan Lochte's endorsement deals.


* Equestrian? Awesome! Something new! It was just an update, mainly so they could show the British athlete who happens to be a member of the royal family. Still, I applaud variety.


* Weirdness at the women's 100m breaststroke. A false start... by the starting gun. American Breeja Larson jumped at the beep, but the beep was incorrect, so they pulled all the swimmers off the blocks until they could fix the problem. How would you like to be the tech support guy for a bad starting beeper at the Olympics? There's only a half-billion people watching you. No pressure.


* Missy Franklin is from Colorado, and Bob shows us footage of high schoolers in her hometown cheering her on as they watch her race. They go crazy when she wins.


Cut to: Missy Franklin's medal ceremony. She's singing! And laughing! And her parents are crying while draped in red, white, and blue! Seriously, will there be a door strong enough to prevent ad executives from breaking it down with endorsement deals?


* Back to gymnastics, where the US is now so far behind that NBC has made them unpersons. China performs great and will win the gold, so now the focus is on Great Britain. Can they medal in front of the home crowd? Prince William and Prince Harry are here to find out. Britons! Win a team medal and you'll probably get knighted!


* Gymnastics madness! Going into the last round, the British were in fourth place behind the Ukraine. After three great floor exercises, they jumped up to third. The resultant cheer from the crowd caused a Japanese gymnast to almost fall on his head while dismounting from the pommel horse. With his lowered score, Britain jumped to second and Japan dropped to fourth. That's unusual, but then the real weirdness starts.


A Japanese coach runs up to the judging table holding an inquiry form and something else. Al Trautwig comments, "Why is he holding cash?" Yes! Cash! A naked bribe at the Olympics! Jacque Rogge would be proud.


But no, says Tim Daggett, it turns out that when submitting an inquiry, you have to make a cash deposit. What kind of buffoonery is this? I'm sure the concept is there to keep teams from questioning every call, but if a coach has on hand the amount of money needed to question a score, it obviously couldn't be that much, and surely all of these countries could afford whatever it is. Why not just make a limit on the number of calls you could question, sort of like the instant replay rule in the NFL?


Anyway, the original score is surprisingly overturned, allowing the Japanese to get silver and dropping the British to third. Still, bronze is the best British showing in team gymnastics since 1912. Not too shabby.


* Why has Phillip Phillips' "Home" been chosen to be the musical theme for the US women's gymnasts? I don't know how he did it, but I'm blaming Seacrest.



So gymnastics turned out to be exciting after all, just not in the way the US had hoped. Congrats to the home team for pulling off a medal for the first time in a century. Tomorrow we'll see how the women will do. See you then!