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Tuesday, August 7, 2012
2:55 0:57 0:08
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Cash for Medals!

Can the US gymnasts buy their way to a medal? Let's find out!

* To the bikinis! I mean, to the beach, for the women's beach volleyball semifinal game. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings will be attempting to close out their Olympic careers without ever losing a match. Would that make them more impressive than Michael Phelps? After all, he hasn't won every race he's been in. Misty and Kerri are taking on the Chinese team of Xue and Zhang Xi. Are those their first or last names? I don't know. It doesn't matter, does it? What are their chances of actually winning?


* Did my statement jinx the US team? How could it really, given that this game is actually in the past? That would be some weird time-space jinxing. Anyway, the Americans were down 13-8 early, but come back strong to win the first set 22-20.


* How good are the US women? Misty and Kerri are Phelpsian. They've only lost one SET in the Olympic history. In fact, maybe the correct order is to state that Phelps is May-Treanor-Jennings-Walshian. Nah. That's a bit cumbersome.


* We're nearing the end of the first hour of NBC's broadcast tonight, and Misty and Kerri are tied 17-17 in the semifinal match. Do you believe that NBC would run more than an hour of this match, or do you think they'd edit it down to fit an hour? If the latter, than you might suppose that the end was near, because it wouldn't take long to score a few more points.


Wow! Kerri just slid hit the ball over the net while simultaneously sliding underneath it! It was an impressive move to tie the game at 19. Each team scores. Tied at 20. A long volley follows, the US up 21-20. Match point. THE US WINS 22-20! NBC program time: one hour, zero minutes, 16 seconds. What a coincidence!


* Now let's see who Misty talks to on the camera. Ohhh, they're shaking it up tonight as Kerri thanks the service members on camera while Misty runs around the stadium high-fiving everybody in the front row. What a fun team! I wish Phelps was more May-Treanor-Jennings-Walshian.


Tomorrow in the gold medal game they'll face... oh no! It's another American team? Who to root for, Jen Kessy and April Ross or Misty and Kerri? Gold-silver guaranteed for the US. Not too bad of an option.


* To the track for the women's 100m hurdle semifinals. Dawn Harper of the US wins the first race.


* For semifinal number two, we get our first fluff of the night. Lolo Jones, was leading this race in Beijing when she clipped a hurdle and fell. She was scarred for life! No, not really, but she redoubled her efforts to make it to London. And she was successful! Doesn't that make you want to watch her?


* US runner Kellie Wells and her purple hair run in the third semifinal. Tom Hammond reveals that she was raped as a young woman and has persevered to become an Olympic runner. Here's a question. What makes NBC decide to do a fluff piece on some of the runners but not all of them? I think Hammond's commentary here was just as interesting as the fluff on Lolo, and we didn't have to leave the stadium to see it. I like that approach better.


* Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang is missing another Olympics due to injury.


* Phillip Phillips, I hate you. I don't care if Aly wants the gold medal "so bad." I hate the producer who decided that the women's gymnasts needed a theme song. NBC, why are you making me despise the US team?


* Tim Daggett says that the Chinese training facility is amazing. Not only does it have equipment identical to the Olympics, but they also train under the same kind of television-type lighting. Do they also have some commentators blabbing on and on about things of little importance? Do they have the Chinese version of Phillip Phillips arousing anger in all of their fans?


* Gabby Douglas is up. Will she ever be able to smile again? Al asks Tim if she can score high enough to win. Tim says she scored a 15.5 in the all-around, so sure she can. Then Al points out the leader has a 15.6. Are Tim and Al fighting? Eek! She almost falls off the beam. I'm betting that will be less than 15.5. But she does smile again. Thank goodness for that. 13.633. No smiling about that.


* Aly Raisman is up last on the balance beam. Given how many of the other gymnasts have fallen, she has a good shot at gold if she can get through this exercise cleanly. Pretty good, but a couple of stumbles. Will she make it?


Her coach tells us everything with his reaction. "Oh no." She's in fourth. But up in the stands, it's Super Bela! He's pointing and waving like a madman which, of course, he is. It looks like their going to file an inquiry. If the Chinese taught you anything, make sure to bring cash!


And it works! They give her more points, and even though it's a tie now, she wins the tiebreaker and gets the bronze. AGAIN with the ties! Why not give out two bronze medals? I'm glad this worked out in the American's favor, but I still think it's unfair.


* Back to the track for the women's 200m semifinal. Allyson Felix is laid back everywhere except on the track, where she's aggressive. I'm laid back everywhere except when it comes to fluff, when I'm aggressively angry.


* We're done with track, so let's throw Dwight Stone a bone and let him report on his favorite sport, the men's high jump. They jump as high as your head! At least they do if you're Manute Bol.


* To the women's 100m hurdle final. A photo finish: who wins? Sally Pearson of Australia! Lolo Jones had the fluff, but not the medal. She finished fourth. But Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells, non-fluff, finish second and third. Let that be a lesson to you, athletes! Reject the fluff!


* Back to gymnastics. Jordyn Wieber gets another chance to medal on the floor exercise. Oof. Not too good. The US is kind of sloppy today. Now Aly Raisman gets another chance. Wow! She won't need to pay off any judges for that one.


* Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina is about to perform her floor exercise and Elfi Schlegel says, "She'll have to dance like she's never danced before." Perhaps she'll be performing to Mozart's "The Cliche Waltz."


* Aly gets the gold, this time without inquiries.


* And how do we close out the women's gymnastics? How else? Curse you, Phillip Phillips!


* The men's high bar final. Why don't the US men get a theme song? I can't think of anything right offhand, but if you have a suggestion, drop me a line.


* Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands is a freak! His routine is a zonderland! I don't know anything about high bar, but if he doesn't win, I'll be shocked.


Jonathon Horton (of Oklahoma... Boomer!) does a great routine but doesn't stick his landing. Looks like there won't be any US medals today.


* Back to track and the men's 1500m final. No American has won this event since 1908? Are they telling us we shouldn't expect much? Let's see.


Well, American Leo Manzano kicks it into high gear coming out of the last turn and passes three people to get the silver, but still no US gold since 1908.


* Here's some weirdness. High jumper Ivan Ukhov of Russia can't find his singlet (that's a shirt) between jumps, so he has to make a jump wearing a regular t-shirt. He still makes it. In fact, he ends up winning gold. So, it's lucky to lose your jersey. It's unlikely to be featured in fluff.


* AAAAAA!! In weightlifting, Matthias Steiner of Germany drops a barbell on the back of his neck! Fortunately, his neck is so thick that he wasn't seriously injured.


* In the studio, Bob is with Aly Raisman. Finally we get to talk about her parents, who lean to and fro throughout their daughter's performances, as if to put English on Aly's routines. Why couldn't they have done a split screen with the parents in one box and the routine in the other? That would have been interesting.


* Finally tonight, Aly's gold medal ceremony. Will she sing? Yes! Good job, Aly!



With the gymnasts finished, a big portion of the Olympics ratings are now over. Unfortunately, the main portion of my Olympics coverage is over as well. I'll actually be going on vacation for the next several days (I know, I know... how could I schedule a trip now?). I will be doing some sporadic updates from now through Saturday, but I won't be counting all the fluff like I usually do. However, I will do a complete recap of the Closing Ceremonies, so be sure to come back for that after Sunday. Good Olympics watching to all, and to all be light on the fluff!