August 6, 2016
The completely impossible has happened, LIVE in Rio!
- Let the Games begin! The actual games, not interpretive dancing posing as events. And the first event up tonight is Men's Gymnastics. Not to brag, but there are three athletes and one coach on the US team from the University of Oklahoma. Boomer Sooner!
- And we start with the Brazilian team, so we can know what not to do. Is that mean? Not really. This is Brazil's first men's gymnastics team to make the Olympics, mainly because in previous games they haven't been good enough to qualify. This year, because they're the home team, they automatically qualify. And now they're in the lead! But wait! NBC Commentator Tim Daggett just said that if they don't fall off the pommel horse, they'll be in first place! Way to jinx them, Tim.
- On to Team USA. Danell Leyva replaced John Orozco on the Olympic team because the John blew out his ACL during the US trials. How do I know this? Because NBC told us so while showing Leyva warming up. They didn't need to cut away to a slow-motion, pre-packaged segment with sappy music and heartfelt narration. See, NBC? You CAN avoid fluff when you try!
- Tim Daggett actually provides good analysis on Chris Brooks' high bar performance, pointing out where and why Chris bent his elbows which caused him deductions. I never would have noticed that had Tim not pointed it out. Good analysis, no fluff… what's gotten into NBC this year?
- Jinx! Out of the very next commercial we get some swimming fluff. Did you know that Olympic swimmers only practice at sunset and in slow-motion? And apparently NBC got a deal on all of the lens flares J.J. Abrams didn't use in the last Star Wars movie.
- Live! To the pool for our first non-Michael-Phelps swimming match, the 400-meter individual medley. Did I mention live? It's live! This will be the first Olympic swimming match in I don't know how long that I can watch without having to have avoided spoilers. I'm giddy!
Chase Kalisz of the US finishes a close second to Japan's Kosuke Hagino. Michele Tafoya asks him what he was thinking when he was trying to chase down Hagino. I'm guessing something along the lines of, "Gotta swim faster."
- This is strange. All of these swimming events are happening live, one right after the other. And I find I'm reluctant to leave the room, in fear that I might miss something. Imagine that. Do you think anyone feels the same way about fluff? That's something to think about for the future, NBC.
- I've jinxed myself again. Let's watch some fluff about Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Maya Dirado. They all want to win. Shocking! Maya will only race in this Olympics, because she already has a job and a life lined up outside the Olympics. Interesting? Sure. Fluff? Yep.
- Dirado's race, the 400-meter individual medley, is up next. She'll be facing Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain, who is regarded as the best swimmer in Spanish history since she's the only Spaniard to win two Olympic medals. Really? Ever? I guess Spain really hasn't been any good in the water since the armada went down.
Dirado swims great, but Hungary's Katinka Hosszu shatters the world record to win gold. Dirado gets to take her silver medal to her new job in Atlanta. She'll swim again later.
- Ryan Seacrest, fresh off of American Idol's demise, is on Copacabana Beach in Rio talking about women's beach volleyball. Kerri Walsh Jennings won her gold medal in London while she was pregnant. So, she's a new mother and has a new teammate. Did it take you four minutes to read that sentence? That's how long it took NBC to show their fluff.
- Back to live swimming! Live! Did I mention live? LIVE! I'm going to be busy actually watching sports here for a few minutes, so I'm going to take a break from being snarky unless somebody on NBC says something stupid. Don't worry, that shouldn't take long.
- The Russian swimmer in lane one of the 100-meter breaststroke semifinal is Vsevolod Zanko. I told Team Rockwood member Sandy that if we ever have a boy, I will name him Vsevolod. She was not amused.
Hmmm… Vsevolod finishes his semifinal in eighth place out of eight. Sorry, Vsevolod. We don't tolerate losers in this family. Your name is off the list.
- More live swimming! The women's 4x100-meter relay. Australia wins gold and the US silver. Why are the Aussie swimmers doing so well at these Olympics? Because they're from the southern hemisphere and they're used to the direction the water swirls down here in Rio. You can't dispute this because science!
- Back to men's gymnastics. Remember two hours ago when Al Trautwig and Tim Daggett told us how well Brazil was doing? We haven't seen a scoreboard since then. Maybe after the US finishes this next rotation we'll get to see just how far behind the home team has fallen. Speaking of falling, the Americans can't seem to stop falling off the pommel horse. Despite all of this, Tim is still talking about how the US team should make the finals.
- Secretary of State John Kerry is at the men's gymnastics tonight. Presumably, should the US win any medals he's here to give them back.
- Finally, we get a team scoreboard. As bad as the US has looked, they're still ahead of Brazil (4th place) by over two points. That's a lot in the Olympics. In the final standings, Brazil is 6th, the US is 2nd, and China is slightly ahead of them in first. But all of that is irrelevant, because now it's time for…
- THE MONEYMAKER! Oh, yes, here we go, it's time for WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS FLUFF! Are they performing tonight? Oh no no no. NBC just wants to make sure you don't forget they'll be on tomorrow. DON'T FORGET! TOMORROW! WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS!
- Hey! A US gold medal winner! Virginia Thrasher won for the 10-meter air rifle. This is the first US gold medal winner, and here at the Team Rockwood we look for one thing. Will she sing the national anthem? Sigh… no. But at least she's smiling. You've got four years to learn the words for Tokyo, Virginia!
- Live at Copacabana Beach, Women's Beach Volleyball! But it's not the US team of Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross because the previous match isn't over yet. That's right! Because this is live, we have to watch the end of China-Switzerland game first! The horror!>
Team Rockwood member Sandy points out that Swiss volleyballer Isabelle Forrer is unusually well-endowed for a beach volleyball player. I will ponder this with close observation. Sandy also wonders if there are any beaches in Switzerland on which to play volleyball. I will ponder this later as I can only concentrate on one thing at a time.
- Fluff break! Tom Brokaw heads down the Amazon River and… wait! Holy cow! NBC just interrupted fluff to return to an event. THAT'S RIGHT! NBC GAVE PRIORITY TO AN EVENT OVER FLUFF! I've been writing this blog for 16 years and I think this is the first time this has ever happened. China and Switzerland retake the beach, and each rescore one point to achieve the same final outcome they had before. So, back to fluff. At least we don't have to start it over.
Wait a minute. They DID start it over! So that's an extra minute of fluff that NBC didn't even plan tonight. This is the weirdest Olympics ever! Anyway, Tom Brokaw is traipsing through the Amazon with some scientists. Well, until he gets bored by looking at trees. Then he heads up to the city of Manaus to show us the opera house that rubber tree empire money built. And then the restaurants that are exploiting the food riches of Amazon. Back in the studio, he talks to Bob Costas about security in Brazil. This segment has been eight minutes long (nine, if you include the restart) and has four topics. That seems a little unfocused.
- On to the featured beach volleyball match of the US versus Australia, LIVE! With only 20-plus minutes remaining in tonight's broadcast, will this be the last thing we see tonight? Given earlier events, it seems unlikely that NBC would cut away from live events for something else, but you never know. Maybe Tom Brokaw has more to say about the fish markets of the Amazon.
- It was the last thing we saw tonight. I think. Once again, my DVR ran out at the end. Tonight I even set it to record long, just not long enough. Tomorrow I'll have to record the local news just to make sure I don't miss anything. Is it safe to assume the US won this match? Yep.
Live events, interrupted fluff, and one more night of so much coverage that I couldn't even take it all in. I'd say that's a successful start to the games. Let's see if NBC can keep it up tomorrow!