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August 9, 2016

21 Reasons Michael Phelps is the GOAT

Number 20 will blow you away

  • We start off tonight LIVE at the women's gymnastics team finals! What's that? Oh… sorry. We start off tonight tape-delayed at the women's gymnastics team finals. But it's "plausibly live," as a former NBC executive said way back in 1992. Why are we still paying for the 24-year-old mistakes of a TV executive?
  • Bob teases us with a quick shot of Michael Phelps arriving at the pool. Remember yesterday when Team Rockwood coined the phrase "Resting Michael Phelps Face"? Once again we were ahead of our time. The hashtag #PhelpsFace was trending today. So, you can follow the pack and find out about trends on Facebook tomorrow, or you can be ahead of the curve and read the 2016 Rockwood Olympic Watch today!
  • The USA women's team is dominant to begin with, but to make it worse, all the other teams keep falling down during their rotations. Normally, I'd accuse NBC of editing the coverage to make the Americans look good, but the truth is they're just that good.
  • Chad le Clos vs. Michael Phelps fluff! Grrrrr! They're angry! And tonight we get to see them settle their score LIVE! Right? I mean, I think this one is live. Yes. Yes, it is. It IS live! The final, that is, but not this. This is just fluff. The live part is later.
  • Team USA basketball players Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green are hanging out in the swimming venue tonight. Choose your favorite joke! 1) Should Chad beat Michael, Draymond is going to go poolside and kick him right in his le Clos. 2) Should Chad beat Michael, Durant is going to sign with the South American basketball team. 3) Should Chad beat Michael, Klay will still be boring.
  • Even as Katie Ledecky is getting ready for her LIVE 200-meter freestyle medal race, NBC is showing us a split-screen shot of Michael Phelps with #PhelpsFace sitting in the back room. That race better be good or all this hype is going to be wasted.

    Oh yeah, Ledecky is racing now. Remember her? This year's breakout swimming star? Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden is her main competition and they're neck-and-neck going into the final leg. Katie wins! Okay, now that we have that out of the way…
  • THE MAIN EVENT! LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!!! Dan Hicks reminds us it's not just about Phelps and le Clos. Ha ha ha ha! That's cute, Dan. Grudge match! Grudge match! 200 meters of anger coming up!

    The first of four legs has Hungary's László Cseh in the lead. Who? Hasn't he been watching the promos? Second leg: Phelps takes the lead! Third leg: Phelps by over half a second! Holy cow! Phelps leaves le Clos in his wake, winning his 20th gold medal, while Chad doesn't even finish in the top three. I'm guessing that's the last time le Clos dances in front of Phelps.

    Incidentally, Kevin Durant, that's what the best athlete in the world does when he's challenged. Think about that next year as Stephen Curry hands you your participation trophy.
  • In the other non-Phelps' news, Katie Ledecky is about to receive her gold medal. And she sings again, so all is right with the world.
  • Back at the pool, Phelps is still smiling about his last race as he walks around the pool deck. How satisfying must it be to not only win a gold medal over the person who was taunting you, but also for that person to not even show. Well, given that I can't remember Michael Phelps ever smiling immediately after a race, and now he appears to be unable to stop, I'm guessing IMMENSELY satisfying.
  • Michael Phelps has had more practice than anyone ever at receiving gold medals. Let's watch him receive another. No singing this time, as is his usual routine, but he does seem to be unusually happy, which is atypical. In fact, he's laughing at something offstage. I don't know exactly how far offstage, but I'm guessing it wasn't… le Clos.
  • What's that, you say? You'd like to see one more Michael Phelps race? Can do! It's the 4x200-meter freestyle relay, where he'll go for lucky number 21!

    This race takes about eight minutes, so while it's going, have you ever wondered what those TV monitors on the bottom of the pool are? They're lap counters. So now you know. We're about halfway through now, and the US has a huge lead as Ryan Lochte hits the water.

    Phelps is swimming the last leg, and when he tried to put on his swimming cap, it broke, so he had to borrow someone else's cap while waiting for his turn to swim. But even with an in-race equipment malfunction, Phelps can't be beat. Amazing.
  • All those live events were exciting weren't they? Need a break? How about some women's gymnastics fluff? We don't even learn anything from this one, it's basically just all the women saying that they need to perform well. Profound!
  • Back to "plausibly live" action, and Al Trautwig says Team USA will be an all-time team, so they deserve all-time leotards, then asks Tim Daggett his opinion of their outfits. Really? We're talking about clothes now? Maybe the fluff isn't so bad.
  • This gymnastics competition is barely even fair. The Russians fall on every apparatus. The Chinese look like malnourished 12-year-olds. And the Americans look like a group of superwomen. I'm happy Team USA is winning, but even the US basketball team doesn't look this dominant over their opponents. This isn't gymnastics competition for Team USA, it's a gymnastics clinic.
  • Team USA has been so dominant that the only drama NBC can wring out of this broadcast is following the women around as they look for a scoreboard to display their winning scores. After they win, they all look into the cameras and yell, "We are the Final Five." They say it three times, so I can only assume that more than one camerman asked them to repeat it for posterity.
  • Back in the studio, the Final Five are talking to Bob. In what I can only attribute as an editing error, all the gymnasts are wearing their gold medals even though we haven't seen that medal presentation yet. Whoops. Since there are only 15 minutes left in tonight's broadcast, I'm assuming we'll see that after this fluff interview and a commercial break. So now we know: interviews pay the bills, but medal ceremonies do not.

    Bob jokes to the women that any one of the Final Five would be the best gymnast in any other country, then chuckling that he's not suggesting that they renounce their citizenship. Careful, Bob. Kevin Durant might be listening!

    And now both we and the Final Five get to see the medal ceremony simultaneously. I'm torn, do I count this as events because it's a medal ceremony, or as fluff because they're watching it on TV? I think I'm going with fluff. But I will give some of the girls credit for singing.

So, Michael Phelps... I don't even know what to say anymore. I'm just going to start replacing the word "amazing" with "Phelpsian." I think that should get it covered. See you tomorrow!