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August 16, 2016

You'll Never Guess Who Is Dating The Final Five!

Dating might be a strong word; how about "taking selfies with"?

  • As we did yesterday, we kick off tonight with the men's 110m hurdles, but this time it's the semifinal heats. In heat one, Ato told us that Haiti's Jeffrey Julmis didn't get his leg high enough to clear the first hurdle. Upon replay, it appears that Jeffrey forgot the hurdles involve hurdling, as he took the first hurdle right in the gut. An interesting strategy, but ultimately unsuccessful. Back in Oregon, all of Devon Allen's football teammates are watching him race in heat two. He finished in third. Maybe if the US could paste some metallic wings and neon clothing on him he'd do better.
  • Sydney McLaughlin micro-fluff! Last night in the 400m hurdles she underperformed and was lucky to make it to tonight's semifinals. Will she live up to NBC labeling her a "phenom" tonight? She finishes fifth. Ato immediately says she'll have lots of experience for the next time she comes back to the Olympics. If only there was some other teenager that underperformed at his first Olympics that she could look to for inspiration.
  • The women hurdlers were prerecorded, but now the men are LIVE! Or at least, they will be after we take a look in at the high jump. We see one jumper before the hurdling semifinals start.
  • Back at the plausibly live high jump, the leapers are up to 7' 8" or, as NBC describes it, higher than Shaquille O'Neal's head. We're using Shaq as a jumping barrier? Now that would be entertaining.
  • LIVE with the women's 200-meter final, and Dafne Schippers is back. Or, if you're Tom Hammond, Dafne "shkippersh." Well, whaddya know? Shkippersh runsh into firsht playsh in shemifinal one. My autocorrect did not like that last sentence at all.
  • Hey! The high jump actually IS live! The women's 400m hurdles are being delayed for the final jumpers. They're now at 7' 10 1/2" and Ukraine's Bohdan Bondarenko plows right through the bar, showing the same technique that Jeffrey Julmis used on the hurdles earlier. It was equally successful.
  • Let's talk doping with Bob in the studio. There's one Russian track star that made it to the Olympics, and that's only because she trains in Florida, where accurate testing exists. The IOC is so intent on punishing the Russians that they've now taken away a medal a Russian relay team won in 2008! Why does he bring all this up now? Because there's a runner in the upcoming women's 1,500-meter who has a cloud of skepticism hanging over her. We can watch Bob talk to IOC president Thomas Bach online if we want to see what he has to say about all of this. Yes, I'm sure people are burning up YouTube to watch an IOC official talk about drug scandals. Because I know you'll want to watch it yourself, I've found the link for you. You're welcome!
  • In the race itself, Genzebe Dibaba, the scandal runner, finishes second. Jenny Simpson picks up the bronze, the first American ever to medal in this event. Yay, Jenny!
  • Let's now watch LIVE as runners stand in the tunnels underneath the stadium, waiting for the 110-meter hurdles final to start. Riveting. But what am I going to do, complain about something being live? How ungrateful am I?
  • The Oregon Ducks football team stands by, watching not one but two of their fellow players racing tonight. The other is Johnathan Cabral of Canada. Do you think they prefer Devon over Johnathan just because he's from the United States? Conversely, if Devon wins, do his teammates ever let him live it down for letting down his country?

    Oh, it's even worse. Neither one of them win anything. Devon is fifth, Johnathan is sixth. Now neither will ever live it down.
  • Usain Bolt micro fluff. Even at only 30 seconds, this fluff is longer than two of Bolt's races combined. He ran his 200-meter qualifying heat this afternoon. Did he win his race? Duh. The real question is, if no one is in Olympic stadium to hear it, did it make a sound?
  • Just the other day I was asking if parallel bars were still part of men's gymnastics. And here they are! Not only that, but the United States could actually medal in it. Danell Leyva is the first gymnast up (or at least the first one we see) and puts himself in first place. Ukraine's Oleg Vernyayev passes him to win gold, but Danell's score holds up to win silver.
  • Now Simone Biles and Aly Raisman get more air time to perform on the floor exercise, the last exercise in women's gymnastics and some say, says Al Trautwig, the most beautiful. Oh, shut UP, Al. Do you spend four years practicing segues like this? "Get ready for some uber gymnastics," says Al about Biles being up next, "And I don't mean she's taking a cab." Stop, Al, please stop.

    Simone moves into first place. Now only Raisman can beat her. Well, Switzerland's Guilia Steingruber could, too, but we know that's not going to happen. In fact, as soon as I typed that, she nearly fell on her face. Next up, Raisman. Wow, she's good. If it wasn't for Simone Biles, she would be America's sweetheart. But with Biles, now I don't even know if her Phelpsian routine will win. Nope. Biles gets gold, Raisman silver. Oh wait! There's one other gymnast to go. Yeah, like she has a chance. She won't medal, but she does her routine to Nessun Dorma, so it's not all bad.
  • Back in the studio, Bob interviews Simone and Aly, and they sound just like a couple of giggly teenage girls, talking about cupcakes, pizza, and how they were staying up too late and ohmygod, they got to meet Zac Efron, who came down to Rio just to see them and he's so dreamy and they're going to go out with him in a few nights and have some pizza and… I can't even type with that much energy, and they kept that up for seven minutes. I guess you really do have to have a lot of energy to compete in the Olympics.
  • LIVE at Copacabana Beach, it's time for the women's semifinal of beach volleyball, featuring Americans Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross versus Brazil's Agatha and Barbara, whose actual last names are so complicated that they just go by one name each. Okay, since you asked, it's Barbara Seixas de Freitas and Agatha Bednarczuk. See what I mean? The winner of this game moves on the gold medal game, the loser to the bronze. This will probably be the first game that Kerri and April have been in where the crowd won't be behind them. By the way, even in this tiny beach stadium, this crowd might be larger than the crowd in Olympic Stadium.

    This game is close! The first set was tied at 20, then the Brazilians scored two straight points to win it. That's now only the third set that Kerri has ever lost in any Olympics. In set two, they keep tying Brazil, but can't seem to pull ahead. It was tied at 8, at 9, and now at 11. Eek. Now it's 17-14 Brazil. The US had a great volley that they lost, and now they're in trouble. They need to outscore Agatha and Barbara 7-4 to win this set. If there's anyone who can do it, it's Kerri and April, but it's not going to be easy. Aaaa!! 18-15! 19-16! 20-17! 20-18, can the US come back? Ugh! 21-18. It's over. That's Kerri's first Olympic loss. Commentator Chris Marlowe reminds us that technically it's not an upset, since Brazil was the 2-seed and the US was the 3-seed, but it's still shocking. On the positive side, we just got to watch over 50 minutes of live volleyball with just five minutes of commercials. So we've got that going for us.
  • One more thing! Let's watch Simone and Aly get their medals. Do they sing? Not tonight, but Simone's dad does. Good for him!

There are no guarantees in the Olympics, just ask Kerri Walsh Jennings. But don't ask Simone Biles. Or Michael Phelps. Or Usain Bolt. You know what, maybe there are some guarantees in the Olympics, but they are few and far between. Yeah. Let's go with that. See you tomorrow!