Saturday, July 24, 2021
Today is tomorrow and tomorrow is today.
When is everything happening? When there's a 14-hour time difference, sometimes you don't know. Onward to competition!
- Welcome to day one of competition! If you don't count the play-in games. And if you don't count the fact that we're 14 hours behind Japan. And if you don't count… hey! Never mind all that! Mike Tirico! Tell us what we have tonight! Swimming, skateboarding, gymnastics… but let's start with some cheesecake. To women's beach volleyball we go LIVE where the two-seed April Ross and Alex Klineman of the US are taking on the Chinese team of 23rd-seed-and-names-don't-matter-'cause-they-ain't-gonna-win. And, since we're 14 hours behind, this is actually live and taking place on Sunday. So I'm writing on Saturday about what will happen on Sunday. If I could do this with the Super Bowl I'd be rich!
- Like everywhere in Tokyo, there's no crowd in the volleyball arena, but since this is live NBC can cut to a live shot of April Ross's home, which features all of her relatives and her dog cheering her on. Commentator Chris Marlow says "he's a good boy" to the dog. The dog did not respond. I guess he's holding out on celebrating until Ross and Klineman win. He's probably superstitious that way.
- Ross and Klineman win, but it was closer than I thought it would be. The cutaway to Ross's house shows everyone celebrating but the dog, who is nowhere to be seen. I guess he was too nervous to watch.
- Over to the mostly empty gymnastics arena for the qualification round for men's gymnastics. So you can't win a medal today, but you could lose one. No pressure. For the scores, the Olympics are helping the uneducated gymnastics viewers (i.e. most of us) by adding a green up-arrow (good), a yellow spot (average), or a red down-arrow (bad) to let us know how any given score compares to an average score for that event. That's good. I know what a 10.0 means, but I don't have any idea what a 14.677 means.
- To the pool for some LIVE swimming where, just as I predicted four… uh… five years ago, Michael Phelps is back! Sort of. He's in the booth, not the pool, but he's here. Let's see if he's the GOAT on the microphone.
Well… Phelps is still a great swimmer. And Americans Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland finish gold-silver in the 400M Men's individual Medley. So it's all good.
Well… all good except the Zoom call between Kalisz and his family in Florida, because Chase can't hear them. See? Even the biggest TV production on the planet can't pull off a Zoom call, so don't feel bad if you screw it up working from home.
- "He's got to put the pedal to the metal," says swimming commentator Rowdy Gaines, "Excuse me, the metal to the pedal." Nope! You had it right the first time, Rowdy.
- Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia qualified eighth in the Men's 400M Freestyle, but then beat out the field to unexpectedly win the gold. It's fun watching Americans win, but it's also fun watching big upsets, and Hafnaoui is clearly thrilled.
- Simone fluff! She's old! For a gymnast. Everybody thinks she's amazing. Well duh. It's the first fluff of the night.
- Medal time! The official policy of Team Rockwood is we cheer singing the national anthem on the podium, but since everyone is wearing masks, there's no way to tell if they're doing that. So what's the new standard going to be? Crying? Both Chase and Jay stand there with their masks on and don't cry. But they seemed emotional... as far as I could tell with half their face obscured.
- Mike Tirico takes us around the Games. Judo, 3x3 Basketball, and Men's Volleyball are all taking place on other channels. I need more TVs in the living room!
- Back in the pool, the Men's 100M Breaststroke semifinals has revealed the flaw of no crowds. Every time a swimmer comes up for air, someone on the sidelines blows a horn or a whistle for every swimmer. This probably happens all the time, but with a full audience, you don't notice. With an empty swim arena, it's just annoying.
- We get one minute of fluff on British swimmer Adam Peaty. Everyone who bet on tonight's two fluff pieces being on Simone Biles and Adam Peaty can now go to the head of the class. Maybe YOU need to be betting on the Super Bowl.
- Speaking of lack of crowds, it's time for the 4x100M Women's relay. In normal times this event is basically swimming and screaming. With no crowd, it's swimming and… whistles? It's just not the same.
- Is Tony Hawk describing the rules of skateboarding fluff or events? I'm neutral. Since it's a new sport, I'll allow it. But don't do it again!
- I like that in the lower-third bios for the skateboarders NBC lists their stance and that the two choices there are "regular" and "goofy." Sandy of Team Rockwood asks, "Why don't skateboarders wear helmets when snowboarders have to?" That's a good question. NBC has a Bullet-time set up in the middle of the skate park, but the cameras are too far apart. It looks a little jerky to me.
Gymnastics approaches. See you tomorrow!
Back to home