Sunday, July 25, 2021
Simone Biles has a rough night
Which for us mortals means she's only slightly better than every other gymnast on the planet, instead of exponentially better. Read on!
- Welcome to Sunday on NBC which is Monday in Tokyo, and we start with LIVE coverage of the Men's Triathlon. You know how you here people say things like "Are skateboarders really athletes?" You never hear anyone say anything like that about the triathletes. After about a one mile swim and a 25 mile bike, they finish with a six mile run. The winner, Christian Blumenfelt of Norway, ran the last mile at a 4:40 pace. Last night, one of the skateboarders competed in cargo shorts while wearing his Airpods. I'll let you be the judge.
- But now that we've seen the ultimate athletes, let's watch some cartoons! Anime Ledecky and Anime Biles are the stars of NBC's animated fluff, because Japan likes anime, you see. It's fluff, but Team Rockwood kid reporter Sara said she thought it was cute.
- After some ads, more fluff! This time it's about the US women's gymnastics team and… wait, isn't this the same segment they aired last night? I know some of the sound bites are the same, but I don't know if it's identical. It sure seems familiar. I don't want to have to start transcribing fluff to see if t's different. Ick.
- Anyway, now it's time for women's gymnastics qualifications, where we determine who in the world gets the opportunity to finish second to Simone Biles. Biles falls completely off the mat at one point, but her degree of difficulty score is so high she still qualifies to move on.
- Let's have even more Simone fluff! Hoda Kotb interviews her about the Larry Nassar scandal. You should feel somber here. You know because the sad piano music tells you so.
- Mike Tirico gets his chance for a fluff interview with US swimmer Katie Ledecky. A Stanford student, she got to spend a week playing saxophone in the Stanford marching band. Mike asks if she knew how to play. Take it from a marching band nerd, Mike. Playing skill isn't important in the Stanford band.
- After some more gymnastics, we're back in the studio where Steve Kornacki, who has apparently been slamming Red Bulls for the last two days, brings his hyperkinetic analysis to the US medal count. Surprise! We're ahead!
- My problem with gymnastics coverage is the same as my problem with figure skating coverage. The only thing I know how to judge is whether or not someone sticks the landing. What's that move? How does that count? Why did that gymnast choose to do that instead of this? There are two Olympians sitting in the broadcast booth right now and they don't answer those questions. But they do tell me things like "She needs to be aggressive here." Okay. Sure. And she needs to stick the landing,
- Simone Biles gets to talk to her family in Texas via Zoom call. What do they say? "We can't see the picture." Two days in a row with bad Zooms!
- Biles, by the way, had big deductions on almost every rotation, but still finished first overall in the qualifying events because of her degree of difficulty. How could she possibly NOT win the gold in Tokyo?
- Oksana Chusovitina, the 46-year old gymnast from Uzbekistan is competing in her EIGHTH Olympics, her first one being Barcelona in 1992. She's been an Olympic gymnast longer than the Rockwood Olympic Watch has existed. That's crazy. She failed to qualify for the finals, so now she'll retire. OR WILL SHE?
- LIVE swimming! Not much to say here. Live events are awesome.
- How about some Australian swimmer fluff? The unfortunately-named Ariarne Titmus is being trained by her strict, pony-tailed Aussie coach to beat Katie Ledecky. He seems like a little bit of a maniac.
- In other news, an American won a rifle medal, and Mike buried the lead on the women's cycling road race. Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands crashed in Rio, but came back to Tokyo and, as Mike said, thought she had won, but really only got silver. How do you think you won? As it turns out, Van Vleuten and Team Netherlands had poor communication skills and lost track of Austria’s Anna Kiesenhofer when she broke loose from the pack. Kiesenhofer finished so far ahead of the pack that they literally forgot she was there. No offense to Van Vleuten, but a lone biker scoring a breakaway victory is a better story than someone getting a silver.
- Titmus beats Ledecky in the 400M Freestyle, but the bigger news is pony-tailed coach has now been confirmed to be a maniac judging by the way he just humped the railing in celebration.
- We close out swimming for the night with the Men's 4x100M Freestyle relay. Can the US win it without Michael Phelps? Yes! Pretty convincingly even. Maybe we'll get some more bad Zoom calls out of this one.
- Medal time! Will Ariarne Titmus sing the Australian anthem? I can't tell for sure, but it looked like the mask was moving, so… maybe?
How many more nights will we get bad Zoom calls from America? We'll find out tomorrow. See you then!
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