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Saturday, July 31, 2021

The fastest women in the world, mon.

It should be a given who the fastest runners are anymore. If you don't know, read on.
  • LIVE from Tokyo, it's a hot one, says Mike Tirico. Like seven inches from the midday sun, right? So let's jump right out to the beach LIVE for some volleyball! It's the US team of Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil taking on Canada.
  • Let's watch Team Claes music videos. Claes and Sponcil make Tik Tok videos of themselves lip syncing to songs. It's cute and only 30 seconds long, so it's short fluff, but it's still fluff.
  • Both the Claes and the Sponcil families are at watch parties back in the US with crowds bigger than what are at the Olympic venue. It's hard not to feel sorry for Japan, having built all of these specialized arenas for nothing. But even in an empty arena, the DJ plays music between every point. You know, to keep the party going for Michael Phelps, who's one of the only people in the audience. Nothing makes Michael cheer louder than traditional Japanese music like… Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69." Yes, really.
  • Late in the match, the US challenges a call about whether the ball was in or out. It's a tense moment, so analyst Kevin Wong says "You could hear a pin drop in this arena." Well, yeah, Kevin. There's nobody here. The whole match has been like that. The ruling is weird. At first, the refs rule it in. Then Canada challenges the same call and they reverse it. What? How do you look at the same video footage and come up with two different calls? That's just weird. The US ends up losing by two points, so that was a pretty important call.
  • Over to the track for heats of the Women's 100M. There's an empty lane in the first heat. Our first drug disqualification! Even the drug tests are fast in the 100 meter race. Only one American makes the final, but three Jamaicans do. Hmm… maybe we need to check the water in Jamaica.
  • LIVE at the pool for the Men's 50M Free, the fastest race in the pool. Can Caeleb Dressel get another gold? Yes! It took me longer to type this paragraph than for him to win the race. At 21.07 seconds, they don't even take a breath. I took several while typing.
  • Now for the Women's 50M Free. Team Rockwood members Sara and Sandy joined me in seeing if we could hold our breath for the entire race. We made it! And none of us passed out while on the couch.
  • From the fastest race to the slowest, the Men's 1500M is next. See you in 15 minutes! American Bobby Finke is going to try to add another gold tonight to go with his 800M victory earlier in the Games. Two commercial breaks later, we're 300 meters from the end and Finke is comfortably in third place, less than half-a-second out of first. Bobby Finke is a distance genius. After 1,450 meters he was seven-tenths of a second behind the leader. He won the race by 1.01 seconds. Bobby Finke gained 1.73 seconds on the leader in the last length of the pool. In the race before this, the Women's 50 Meters, all eight competitors were within four-tenths of a second of each other. In one length of the pool, Bobby Finke created four times the distance between him and his competitors than the entire Women's 50M swimmers did. Incredible!
  • Medal time! Caeleb Dressel gets another gold. He's singing at the top of his lungs! He's not? I say he is, and with that mask on, you can't prove any different. And of course, it comes right off so he can smile and pose with his medal. Mask theater.
  • The Women's 4x100M Medley Relay final is about to happen and we flash back to last night, when Lydia Jacoby had her goggles fall off during the Mixed Medley Relay. Rowdy said she did a practice swim yesterday and the goggles fell off again, so now she's double-capping. She puts on one swim cap, then her goggles, then another cap to keep the goggles secure. Rowdy says this is common for that very reason. I learned something today. Thanks, Rowdy! The Australians beat the US by a fraction of second, due to the Aussies fast transfer on the last leg. I actually thought their last swimmer jumped early so I rewound the tape. Nope. It was legal. But boy was it close.
  • The last swimming event of the night, the Men's 4x100M Medley Relay, which Dan Hicks says the US has never lost. Way to jinx us, Dan. But the US is in lane one tonight, which isn't a good sign. Backstage waiting to go on, the American team stands around slapping their thighs, their arms… just a lot of slapping going on here. Explain that, Rowdy!
  • The swimming is taking a long time to get started, so Mike Tirico shows us some other events. Trampoline! The gold medal goes to China's Dong Dong. Uhhhh…huh-huh. Rugby! New Zealand takes it. Mixed skeet shooting! The US wins again! Whoever would have thought that Americans would dominate the gun events?
  • And here we go. Can the US keep the streak alive? YES! Dan's jinx is broken. The US men won for the same reason the US women lost, a fast transfer on the last leg. Great Britain and Italy were the favorites, but they were no match for the Americans' world record time.
  • Back to track for the Women's 100M final. This is so cool. The stadium goes dark and all that's lit up are the runners in a spotlight. The lanes themselves light up and the names of each runner are projected across the 100 meter length of the track. If there were actually people in this stadium this might be the coolest thing ever. The crowd would be going nuts. I'm giddy about it and I'm just watching from my couch. And now the race. Jamaica finishes one-two-three and with a new Olympic record at 10.61 seconds, Elaine Thompson-Herah breaks Florence Griffith-Joyner's 33-year-old time of 10.62.
  • You thought you could make it through the whole night without a Simone Biles update, didn't you? Nope! Simone won't compete in the floor exercise.
  • Medal time! The men of the US 4x100 relay get their time on the podium. Perhaps they sing behind their masks before taking them off to pose for photos.
  • Back at the studio, Mike talks LIVE to Katie Ledecky, her neck full of medals. She seems nice. Maybe I'll listen more in 2024 when she wins another bucketful of medals. Fluff!

What is going on in the Olympic training camp in Jamaica? What's their secret? Is there some kind of Bond-villain lair churning out genetically-superior sprinters? Whatever they're doing, it's working. Good for them for figuring out the secret to super speed. See you tomorrow!

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