Sunday, August 1, 2021
The fastest man in the world.
I mean, he's no Usain Bolt, but he'll do for this year.
- Tonight we start in the Tsukiji district. Mike Tirico is looking for some fresh food and some local flavor. Like the Olympic arenas, there's nobody here. Will he get something to eat? Not on the air.
- To the track! It's time for the world's fastest man, the Men's 100M, and unlike the previous few Olympics, Usain Bolt isn't here so we'll have a new winner for the first time since 2004. In heat one, there's one disqualification, one runner who pulls his hamstring, and one American (Fred Kerley) who qualifies for the final. In heat two, American Trevon Bromell has the same time as the man who finished in second place (10.00), but because only the top two qualify automatically for the finals, he'll have to wait to see if he advances. On the replay, he clearly started letting up the last 10 meters. That might cost him. The American in heat three is Ronnie Baker. He, too, ties on time (9.83) with the runner who finished in first, so he'll advance. Bromell does not.
- Medal fluff! As in, literally a story about the medals. Or is it? It starts off saying that the athletes are trying to win for the medals. Then it switches and says no, they're really doing it for their families back home while showing us a bunch of footage we've already seen before of the families celebrating. Psh. I'd actually rather see a story about the medals. That's something I haven't seen before.
- Speaking of family fluff, American gymnast MyKayla Skinner overcame COVID to make the Olympic team, thanked her mom when she made it, then unexpectedly made it to these finals when Simone Biles –perhaps you've heard of her?– was unable to compete. The wistful piano music tells us she's ready to compete.
- MyKayla does well on her two vaults. Jade Carey, however, is not so fortunate. She miscounts her steps on her approach and does about half of her moves. She's out of medal contention after the first of her two vaults. But MyKayla's score holds up! After first thinking she hadn't made the finals, she's now the silver medalist. Let's watch MyKayla talk to her family via a poor resolution Microsoft Teams call! Yay, videoconferencing!
- LIVE to the beach. The two-seed American team of April Ross and Alix Klineman take on the 20-seed team from Cuba in beach volleyball. A technical note: the score bug graphic says "Alix/April" instead of "Ross/Klineman." For most sports, last names are used, not first names. I'm pretty sure NBC used "Ross/Klineman" last week, so why have they changed now?
- The US wins the first set. Cuba gets out to a fast start in the second set. Analyst Kevin Wong says "the Cubans are on a roll." Mmm.. a Cuban on a roll sounds pretty good right now.
- The US makes up the difference and the Cubans are out, heading back to Cuba with a loss. They don't have to! Follow the lead of the Belarusian sprinter. Defect!
- Around the Games we go! American Xander Schauffele wins gold in golf! But who wins the bronze? C.T. Pan of Taiwan. Did I say Taiwan? Of course I meant Chinese Taipei, because that's what China forces the IOC to call Taiwan, because they don't want people to say Taiwan. Taiwan. Taiwan Taiwan Taiwan. Perhaps they'd prefer we call them the rightful democratic government of China?
- Back to gymnastics. Suni Lee is up first on the uneven bars. Tim Daggett groans right near the beginning. What? That looked fine to me. I literally know nothing about how to score gymnastics other than sticking the landing. She still got a green arrow, but apparently she missed something. After the break, NBC was able to show us a before-and-after video comparing what Suni did before to what she did tonight. Sure enough, she skipped an entire move. Tim's groan was justified.
- Let's talk about mental health with Mike and Michael Phelps. This is all brought about by Simone Biles missing the gymnastics events. I don't have an issue with people wanting to talk about mental health, but let's also remember that the cause of "the twisties" could be either physical or mental. As applied to gymnastics, the real discussion shouldn't be mental health. It should be listen to your body and don't do something you're uncomfortable doing.
- More around the Games. Women's wrestling! Boxing! Fencing! Diving! All of these are things you won't actually be seeing tonight. Also, let's watch Rowdy Gaines bounce around in the booth while commenting on last night's 4x100 race. He's spent!
- Andrea Joyce tells us Suni Lee's life has changed in the last 48 hours. Reese Witherspoon twittered her, she has a million new followers on Instagram, she's getting a parade in her home town of St. Paul… why, it's almost as if someone is hailing her as the new queen of America. 21-0729.html
- Despite Suni's underperforming, one Chinese gymnast falls and another also underperforms, so Lee ends up with the bronze. Is that parade-worthy? It doesn't hurt!
- LIVE at the track for the Women's 200M heats. American 200M runner Gabby Thomas graduated Harvard with a degree in neurobiology. So she's both smarter AND faster than you. And according to Team Rockwood kid reporter Sara, she also has prettier hair than you. Gabby lets up early, otherwise she would have won her heat, but she's moving on to the next round.
- I saw ESPN earlier today. You know what I don't miss in the Olympics? The constant bottom line graphic. They obviously can't have that on NBC because there's a mix of live and recorded events and there would be spoilers aplenty. But the bottom line has always annoyed me, whether it's sports or news channels. I have a smart phone. I don't need a constant stream of random information. If I want to know something I can look it up.
- It's time! The Men's 100M is about to start. And by "about" I mean, sometime in the next ten minutes after NBC spends some time hyping it. But this is not live. If I switched over to ESPN right now I could find out who won it by reading the bottom line. I'm not going to do that. The light show is back! The stadium is black and Olympic Stadium is lighting up the 100-meter raceway with graphics. There are two Americans in the eight racers. That's pretty good odds of somebody getting a medal, right? Heck, if it was Jamaica that would be enough to predict a one-two sweep. I can't wait to see the Paris 2024 Olympics where surely they'll copy this light show in front of a full crowd. That will be electrifying.
- Here we go! Orrrrrrrr not. False start by Great Britain's Zharnel Hughes. He's out! Now there are two Americans in seven racers. Fred Kerley gets silver. Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs wins gold and is jumped on by some other Italian guy. Italy's never won a gold in the 100 Meters so he looks pretty excited. But then, all the 100-meter winners look pretty excited. Wouldn't you be if you just proved you were the fastest man in the world?
- Over to the high jump for some lessons in Olympic sportsmanship. Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi were tied for first after the mandated number of jumps. The official on hand gives them two options: an extra-round jump off or they both get a gold. The two are longtime friends, so they agreed to share the gold. Nicely done!
- And now NBC replays the 100-meter race called by the Italian commentators. They're obviously excited about the win and at the end... ohhhh! The other Italian guy who jumped on him was Gianmarco Tamberi, who had just won his shared gold medal. Now that makes sense. But really, since none of this was live anyway, why not just edit it in order? Then we would have known who that guy was from the beginning.
- We're LIVE for the Women's 100M Hurdles final. Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn wins gold and Keni Harrison of the US gets silver. Make Puerto Rico a state! Then America is one-two. There was a delay in the announcement of the finish. Harrison clearly finished ahead of Jamaica's Megan Tapper, but for some reason someone thought Harrison had finished third. I don't know what they were watching. I'm 7,000 miles away and I could tell Keni was second.
- It's Steve Kornacki time! Everybody get your Red Bull handy! He's breaking down US medals by sport and then by state. Florida is the current leader.
- Taylor Swift talks and sings about the US Women's soccer team for two minutes. Don't speak bad about her or she'll write a revenge song about you. Uh… I mean… don't ever speak bad about them or they'll take revenge on you. That's a perfect pairing of narrator and subject. Fluff.
- It's time for some fluff time with Caeleb Dressel. This year has been hard, he says. Will there be an Olympics? Is this training worth it? There were lots of difficulties, he says. Of course, it was harder for all the people he beat. He said he could hear Rowdy yelling "Welcome to the club!" to him from the floor, which just shows how quiet the swimming arena was. Or how loud Rowdy is. Maybe both. Mike asks, Paris? Caeleb beats around the bush but kind of admits he'll be back.
Over a week into the Olympics and we have yet to crack the 20-minute mark on fluff. Was this planned, or did NBC just have 20 minutes per day on Simone Biles in the can and now they can't use it? Whatever! It works for me! Let's do it again tomorrow!
Back to home