Wednesday, August 4, 2021
US-trained sprinters win all of the medals.
Too bad so few of them are actually running for the United States.
- LIVE, it's beach volleyball! The American team of (first names) Alix and April takes on the Swiss team of (last names) Verge-Depre and Heidrich. The US blows out Switzerland in the first game. Then they do the same in game two. The "A-Team" US advances to the final. Is that why they're using their first names? Because they both start with A? That would make sense, I guess, but it seems a little unprofessional. Speaking of unprofessional, let's check in on Alix and April's families using Microsoft Teams! There's a long delay and just as they start responding NBC cuts away. At least no one froze up.
- Noah Lyles gets his fluff time. His hero is his mom. He loves her! It's very sweet. Fluff!
- Around the Games! Sailing, it takes me away to where I'm going to. Christopher Cross serenades Great Britain as they win. Boxing! American Oshae Jones wins the only gold medal for the women. Speaking of women, the US women's basketball team is advancing. Skateboarding! Almost a Japanese sweep. How can the US not be better at this? Golf! The women this time. In fact, let's join them LIVE. They're about halfway through round two. Nelly Korda is the top American right now in fifth place.
- LIVE track, the Women's 4x100M Relay heat. The US finishes second. The Heptathlon, the women's answer to the decathlon. After four events, American Annie Kunz is in fourth place, but that might be too far behind to catch up.
- Un-live for the semifinals of the women's 400 meters. American Quanera Hayes finishes fourth but with a good time. In semi two, Wadeline Jonathas also finishes fourth, but with not such a good time. She's probably done. Now Allyson Felix is up. She was letting up the last 100 meters but still got second. She'll advance to the final, and so will Hayes.
- The Men's 800M final is next and Clayton Murphy from Ohio is the lone American in the race. He won bronze in Rio and is hoping to improve here. Oof. He gets boxed out early and can't get out of the pack. Kenya finishes one-two. Murphy finishes last.
- Around Tokyo shows us Karate forms. Rockclimbing! Skateboarding! Open water swimming! Everybody jump in the bay and go. One guy gets attacked by a fish. Yes, really!
- It's time for the Men's 200M final. There are three Americans in this final, along with a Canadian that ran for the USC, and a runner for Liberia who grew up in Minnesota and goes to school in Florida. So really, five of the eight runners train in the United States. We should charge some kind of medal tariff. Noah Lyles, 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton, and Kenny Bednarek will try to win an American sweep. They did! Sort of. The Americans finish two-three-four behind Canada's Andre de Grasse. Kenny gets silver and Noah gets bronze. The five America-trained runners finish one through five. (Actually, I did a little extracurricular research: two of the remaining three also went to college in the US, so it's SEVEN out of eight). It's Canada's first 200M gold medal in over 90 years. Erriyon, see you in 2024! Kenny is already looking forward to Paris. His watch party was in Tulsa. No one invited me? Noah's was in Washington, D.C. I'm really liking the remote watch parties. This is something NBC needs to bring back in 2024.
- LIVE Women's 10-meter diving. Cynthia Potter says the judges have to make differentiation between the dives, so just because someone doesn't make a 10 doesn't mean it wasn't perfect. Actually, Cynthia, that's exactly what it means. It's hard to get a 10!
- Back at the track, Kevin Hart documents why the US hasn't won the 4x100M relay in 20 years. It's the baton, he says! I mean, he's not wrong. Why can't they just tag, he asks? That is a good question. The swimmers don't have to pass a baton. Why do runners? Anyway, funny but fluff.
- LIVE shot put! Ryan Crouser has an Olympic record in his second of six throws! He set the world record in the US Olympic trials. Can he beat it again? Joe Kovacs is in second place and all of his "Throw-vacs" watching remotely cheer him on.
- LIVE running with the heats of the Men's 4x100M relay. Jamaica wins the first heat, just as Kevin Hart predicted. In the second heat, the US doesn't completely drop the baton, but they have problems on the second transfer. They finish sixth. They're out before the final. Ato Boldon thinks the bad handoff cost the US two-tenths of a second. That would have put them in third.
- In the Men's Triple Jump, American William Claye is currently in first place. Wait. Bill? Bill Clay? Yeah, right. Like that's his real name.
- American Grant Holloway wants to spread peace, love, and positivity. He does that by running, I guess. He gets his moment of fluff. Now his race, the Men's 110M Hurdles. Devon Allen is also here, but let's ask Kevin Hart if even of them can beat the Jamaicans. Kevin says no! And yes! Jamaica's Hansle Parchment wins the gold, but Holloway beats out Jamaica's Ronald Levy for the silver. Devon finishes a close fourth. I guess the best the US can hope for tonight is to alternate with Jamaica.
- Back at the shot put LIVE, Kovacs beats his previous throw, but doesn't beat Crouser's. He's still in second. Everything else seems to be over, so it looks like NBC is just going to stick with the shot put for the rest of the broadcast. After five of six rounds, Crouser and Kovacs lead the field. But it only takes one good throw for someone to jump into first. But do they? No! No one passes Kovacs or Crouser, so now they're just jousting for gold. Kovacs' last throw is his best, but it's still not far enough to beat Crouser, who doesn't have to make his last throw but does anyway, just to see if he can break the world record as well as the Olympic record today. Ohhhhh… just short! He only made the second-longest throw ever. Gold for Crouser, silver for Kovacs. Crouser holds up a sign for the camera that reads, "Grandpa, we did it! 2020 Olympic champion."
- Now LIVE over to the triple jump and Willam Claye (if that's his real name). He's in fourth place, so he needs a big jump here. It's big, but not big enough. He finishes one inch out of third place. NBC has a first-and-ten type line projected over the sandy landing pit showing where the world and Olympic records are, as well as the current first, second, and third place jumpers. That's nice. You know right away how good the jump is.
- Mental health fluff. Mike Tirico tells us that the real champion of these Games is the focus on mental health. Or something. I guess just showing videos of athletes overcoming hardships isn't enough for the fluff anymore. Now everyone has to be hiding a secret mental illness.
I really enjoyed watching the shot put. There was nothing else for NBC to cut away to, so the whole thing felt unpackaged, not like a lot of the events the peacock makes us watch. Also, let's talk about fluff. There almost isn't any! Decades ago when I started doing the Olympic Watch (yes, it's been 21 years now!), roughly 16 percent of every broadcast was designated as fluff. Tonight? Less than two percent. If you look back at the second Wednesday night from 21 years ago
, there was 45 minutes of fluff. The four minutes from tonight almost doesn't bother me at all. Much like Cynthia Potter says, though, we're judging for differentiation, so we're still looking for the perfect 10 sometime. Maybe tomorrow!
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