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Friday, August 6, 2021

Golden fourth-grade dreams.

Dear older self, two decades from now you'll still be writing about the Olympics. Now we'll see if that comes true.
  • Allyson Felix leads off with the same fluff she had the other night. Is it a good sign that the night starts with repetitive fluff? I guess we'll find out.
  • We start in Sapporo where they're holding the Women's Marathon because it's cooler than Tokyo. We join in at mile 22.5 where American Molly Seidel is in the lead group of four. Leigh Diffey shows a letter from Molly in fourth grade to her older self saying "I wish I will make it into the Olympics and win a gold medal." They keep saying it's only her third marathon. Ever? How is that even possible? You have to run one to qualify. Are they saying she's only run one other marathon besides the one she qualified in? Again, how is that even possible? In mile 23, Israel's Maor Tiyouri drops out from the heat. Seidel is now in third if she can keep up with the two Kenyan runners in front of her. Her family back in Wisconsin is cheering her on via Microsoft Teams. With one mile to go, Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir has pulled away from her teammate Brigid Kosgei. Can Molly close the gap to get into second place? No, but she gets bronze in an event that the US wasn't expected to medal in. Her family goes nuts online. In her post-race interview, she says her coach told her to bring her medal uniform and she asked, "Why?" Quick! Someone ask her coach for tonight's lottery numbers! She tears up talking to her family and tells them "Drink a beer for me!" This is clearly not the speech of someone who was planning on winning. Congratulations, Molly! And congratulations Fourth-Grade Molly!
  • Time to knit! I mean, time to dive from the 10-meter platform! When Great Britain's Tom Daley isn't diving, he knits to keep from getting nervous. He's made a cozy for his gold medal! Yarn is fluffy!
  • How about some American fluff? Diver Jordan Windle was adopted from Cambodia and his dad loves him. Awwww.
  • None of the divers featured in the show so far are higher than sixth place after four rounds. After five rounds, Daley is fifth, Windle is 12th, and American Brandon Loschiavo is 8th. Some shifts in round six, but all three will advance to the semifinals.
  • To Olympic Stadium for the heats of the Men's 4x400M Relay. Can the US manage to pass the baton competently tonight? Aaaa! They almost mess up the first pass! Fortunately, they're still in second place. They make it to the final lap with no drops and big lead. Yay! America finishes first! They advance to the final where hopefully they can do it again tomorrow.
  • Next up, the Men's 5,000M final. Are they really going to show an entire 5K on the air? That's over 12 minutes of running. There are three Americans in it, so maybe they will. NBC is probably getting desperate for gold from the US men. We're three minutes in when we take a commercial break. Three minutes of ads later we're nine minutes in. I see what you did there, NBC! That's okay. How many times can you watch a bunch of runners circle the track without changing positions? One lap to go! American Paul Chelimo is in third, can he kick it into gear? No and yes! He gets passed in the last 100 meters dropping him into fourth, but then he passes another runner, diving over the line to get bronze. It's kind of amazing that you could run three miles and be so close to your competitor that you have to dive to beat him.
  • It's Allyson Felix time for the Women's 400M final. Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas pulls away from the field to win gold, but Felix hangs on for bronze. The Women's 1500M is next. Kenya's Faith Kipyegon sets an Olympic record defending her gold medal from Rio. No American is within shouting distance of the winner.
  • Let's talk to Allyson Felix! Or rather, let's watch Allyson talk to her family via Teams. Fun with videoconferencing! Her family is excited!
  • The US versus Jamaica! It's the final of the Women's 4x100M relay. Gabby Thomas will be anchoring the American team, who hopefully have better baton exchange skills than the men. The US has won the last two golds in this event. Gabby is fast, but she can't make up the gap she was given at the end. Jamaica wins gold, the US silver. Or DO they? There's a flag up, says Ato Boldon, which could be a violation by the Jamaican team. Or not! The flag was up for someone else, says the replay. Who was it on? I guess we'll never know, because NBC doesn't care to tell us. I guess if it's not the leaders it doesn't really matter, does it? The Netherlands gets a DNF, so I guess it was them.
  • It's time for some smack talk from Carl Lewis. YES! CARL LEWIS! He's tweeting that the US men were doing everything wrong in the relay and looked worse than AAU kids. I mean, he's not wrong. And really, who is anyone on the current US team to argue with Carl Lewis? Yes, this is fluff, but it's the kind of fluff I can get behind.
  • Speaking of the Men's 4x100M relay, here it is, sans Americans. Who wins? Italy! What?! Yes, Italy! They edge out Great Britain, who beats Canada. No Americans, no Jamaicans. What a crazy year! The look on the face of Italian ADS ADF when he crossed the finish line in first was complete disbelief. When was the last time that italy won the 4x100M relay?
  • Coming up, the Men's Basketball gold medal game featuring France versus the United States. They're going to show this game LIVE, which means that will be the early end of tonight's standard Olympic coverage. Am I going to cover that? Nope! This will just be like a basketball broadcast, so we'll just call it early tonight. But for now, as we head to the basketball arena while "Roundball Rock" plays in the background, I'll say something that you'll only hear me say during the Olympics: go Kevin Durant!
  • At the end of the basketball game, Mike Tirico has a special dedication to Peter Diamond, the programming executive who Mike says has shaped much of NBC's Olympic coverage for the past 25 years. Ahhhhh… so HE is the one to blame! Now we know!

You don't get a lot of fourth graders writing about their Olympic dreams, and you get even fewer that make it happen, so tonight's medal by Molly Seidel was a storybook moment. There aren't many storybook moment's left in this year's Games, so let's hope NBC makes them count! See you tomorrow!

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