I, Rembert Browne, have nothing to offer an Olympian with regard to the holding of hands, the making of love, the walking of aisles, or the having of children. Please do not waste time trying to convince me otherwise; I know it to be true and I am slowly coming to grips with that as fact. It's OK, though, because for the sake of the Human Race, I firmly believe Olympians need to mate with other Olympians, if for no other reason than to create super-offspring that will protect our kind against the Unknown when they attack Earth in 36 years.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
Michael Phelps out-dueled Ryan Lochte in the 200-meter individual medley to win his 16th Olympic gold and 20th medal overall. A heartbroken Lochte told reporters that he was really sad to finish second, since the other swimmers told him the gold medal is the only one with chocolate inside, and he still can't get the foil off of his 400 IM gold.
We're about halfway through the slate of swimming events in the 2012 Olympics, and things have not turned out exactly as expected. (Allison Schmitt's gold in the 200-meter freestyle and Matt Grevers's in the 100-meter back are the notable exceptions.) Ryan Lochte failed to medal in his 200 free; Michael Phelps didn't win gold in his 200 fly, and several youngsters swam out of nowhere to make waves. Let's take a look at who's standing atop the latest Poolside Podium.
GOLD: The Next Generation of Women
Ruta Meilutyte finished her 100-meter breaststroke and broke down in tears, as if she were trying to dissolve into the water. They were overwhelmed tears, though happy tears: Meilutyte had just put in a blazing 1:05.56 in Sunday's preliminaries, the fastest time of the whole field of swimmers. Later that night, in the semifinals, the 15-year-old Lithuanian outdid even that, pulling away to finish with a 1:05.21 and give her the top seeding for the final.
Knowledge is power. Educate yourself. Use this Olympics glossary and impress your friends with your new-found understanding of everything.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Adams, Guy:Los Angeles bureau chief of Great Britain's The Independent; harsh critic of NBC's Olympics coverage; currently in Twitter detention.
Adolph (trampoline):A front flip with 3.5 twists.
aerial (artistic gymnastics):Singular: essentially a cartwheel, but with no hands; plural: second-best System of a Down song.
apron (boxing):The part of the ring canvas that extends beyond the ropes.
arm stand dive (diving):The dive that starts from a handstand; only on platforms and not springboards, because that would just be too crazy. This isn't the X Games.
artistic impression (synchronized swimming):One of the two categories that the event is judged in (the other being technical merit); all about how the choreography, music, and presentation make the judges feel; is as subjective as it sounds.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
A disastrous showing by American gymnasts Danell Leyva and John Orozco on the pommel horse relegated their country to fifth place in the team finals, and the Chinese gymnasts won gold for the second straight Olympics. The Americans' struggle casts doubt on their unique pommel philosophy, known as "Butter the Horse!," though U.S. team coordinator Marta Karolyi put forth the possibility that maybe they didn't "Butter the Horse!" enough.
Scene: Shane Ryan on his computer Monday afternoon, fighting the good fight, trying to love his country despite the best efforts of technology. It's the 200-meter freestyle, one of the premier events of the swimming program, and Ryan Lochte is fighting for his second gold medal against Chinese swimmer Sun Yang. Ryan starts up the live feed with trepidation, knowing that whatever system is used for streaming the Olympics tends to freeze if more than 37 people log on at the same time. And indeed, the feed skips at first, but thankfully recovers in time for the start of the race. Lochte is third after 50 meters, and third again after 100 meters. Ryan knows it could be a dramatic finish, and he leans forward, forgetting the technical issues that have plagued him for three days.
The swimmers turn at the wall, but the moment Ryan blinks his eyes — maybe because he blinks his eyes — the feed dies. Panicked, he lets the site try to correct itself while opening a new window and restarting the whole process. In window one, the little white dots revolve in their hateful circle. In window two, an advertisement plays — to capitalism's eternal glory, the frequent ads always stream in perfect quality — before the site loads. It all leads to a coincidence that inspires Ryan's subsequent insanity, a brief fugue state in which he runs naked through the streets of Chapel Hill laughing hysterically and shouting the names of former gold medalists, a crime punishable by 30-to-life in North Carolina. Both windows recover in time to show that the race is over, and the French guy who swam out of his mind to deprive the U.S. of a 4x100 gold has won again. Ryan has pulled off the rare feat of spoiling the event for himself without actually seeing the finish, and that's why he can never run for political office. End Scene.
Can you believe the Olympics have only been going on for a couple of days? The past two days of competition have felt like two weeks. Already champions have been made and unseated, rivalries have been strengthened, American TV viewers have utterly lost their minds … and that's just in swimming alone. Here's a look at who really rose above and beyond over the weekend: It's our own Poolside Podium!
Two of the most demonstrative wins of the weekend came not from the usual suspects (Australia, the U.S.) but from China. Sun Yang became the first Chinese man to earn a gold medal in swimming when he won the 400 freestyle on Saturday, and he reacted with a barbaric yawp, his flexed torso rising so far out of the water that it seemed like he was levitating in celebration. (My colleague Shane Ryan did not appreciate the maneuver, calling it an "Overt Display of Righteous Fury"; I didn't really mind it, but it certainly did have the patina of 'roid rage that Shane pointed out. More on that in a sec.)
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on over the weekend.
In their first duel of the Olympics, Ryan Lochte dominated Michael Phelps to take gold in the 400-meter individual medley. "Sure, Ryan swam well," said an irritated Phelps, defending his legacy, "but has he ever mated with a dolphin? Because I have. I mated with a damn dolphin, and she came on to me."
Before we get going, forgive me as I become the 6,087,345th person to rant about NBC's decision not to air the swimming finals live on television. Put simply, it's a disgrace. I don't think I need to enumerate the reasons why it's a repugnant move from a spectator's standpoint, so let me instead tackle the business angle. First, I'm fine with the existence of NBC prime time. I'm glad they replay the best events. Sure, maybe they show actual sports at about the same rate that MTV shows actual music videos, but whatever. If prepackaged stories and scant coverage and Ryan Seacrest talking about social media is what "America" wants, and by "America" I mean the faceless mythical majority that apparently exists to dumb down everything cool, I can live with it.
But we are living in the age of the spoiler. People are going to find out the results if they're around the Internet, television, or other humans. They just are. And if they don't want to know? They're going to avoid everything, including NBC stations. So, my question: How does it change anything if you broadcast the events live in the afternoon?? The people who watch prime time are still going to watch prime time. They're ALREADY avoiding TV, presumably while at work, and it wouldn't change anything to throw the rest of us a bone and put the swimming on CNBC. I mean, they even announce the results on the NBC news show that leads into the prime-time coverage! Even the rest of NBC isn't avoiding spoilers! AHHHH THIS RAGE IS GOING TO KILL ME! I should probably just give up and light my TV on fire, right?
Last week, we told you that after winning eight gold medals in Beijing, Michael Phelps wasn't quite the same. Good? Yes. World-class? Yes. But Ryan Lochte, the brightest star in the U.S. swimming scene, was challenging his throne. There was the 200-meter individual medley at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, where Lochte topped Phelps's personal best by setting a world record. There was the 200-meter freestyle at the same venue, a thrilling race that saw Lochte beat Phelps by .35 seconds. And most recently, Lochte took down Phelps last Monday in the 400-meter individual medley at the U.S. Olympic trials, though Phelps qualified for London by finishing second.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports over the weekend.
Tiger Woods moved into second place on the all-time PGA tour wins list behind Sam Snead by out-dueling Bo Van Pelt to win the AT&T National golf tournament at Congressional. "Operation Kill Tiger must now enter the next phase," said a member of the Sam Snead Legacy Foundation on a clandestine phone call. "Also, we should think about changing the name. Not very subtle, Gene. Son of a gun, I did it again. No names on the phone. Always forgetting that. Always forgetting that."
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday.
Tim Lincecum struck out eight over seven scoreless innings to earn his first win in two months and give the Giants their third straight shutout against the Dodgers, propelling them into a tie for first place in the NL West. The 3-0 win was such a relief for Lincecum that he shook his head around dramatically in the shower, eyes closed, wet hair flying everywhere, clearly pretending he was in a triumphant sports movie. Players nearby reported that he could be heard singing the words to Styx's "Show Me the Way," which everyone thought was pretty much a perfect choice for that scene.
Whenever I want to know someone's true character, I ask them a very important question: Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte? If they say Phelps, I know they're a little goofy, a little quirky, and maybe dangerous. If they say Lochte, they're calm, ambitious, and maybe dangerous. If they say they don't follow competitive American swimming, they're lazy, ignorant, and probably afraid of water.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
The Arizona Wildcats are College World Series champions. Defensive replacement Brandon Dixon hit an RBI double in the ninth inning to break a 1-1 tie, spurring Arizona to a 4-1 win over South Carolina and a two-game sweep in the championship round. Unfortunately for Dixon, the League of Defensive Replacements determined that he was "getting above his station" in a secret meeting and revoked his membership. The vote was nearly unanimous, with only "Weakish" Walter Burrows, Bartholomew "Bad Eyes" Burrows, Timothy "Batless" Burrows, and Edward "Eczema Eddie" Burrows — the famous Burrows quadruplets — voting on Dixon's side.