In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday.
American gymnast Aly Raisman won a bronze medal on the balance beam event final, and followed that up with a gold on the floor exercise. Beleaguered U.S. gymnast Jordyn Wieber finished seventh in the floor exercise when she experienced an unfortunate bout of Apparatus Confusion Disorder (ACD), leading her to mistake the floor for the uneven bars and jump around making weird swinging motions until she was tranquilized by her coach.
Reader Daniel G. has invented Saber-Medal-Trics, which takes Sports Illustrated's overall medal predictions and reviews results to date in order to project a final count. After Tuesday's events, Daniel reports that the U.S. is on pace to equal their projected SI gold-medal count, and beat the projected overall medal number by five., while China is on pace to win one more gold and six fewer medals total. With that knowledge, here are the projected final tallies:
So, so close. Speaking of China, it's worth congratulating Chen Yibing, a.k.a. "the king of rings," on his composure after getting absolutely jobbed in the event final. Chen won gold in Beijing, and it appeared he had done the same in London when the last competitor, Brazil's Arthur Zanetti, finished his routine. But the judges gave Zanetti a 15.9, and Chen (15.8) was relegated to silver. I challenge anyone with even rudimentary gymnastics knowledge to watch both routines (Chen at 6:15 mark, Zanetti at 25:30) and argue that Zanetti deserved gold. My friend Spike put it best: "One was art, and the other one was very good. And the very good one had a step on the landing." But Chen, though he professed to feeling bitter, stayed completely calm, congratulated his opponent, and didn't let his disbelief show. Total class act from a guy who had every right to be furious.
I spent the majority of the 1980s in a dank basement in central Pennsylvania, waiting out the winter by watching any and every late-night sporting event accessible on cable television. This means I grew up listening to a hell of a lot of Chris Marlowe. For great stretches of my life, I have forgotten Marlowe’s name, but his SoCal patter never fades from my consciousness, and every four years, it drifts back to me in a wave of chill nostalgia: Anything in the Pacific time zone, anything vaguely associated with dudes and betties and coastlines, was Marlowe’s territory, from cliff diving to Pac-10 basketball to the once-fledgling pastime of beach volleyball, which he is voicing, yet again, at this year’s Olympics.
There are a great many competent and even brilliant play-by-play announcers in this world, but Marlowe — whom I would count among the brilliant, if only for his ability to make “Rosenthal” sound like a suave surname — may be the most Spicoli-ishly awesome Californian ever to broadcast a sporting event. A graduate of Pacific Palisades High, a star volleyball player at San Diego, and the captain of the gold-medal Olympic volleyball team in 1984, Marlowe once posed with Ronnie and Nancy in Chewbacca-chested glory. His grandfather is the famed movie director Sam Wood, his mother was a regular on The Young and the Restless, and his father appeared in All About Eve and The Day the Earth Stood Still. Marlowe himself made guest appearances on The Love Boat (making out with a supermodel) and in Rounders; he’s broadcast poker and cliff diving and whatever other suave pastimes have taken place in and around Los Angeles in the past 25 years. In the early 2000s, he worked XFL games with Brian Bosworth, which is sort of like pairing Bill and Ted at a roller derby.
If you haven't been reading Shane Ryan's Olympic Viewing Guides ... well, you should be reading Shane Ryan's Olympic Viewing Guides. Shane has traded his sanity and sleep schedule to watch pretty much every jump, leap, shot, throw, heave, dive, and vault of these games, so we could think of no better person to wrap up this first week with a list of the top 10 moments of Olympics so far.
We're nearing the end of the first week, so I thought I'd take this moment to run down my top ten memorable moments of the London Games so far. Yes, these will be incredibly Americo-centric (it doesn't matter if that's not an English word, because we're not English). There have been a slew of incredible athletes, dramatic finishes, and inspirational stories, and no list comes without debate. But here's my list, and keep in mind that it's the correct one. Live Extra video links are included.
Whoa! We've got a busy day, and there's no time for chatter. Let's jump right in.
You know the drill by now. With this guide, which can be followed with one computer and one TV with cable, we're aiming to see every gold-medal event and every team-sport game featuring Americans live and on London time. For further assistance, use this complete timetable as a cheat sheet. All times below are Eastern Daylight.
Kobe Bryant dropped by the Pool B volleyball match between the U.S. and Brazilian women. Really shocking lack of composure, Mamba. Before the match, the Lakers glue guy actually had been hanging around the U.S. women's team a bit. He visited them before they left for London and gave a little pep talk about "leadership, preparation, recovery, focus and playing with the pressure of being the #1 team." Please visit my Kickstarter to get Kobe Bryant to talk to me every morning about focus. The U.S. women won, 3-1, by the way.
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?
LISTEN UP, gang. The Olympics are here, and we're all excited. But there's a lot going on, and I know it can be hard to catch all the relevant action. You need to focus. You don't want to dishonor your country, do you? I still have nightmares about Olympics past where I got mired in water polo matches between countries like South Africa and Serbia while actual gold medals were being contested somewhere else. So for your benefit, I've constructed an itinerary that will keep you up to date on all the most important events throughout the next two days. This is for true fanatics, and the casual viewer should take caution before attempting any of this at home.
A couple notes before we begin. First, I assume for this itinerary that you are in possession of (1) a television with cable and (2) a computer with access to NBC's Live Extra, where you can watch every Olympic event live over the next two weeks provided you have a cable account or can "borrow" one from a friend. If you don't have these two essentials, I apologize, but you're out of luck. It's like a zombie apocalypse movie — when you come across a weak stranger without any weapons or supplies who's just going to hold you back and make survival harder, you have to make the tough choice and leave them to the brain-eaters.
Second, my priorities are threefold. One, I want to see the medal events — all of them. Follow my lead and you won't miss a single event where a gold is at stake. Two, I want to watch Americans in the team sports, and pretty much nobody else. We're all American here (for those who aren't — what are you waiting for?), and we want to watch Americans compete. Three, I want to see almost everything live. If you're the kind of lightweight who waits until NBC prime time to see the action, that's your prerogative, but expect me to call you up and scream the results at you immediately after they happen.
Time to get patriotic. Also, in the "don't say I never did anything for you" department, here's a public Google spreadsheet I made with a pretty full schedule of dates and times for event finals over the next two weeks.