The Rio Olympics: In which emotional abuse proves to be an effective coaching method and a vault apparatus just proves to be abusive

Just as a reminder about how this works: Bobby and I don’t actually care all that much about all of the Olympics, just the parts of the Olympics that NBC tells us to care about by airing them during the precious prime time hours. We’re just here for the sob stories and the pretty athletes and the pre-taped packages about Brazilian bikini waxes and caipirinhas.

In fact, during the Opening Ceremonies, a Twitterer created a firestorm of feminist outrage when she posted NBC’s explanation for the tape delay as featured in Business Insider:

nbc's explaination olympics

And that’s super-insulting! Women like sports just as much as men! In fact, not only are there are more women on Team USA than men, there are more women on Team USA than have ever been on any Olympic team ever, and the ladies are posed to win more medals than men this year. Thank you, Title IX!

Buuuuuuutttttt…. I also couldn’t help but also think that this deeply insulting quote quite accurately describes Bobby’s and my attitude towards this whole thing. We genuinely do not care about the result! We only care about the journey! We are terrible feminists! Who even gave me the right to vote anyway, that’s WAY too much responsibility for my tiny lady brain! In fact, I’ll just ask my husband who I should vote for in November…

Before we get to the prime time coverage, some other things that happened yesterday: USA won the first gold medal of the day in 10 meter air rifle in some sort of meta joke about Americans and guns, and this happened during the men’s cycling road race:

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve watched that clip, for serious, tho.

We begin the night with Men’s Gymnastics whose scoring system is so complicated, what with the decimal points and the concept that 15 > 14, that they make it easy on our wee girl brains by color coding the whole thing. A GREEN score is good! A YELLOW score is not so good! And a RED score is bad! Also, deductions are BAD. Follow?

math class is tough barbie
I hear ya, Barbie.

Last night’s events were the qualifying rounds for both team and individual competition. Each individual athlete’s score on a particular rotation would either qualify or disqualify him for that individual event later, and his score went towards his team’s overall score to determine whether they will be one of the eight teams to move on to the team medal event. Oh, and the team gets to drop a bad score. Got all that? Should I  have used pretty colors?

So this year’s story in Men’s Gymnastics is that Team Japan is expected to be the big winner; their superstar is a guy named Kōhei Uchimura who has won all the prizes for flippies and spinnies and hand stands in recent world competitions. However, this is the first year Team Brazil has ever even fielded a men’s team and during the qualifying rounds they do surprisingly well! In fact, at one point Uchimura shockingly falls on his face during the high bar, and Team Brazil actually ends up with more points than Japan. This doesn’t last long, but that it happened all came as much to the surprise of Team Brazil as anyone.

Oh, and did I mention that Team Brazil is crazy pretty? This is shocking as they are 1. gymnasts, and 2. Brazilian, but it’s totally true. Give Team Brazil the medals for prettiness.

But! Be sure to save some of the pretty medals for Team USA.

team usa men's gymnastics

Sure, I’m taller than most of them and I’m 5’2″ on a good day, and they look like they should be competing for a fantasy suite date on The Bachelorette, and I might be twice their age and have absolutely nothing to say to any of them… But U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!A!

I do have to note that the photo above is inaccurate. John Orozco, the hot one on the far left, wasn’t actually able to compete after busting his knee a few weeks back. Orozco was the subject of quite the sob story during the last Olympics. From Bobby:

He’s from the Bronx and his family couldn’t afford the mortgage. Despite his parents’ efforts to keep him out of the know, he figured it out and got a job at the gym. Are you tearing yet? Then his dad had a stroke while he was away at a competition and called him to tell him he might not be there when came home. Are you weeping now? His dad was OK, but then John tore his Achilles tendon and almost missed this opportunity! Luckily he’s here now, and his mother — who, with American flags sticking out of her hair, can barely even watch John compete because it’s too nerve-racking — is in the stands being all kinds of awesome. We’re rooting for this kid in a big way.

Luck wasn’t on his side this year and he was replaced with the equally hot Cuban-American Danell Leyva. Leyva joins team captain Sam Mikulak, and muscle hobbits Jake Dalton, Alexander Naddour and Chris Brooks who — hey! is from Houston! go H-Town!

And overall, Team USA does pretty well! In fact, they don’t show this to us during the prime time coverage, but they came in second overall to China, beating Russia, Britain, Brazil, Ukraine, Germany and even Japan with their face-falling antics. And I could give you all of the scores and numbers and COLOR CODES, but instead let’s just talk about the  highlights, including when Danell Leyva killed it on the parallel bars, scoring a 15.600 and was like, “THAT’S RIGHT, Y’ALL, AND I WAS ALMOST AN ALTERNATE.”

Also impressive, Alexander Naddour who did the swingies and turnies (technical names) on the pommel horse to earn a solid 15.366. However, where he won me over was on the rings, as pictured at the top of the post. He was so strong, he was like, “WATCH THIS, BITCHES…” and lifted his fingers UP OUT OF THE RING WHILE HOLDING HIMSELF IN AN ALMOST PERFECT HORIZONTAL LINE. Somehow this only earned him a 15.000, so maybe this scoring business is more complicated than my tiny little brain can handle. Alexander Naddour’s hair, meanwhile, earned a perfect 16.000.

But the most amazing thing that happened in Men’s Gymnastics last night was most definitely not shown during NBC’s prime time coverage. French gymnast Samir Ait Said was doing the vault when he landed wrong. LIKE, REALLY WRONG. LIKE, I DIDN’T KNOW THE HUMAN BODY COULD ACTUALLY LOOK LIKE THAT WRONG. Warning, you can not unsee the video below:

I’m so sorry about that. Here, look at the kittens.

Next up, a bunch of swimming.

Look, I straight up don’t care about the semifinal races, so we’re going to just skip those.

don't even care ron swanson

To NBC’s great disappointment, their ratings savior, Michael Phelps is not competing on this night, not even in what they keep insisting was “his” event, the 400m Individual Medley, or the swimming variety pack, as I like to call it. In his stead, Phelps’ training partner, Chase Kalisz competes and though he swam hard and beat his own time, he still comes in second to Kosuke Hagino from Japan. ~sad trombone~ But dude! It’s still a silver medal! That’s not not a big deal! So buck up and quit pouting at NBC’s Michelle Tafoya who is just trying to congratulate you on your good job, you big dumb wet baby.

The next medal event is the Men’s 400m Freestyle, in which Team USA has two Connors competing — because of COURSE Team USA has two Connors competing (even if one of the Connors is missing an “N” from his name. LEARN TO SPELL, CONOR).

But they aren’t so much of the story as is China’s 6’6″ swimmer Sun Yang, whom our announcers, Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines come thisclose to just outright calling an asshole. Apparently, this Sun Yang:

  • Was suspended for three months for doping, which China tried to keep secret
  • Got in trouble at last year’s world championship for pulling a female Brazilian swimmer’s foot while she was underwater
  • Was suspended for six months after being arrested for driving his Porsche without a license
  • Called the Japanese national anthem “ugly”
  • Got into a whole thing with his coach who didn’t like the flight attendant Yang was schtupping
  • And here in Rio, was accused of splashing his Australian rival, Mack Horton, during a practice session, which led to the entire Australian swim team staring down the Chinese swim team during a tense bus ride

Sun Yang! What an asshole!

And so, when Mack Horton defeats Sun Yang in this event, it feels like karma. Oh and the Connors came in fourth and fifth, who cares.

Next is the Women’s 400m Individual Variety Pack, and we are rooting for Team USA’s Maya DiRado who appears to be the most intelligent and grounded athlete we’ve met so far. DiRado not only is a Stanford graduate who got a perfect score on the math section of the SAT, but she also plans on going to work at a real job as soon as these Olympics — her first, and apparently only — are done.

DiRado is up against Hungary’s Katinka Hosszú, who after not winning any medals in London, apparently locked herself up in her room for a month until her husband/coach Shane Tusup told her to get over herself already.

About this relationship. First of all, it’s always suspect when someone marries their coach or trainer or manager. Like, Celine Dion’s weird-ass marriage to the guy who had been her manager since she was 12? THAT’S NOT ROMANTIC. THAT’S SUPER CREEPY. And as it turns out, Hosszú’s marriage isn’t what you might call “healthy.” In fact, when she came in fifth at an event in April, her husband reportedly told her to “stay in the pool and drown.” So, they seem happy!

But whatever semi-abusive dynamic these two kids have going on, it seems to be working — at least for Hosszú’s swimming — because she not only takes the gold medal, she completely shatters the world record, and comes in a full five seconds faster than silver medalist, DiRado. And this doesn’t even quite capture how amazing her time was — the previous world record was set in London by a 16-year-old Chinese swimmer, Ye Shiwen, who mysteriously is not competing this year despite being only 20. (And by “mysteriously,” I mean “doping-relatedly.”) Anyway, Shiwen’s record at the time blew everyone’s minds at 4:28.43, and Katrina Hosszú just shaved more than two seconds off of that with a final time of 4.26.36. So I guess living in mortal fear that your husband may drown you in the pool if you don’t win your event is effective!

The final swimming competition of the night is the Women’s 400m Freestyle Relay which America took the silver in, coming behind Australia and their ominous-sounding Campbell sisters.

And then NBC reassures you that yes, Michael Phelps will be on tomorrow night, please please please please please tune in, please.

Next up, Women’s Beach Volleyball, which I have a hard time watching because I just keep worrying that their bikini bottoms are going to ride up on them, which would be a plus for many of our viewers, certainly, but seems to me would be distracting during the heat of competition.

We beibegin with the end of China versus Switzerland which is not interesting at all until it suddenly becomes VERY INTERESTING when let’s call it the “game-ending-point” is challenged by the Chinese. China was about to win when what would have been the game-ending-point was called in the Swiss’ favor, so China utilized a new video challenge system. The refs review the tape right there in the stadium and called it in China’s favor, game over.

We then go back to Bob Costas who is like, “And now, Tom Brokaw is going to yammer at you about the Amazon.” And we head into a taped piece with Tom Brokaw riding in a motorboat down the Amazon River, looking thoughtful, saying Important Things about the jungle when SUDDENLY! we’re back to China and Switzerland’s match. It seems that the Swiss challenged the challenge and upon second review, the point really was in their favor! Which is exciting! We are in “UNCHARTED TERRITORY!” according to the breathless announcers! But then the Chinese win after two more points and the match is over for reals this time.

And with that, we’re back in the Amazon with Tom Brokaw contemplating naked natives (did you see the lady boobs? because there were lady boobs) and fish with human teeth.

pacu human teeth fish amazon

But the real reason we’re even bothering with Women’s Beach Volleyball is because bikinis and tight lady butts Team USA’s Kerri Walsh and new partner April Ross are playing tonight, and NBC loves them some Kerri Walsh. So, back in London, Kerri Walsh and her longtime partner Misty May Treanor defeated fellow Americans April Ross and Jennifer Kessy to win the gold medal. However, Misty May was serious about retiring this time, unlike her previous 8 times or whatever, so while congratulating April Ross after the match, Kerri Walsh whispered to her, “Let’s win Rio,” or something like that, you get the idea.

And so now they are a team and they are crazy dominant, Ross at one point described by the announcers as being, “on her belly like a reptile” which I’m sure she appreciated, and they just straight-up kill Australia who never had a chance. I’d tell you the score, but I was distracted by the Kitten Summer Games.

Check in tomorrow for coverage of women’s synchronized diving, Michael Phelps and other swimmers and women’s gymnastics including Houston badass, Simone Biles.

One thought on “The Rio Olympics: In which emotional abuse proves to be an effective coaching method and a vault apparatus just proves to be abusive

  1. I commented to my friend “that man is giving me “Peak Maradona on Cocaine realness.” It is my favorite part of the Olympics, so far.

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