The Rio Olympics: Who knew there even was this much beach volleyball?

It’s Day Five of the Olympic events, and Day Three of me of me blogging Olympic events.

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Before we get to last night’s NBC’s primetime coverage of a bunch of sports we’ve frankly had enough of, thanks, a quick foolishness roundup of the Rio Games:

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We begin NBC’s primetime coverage of Day Five with women’s beach volleyball.

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Can I just turn this blog over to Leslie Jones’ twitter account and call it a day? No? But are you sure? Because she’s much more enthusiastic about beach volleyball and Kerri Walsh and April Ross than I am and it’s just soooooo hard to be enthusiastic when OH MY GOD WE’RE STILL IN PRELIMINARIES, Y’ALL.

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So Kerri Walsh and April Ross played the Swiss team, Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Vergé-Dépré, last night and they had the common sense to wear pants as it is winter in Brazil. As for Ross and Walsh, they went out there in long sleeves and bikini bottoms because they know what pays the bills and it ain’t leggings.
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And, as we’ve said a thousand times, we’re not a sports blog so I don’t know the “rules” or “how the game is played” or “what is even happening,” but from what I’ve gathered from the hours of beach volleyball that I’ve been subjected to just this week, there are at least two sets (?) in a match (?), and Walsh and Ross have, up until last night, been easily eliminating their competition after said two sets. However, the Swiss here, all hopped up on chocolate and punctuality, give the Americans a run for their bikini bottoms, beating them in the second set (?). And the announcers become VERY WORKED UP about this, pointing out that Walsh has never lost an Olympic match, and that Ross has only lost one match — to Kerri Walsh in the London Olympics. But all the excitement ends during in the third set when Forrer falls down and bangs her head, and the Americans win, and Walsh and Ross are all like, “YEAH, IN YOUR FACE, FERRERO ROCHER.”

So, great, good for them, go USA, whatever.

Onto yet more swimming, which I like more than beach volleyball, because I like most things more than beach volleyball, but if I were being honest with you, is growing rather tedious as well. And I’m not saying that NBC shouldn’t cover swimming in primetime; obviously, cover swimming in primetime. But do we have to sit through every single semifinal? Can’t we give, I don’t know, fencing or weightlifting or table tennis or rugby some of the time wasted on swimming semifinals? I JUST CAN’T CARE ANYMORE ABOUT SWIMMING SEMIFINALS.

Fortunately, we begin with a final: the Men’s 200m Breaststroke which is won by the blondest Kazakh I’ve ever seen. I know that’s probably racist, save your angry tweet, but it’s true. Coming in second is American Josh Prenot, whom apparently NBC does not care one whit about as they throw us not a single trivia nugget about him. Nothing about his grandparents or his pet dog or how he is related to Harry Caray, or how he started swimming in the womb, nothing. The Russian, Anton Chupkov, wins the bronze, but comes in first for “Most Russian Name Ever.”

Then back to the semifinals I don’t care about. Well, I half-care about the first semifinal, the Women’s 100m Freestyle, but only because Houstonian (really Sugar Land, but who’s counting?) Simone Manuel wins it. GO HOUSTON! GO HOUSTON GIRLS NAMED “SIMONE” WHO ACTUALLY LIVE IN THE SUBURBS! But then I have to go have a lie down when I learn she was born after I had graduated from college.

One of those Australian Campbell sisters wins the second semifinal I do not care about. In the third semifinal I do not care about, we learn that when American winner Ryan Murphy was three-years-old, he “saved” his not-drowning 5-year-old brother, Sean. (Because of course Ryan Murphy’s brother’s name is “Sean.” Let’s take bets on which one of them bears the middle name “Patrick.”) And in the fourth semifinal I do not care about, a Russian named Evgeny Rylov wins, but comes in fifth in “Names That Could Be a Die Hard Villain’s.”

We take a blessed break from swimming semifinals I do not care about to learn a little something about American cyclist Kristin Armstrong who is celebrating her 43rd birthday today after having just won her third gold medal in individual time trial. Things we learn: she’s a mom; she won her first gold in Beijing; she keeps trying to retire but someone won’t let her (it’s never revealed who, but I’ve got my eye on that Hungarian swimmer’s husband); she’s the oldest individual gold medalist in the Summer Games since archer Galen Carter Spencer won gold in 1904. And that is impressive, until you learn that Galen Carter Spencer was 64 when he won gold. On the one hand, 64 is OLD! On the other, it was 1904, so all of his competition was probably ill with a flux of humours or the French Pox or chin cough, so.

Back to swimming where we learn that Michael Phelps’ coach used to step on his goggles and break them so that Phelps could learn to deal with adversity or some shit and that’s why he didn’t freak out in the relay the other day when his swim cap kept breaking. Swim coaches: assholes because they love you.

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Spain’s Mireia Belmonte beats Australia’s Madeline Grove in the Women’s 200m Butterfly final but by literally .03 of a second. READ THAT NUMBER OUT LOUD. DO IT. THREE ONE HUNDREDTHS OF A SECOND. I don’t know, I think maybe they should share the gold, but then no one ever asks me.

Oh, and two Americans who literally have no idea how their names are spelled, Cammile Adams (from Houston!) and Hali Flickinger, come in 4th and 7th respectively. Y’all, what happened in the 90s to make all these parents lose the ability to spell common names? Was there a lot of lead in the water back then? Was misspelling your infant’s name a big trend at the time? Were they all in on a massive practical joke on their offspring? I need answers.

There’s another final, the Men’s 100m Freestyle, about which I have nothing to say. Australian Kyle Chambers wins it, American Nathan Adrian comes in third, but I think we can all agree it’s last place finisher Brazilian Marcelo Chierighini whom we want to hear more about:
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THE SWIMMING, IT NEVER ENDS. There’s another semifinal I don’t care about and another, and another and then we get to a semifinal that we’re supposed to at least kinda care about because it features Michael Phelps and dum-dum Ryan Lochte, and Michael Phelps wins it, BUT I STILL DON’T CARE, I JUST DON’T.

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Finally, FINALLY, we get to the last of the swimming final of the night, the Women’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay, which is won decidedly by our American team: Katie Ledecky.

Our final hour of primetime coverage is devoted WHOLLY and ENTIRELY to the men’s gymnastics individual all-arounds, which I will take credit for after having spent an entire post screaming at NBC when they previously shortchanged us on men’s gymnastics. You’re welcome.

Unfortunately, however, Team USA has about as much of a chance in the individuals as they did in the team all-arounds which is to say, “none at all.” Sam Mikulak and Houston’s Chris Brooks are up against the Japanese gymnast and anime character, Kōhei Uchimura, whom everyone keeps calling “the Simone Biles of men’s gymnastics greatest of all time.” And Uchimura’s only competition is Ukrainian gymnast Oleg Verniaiev, who beat him in the qualification rounds.

So, funny story about the Ukrainians, and by “funny” I mean “weird and inexplicable.” Ukraine was one of the top 8 teams to make the team all-arounds, which, yay! Go Ukraine! But then, during the event, one their gymnasts, Maksym Semiankiv, was injured? was sick? was angry at his coaches? was reenacting that one scene in Stick It? was paid off by Vladimir Putin? lost his damn mind? and proceeded to scratch the four events he was supposed to compete in, giving Ukraine a 0 on each of those scores, and ultimately dragging Ukraine into last place. Now, the official explanation was that he injured his hand, but why Ukraine didn’t withdraw and allow the 9th place Swiss team take their place remains a mystery. A bullshit move — but a mystery.

During the individual all-arounds, the competition just bounces between Uchimura and Verniaiev, though NBC does take a moment or two to check in mostly on Chris Brooks to remind us that yes, the Americans are still here, and they’re doing just a great job, champs! Their participation trophies will count just as much as a medal! before returning to the actual competitors in this event.

And I could bore you with scores and vague descriptions of handstands and flips and men holding themselves very, very still and very very stiffly, but who cares really? The anime character takes the gold, the Ukrainian kid takes the silver, and some Brit takes the bronze, but we all win because here is this picture of Sam Mikulak:
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On that note, I’m handing the blog over to Bobby and going to go sit in an ice bath, maybe do some cupping. Tonight, Bobby will be watching the women’s individual all-around in gymnastics and a bunch more swimming, but — wait — no women’s beach volleyball? THIS IS SOME BULLSHIT.

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