Sorry for missing the last few days of blogging, y’all. I’ve just been so busy booting up Grindr and hunting down dates with journalists. (Just kidding! Journalists can’t afford dates!) Look, people, the first rule of Grindr is we don’t talk about Grindr, specifically whom we see on Grindr. The second rule is NO STRAIGHTIES ALLOWED. I don’t show up at your fantasy football party and tell everyone which Facts of Life actress you’re all jerking off to together, or whatever the fuck you people do there. Leave our sexy, horny Olympic hotties to get theirs.
Anyway, don’t we all have more important thing to talk about? Like, I don’t know, all the gold medals and history-making that was done last night?
I’m so excited about last night’s winners, I don’t even know where to start. And the fact that I am struggling to choose between which incredible young, female athletes of color to start beaming about first is the reason why I love the Olympics so much. As bummed as I am about the presidential race every single day, I sincerely could not be more excited by the thought of all kids today having Simone Biles and Simone Manuel to look up to.
Manuel took home the gold in the 100-meter freestyle swim, tying with a Canadian swimmer and making her the first African-American woman to ever win an individual medal in swimming. Already, that’s an incredible achievement, but there’s more historical significance at play. Swimming and pools in particular have an ugly history of being racially charged spaces, and these tweets reacting to Manuel’s win express just how meaningful this is. The 20-year-old Stanford student also hasn’t been afraid to talk about what this win means, nor is she hesitant to discuss the connection to the myriad ways racial inequality and injustice is still plaguing us today. I love this girl.
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Before we lavish praise on the other super Simone in Rio, let’s finish things off in the pool, where NBC spent so much time tracking Michael Phelps in real time for like 45 minutes. First, he took on his frenemy Ryan Lochte in the 200 individual medley, and, I got to say, I’m a sucker for a good medley, whether that’s in the pool or in the Cabaret. (More on that later.) They make a big deal about these two like they’re rivals. They even show each swimmer’s entrance from the back, which all feels very WWE. Lochte and his amazing technicolor dye job fail to medal, while Phelps handidly picks up the gold, winning by legit two seconds, which is an eternity when it comes to these kinds of things.
Then everyone made a big ol’ deal about how Phelps was up to swim in the 100 meter butterfly less than forty minutes later. They actually put a countdown clock up on the screen. I get that this is impressive, really, I do, but, like, at this point, nothing about Michael Phelps surprises me. That’s not true, actually. I’m still always surprised by the amount of real estate between his belly-button and penis. He’s built like a Na’vi. He manages to hop back in the pool and swim swim swim and qualify for the finals in the 100m butterfly, hooray!
Olympic hottie Nathan Adrian and my new swimming daddy Anthony Ervin both gave me semis, swimming semi finals in the 50-meter freestyle. Adrian came in second in his heat, while Ervin tied for first. That’s notable, because Ervin actually tied for gold 16 years ago in Sydney.
A few other quick hits in the pool: Missy Franklin failed to qualify in … something, I wasn’t really paying attention. Some Russian swimmer Yuliya Efimova won a silver medal in the 200m breaststroke, but everyone is mad because she is apparently a drug-cheating cheater. Boo! Also, Ryan Murphy (not this one, this one) won another gold in the backstroke.
Alright, everyone out of the pool! And make sure you’re dry before coming into the house! Everyone grab your sparkly unitard, because it’s all gymnastics from here on out.
It’s time for the women’s all-around competition where we’ll be following the Russians, Brazilians, Chinese and the Americans as they do all their spins, flips, tumbles, swings and cool dance poses. This year is all about Simone Biles, whose record, according to the announcers, is literally “She won everything.” Ok! There’s also Aly Raisman, she’s the one who was robbed of a bronze medal in the all-around in London because she tied with Aliya Mustafina and the tricky gymnastics rules say that bronze medal-winning gymnasts are like Highlanders — there can only be one. As for the Chinese, apparently they are doing so very bad in Rio. So bad, in fact, that the coaches are being asked to give back the bonus they got for doing so well in London and Beijing.
The first apparatus in the American competitors’ rotation is the vault. Simone stuns and launches herself into first place with a 15.866, while Chinese gymnast Wang Yan (whose bodyweight is 70 percent hair glitter) barely gets off the vault and lands out of bounds, earning a 14.733. Aliya Mustafina tries to do a little spin to hide the fact she landed sort of wonky, but we all know that trick.
Next up are the uneven bars. What I really want to know is, what’s up with the guys who stand off to the side when they’re doing the bars? Are those guys really expected to catch these girls if they fall? I just struggle to think they could be any sort of effective when 70 pounds of pure muscle and 20 pounds of hair glitter is spinning like a buzzsaw ready to kick you in the face. This rotation is less kind to the Americans. Despite what looked to my untrained eye as a flawless uneven bars routine, Simone only gets a 14.966. That’s a hair better than Raisman, whom earned a 14.166. The Russians dominated on the bars. Mustafina’s dismount is so iconic, it’s named after her and earned her a 15.66 (and the top spot at the halfway point).
That’s OK, though! Do not panic, because the final two apparatuses (apparati?) are where Biles and Raisman really kill it. Watching them on the beam was insane. They were confident and solid, while their competitors totally bit it. When Mustafina received her score (13.866) the announcer actually said “hammer time,” whatever that means! Maybe she’s bankrupt now? Maybe the Russians will make her wear shiny balloon pants for life? Maybe she is too legit to quit? WHO KNOWS! The other Russian, Seda somethingsomething, fares no better, falling on her landing. The announcers called it “a couple of Russian failures.” That was way harsh, Tai.
That leaves just floor routines, and if you haven’t watched Biles or Raisman do a floor routine, you are sincerely missing out. I mean, despite watching so many Olympic games, I still only very barely understand the rules or the point of ANY of this, but watching them perform I repeatedly exclaimed “Oh god!” “Jesus!” “Holy shit!” because what they do is so purely, objectively awe-inspiring. When Simone ended her routine, I legit spontaneously started applauding. I couldn’t control myself. She earned a 15.933 and the gold.
Raisman didn’t do too shabby herself, turning in another supremely impressive routine and scoring 15.433. As soon as she ended, she broke into tears, and her mom broke into tears, and I broke into tears. Go on, girl. You get that silver.
Mustafina earned the bronze with a very Russian, somber sort of floor routine that lacked the razzamatazz I so desperately want. Luckily, Brazilian Rebeca Andrade performed to a samba-slash-Beyoncé MEDLEY and I damn near lost my mind. She may not have gave me gold, but she gave me LIFE, MAMA.
So, there you have it. Simone Biles picks up her second of potentially five gold medals. Bob Costas calls her “histonishingly talented,” which, by no means an actual word, still feels very appropriate. Aly Raisman seemed to set things right by vanquishing Mustafina. Simone Manuel is an unexpected, but so, so welcome star. And Michael Phelps continues to do what Michael Phelps does: Win gold medals.
Tonight, I’m back to recap track and field (ugh!), swimming (boo!), women’s diving (come on!) and beach volleyball (noooooooooooo!).