The Rio Olympics: They’re going the distance, they’re going for speed


The end of the swimming events meant that the Olympic Village was suddenly flooded with 899 (!) athletes with nothing better to do than get drunk on caipirinhas, get their samba on and take advantage of all those free condoms being passed out by the fistful. Among those swimmers was our favorite brah, Ryan Lochte, who was just trying to party with his fellow athletes when he and three others were held up by gunpoint. Ryan Lochte, whose other notable contribution to the Olympics was bleaching and dying his hair to pay tribute to the ever-changing colors of the diving pool, is fine, just missing his wallet. “And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever.’”

“I was like, ‘whatever.'” Jeah.

As for the diving pool, it, unlike Lochte’s hair, mellowed into a gray-green, and reportedly “smells like a fart.”  After athletes complained of eye irritation, the Rio officials took the extraordinary measure of completely replacing the water — but in only the water polo/synchronized swimming pool. Sorry, divers! You’re stuck with the “confused” water.

But hey! These Irish brothers who won the silver in rowing survived competing in raw sewage and give us this amazing interview, so we have that!

I love them.

We began last night at the Olympic stadium for a bunch of Women’s 100m dash semifinals, only to be told that the final is going to be run an hour later. So why should I care about these semifinals, exactly? I mean, aside from the fun hair choices that Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the wonderfully-named Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria made (SUCH PURPLE!), I don’t care about semifinals! Now, a Mary Carillo package about how the runners choose their hair colors, and what it all means and the process they go through to get such brilliant hues, THAT I could get behind.

Anyway, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and her glorious green-yellow hair makes it into the finals, as does America’s Tori Bowie, only to both be beaten by Jamaica’s other 100m runner, Elaine Thompson who not only gets a gold medal but the nifty title, “The Fastest Woman in the World.” The Jamaicans! They are so fast! And considering that as I leaned very recently, everything on that island moves at what is called “island time,” which translates to, “why don’t you just sit down and enjoy your fruity cocktail, nothing is going to be happening around here for a while,” it’s remarkable that they have created the world’s greatest sprinters in the last couple of decades.

Speaking of: Usain Bolt, whose Kingston restaurant, Tracks and Records, I will regret not going to last month. “Satisfaction through sight, sound, taste and touch,” y’all! I MISSED OUT ON ALL OF THAT SATISFACTION.

Bolt, the reigning “Fastest Man in the World,” had his first heat for the 100m and completely unsurprisingly, he qualifies for the semifinals. I guess it’s remarkable that he came in 4th overall, and didn’t just Katie Ledecky the competition.

katie ledecky at the end of the 800

In considerably less interesting news, there are so many other semifinals, including the men’s 400m and 800m and I don’t care? Wait, let me check … YEAH, DON’T CARE.

And it’s not that I don’t care about track and field — there are some very interesting things happening in the stadium that NBC decides to casually mention every so often, including the Men’s Long Jump. NBC cuts to this event every once in a while, just to see what’s going on, as if it’s NBD that these men, these actual human beings are — without the aid of anything but their bodies and a willful defiance of the laws of physics, HURLING THEMSELVES OVER 27 FEET THROUGH THE AIR. That’s amazing! Show me more of that! I am interested in hearing more about that, please! (It also doesn’t hurt that the British long jumper, bronze medalist Greg Rutherford, looks like a buff Weasley sibling. Engorgio and duro!)
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The other event that seemed hella cool that we spent about 2 minutes on was the Women’s Heptathlon or, as I know it, A Collection of Bad Ass Bitches Doing Seven Different Sports and Doing Each of Them Better Than You Will Do Anything in Your Life. The seven events in the heptathlon are:

  1. 100m Hurdles
  2. High Jump
  3. Shot Put
  4. 200m
  5. Long Jump
  6. Javelin
  7. 800m

And of all of those very interesting events, we see three women throw a javelin (and can we just talk about that weird little hoppy side run they do before they throw it? does that actually help with throwing a javelin? or is that just how you end up running when carrying a giant spear? I legit don’t know), and then the final 800m race. No shot put, no long jump, no high jump, just a bunch of women running around a very large circle for a very long time, which is so much less interesting than all those other events!

ADDITIONALLY, can I just point out that the women who compete in the heptathlon are crazy gorgeous? And half-naked? And if a gorgeous half-naked woman throwing shot put or leaping over hurdles isn’t a ratings draw, WHAT IS? If I have to watch two women in bikinis bop a ball over a net for an hour each night for two weeks, how come I can’t watch a whole bunch of women in bikinis do long jump or hurl spears for one night? I NEED ANSWERS.
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Going a long way towards those answers: no American wins anything because there were no Americans in the final.

But the most interesting of the track and field events last night (at least those that were covered by NBC) was, to no one’s shock greater than my own, the Men’s 10,000m. You read that correctly: 10,000 meters. As in 6.2 miles. As in 25 laps around the stadium. As in it took nearly a half an hour to complete. But it was riveting stuff, nonetheless, thanks to British runner and 2012 gold medalist, Mo Farah, and his very relaxed, almost casual attitude towards the whole thing.

Farah starts the race literally at the very back of the pack, letting all the dummies like some kid from Japan and some other big white guys whose names we never learn, bunch themselves up towards the front and exhaust themselves. “Have fun, stupids!” Mo Farah says to them as they break away on the first of TWENTY-FIVE LAPS. “Great plan you’ve got there! I’ll see you when I lap you for the fourth time later on!”

And because this race lasts literally 27 minutes, NBC turns its attention to other events for a while. When we return, Farah has made his way up to the fourth position, which, considering there are 33 other racers, and he did it in a matter of moments, is amazing to me — of course, I’m just amazed that there are 34 people who could run 25 laps in the first place. So what I’m saying is I’m easily impressed.

Then, for the majority of the rest of the race, the Ethiopian and Kenyan teams take turns blocking Farah from taking the lead, going so far as to try to run him into other runners as they lap and lap and lap and lap and lap and lap and lap. And then, somewhere in one of those endless laps, Farah’s training partner, a big doofy white kid from Portland, Oregon named Galen Rupp, manages to accidentally kick Farah’s foot, tripping him and knocking him to the ground where he is briefly trampled by the other runners. OH MO!

mo farrah falling

But Farah just pops right back up like NOTHING HAPPENED, and retakes his position in the race, going on to win it 15 laps later, and doing his little signature “MoBot” move as he comes over the finish line. It’s very emotional. It’s very awesome.
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MoBot forever.

As for the final night of swimming, we begin with the Women’s 50m Freestyle, which happens so fast, I didn’t even realize it had taken place? It was just a blur of arms, and then some hot Dane was crying because she had won gold? Simone Manuel was also apparently in this race and won silver, but I’m just going on the word of Google because I looked down to take a bite of my dinner and by the time I looked up the whole thing was over.

To balance the brevity of that race, the next is the Men’s 1500m Freestyle, the longest event in swimming. It’s also notable that there isn’t a Women’s Olympic counterpart to this event and there are no plans to add one, for reasons that are baffling. What the actual fuck, Olympics? It’s not as though women’s tiny women bodies can’t swim 1500 meters — in fact, some argue that because it’s an endurance race, women are actually better at it than men. And if it’s an issue that viewers aren’t interested in long-distance swimming: 1. why would viewers then be interested in men’s long-distance swimming, but not women’s and 2. have you met Katie Ledecky — who happens to hold the world record in the 1500m?

Anyway, after 30 laps and nearly 15 minutes, some Italian wins, and the American Connor who can spell his name takes silver.

The final women’s swimming event in these Rio Games is the Women’s 4×100 Variety Pack Relay, where the Americans fielded Kathleen Baker on the backstroke; Lilly King on the breaststroke (against her Soviet Russian nemesis Yulia Efimova); Dana Vollmer on the butterfly; and Simone Manuel on the Freestyle. Team USA wins because that’s just the narrative of these particular Olympics.

The final men’s event, the Men’s 4×100 Variety Pack Relay, is also Michael Phelps’ 30th and final event, and the most tragic thing to happen to NBC since that time they had to take Brian Williams off the anchor desk for saying that all those things that never happened actually did happen and happened to him personally this one time, for reals, you guys, seriously. Joining Phelps is Ryan Murphy on the backstroke; Cody Miller on the breaststroke; and Bobby’s new favorite swimmer, Nathan Adrian on the Freestyle. Murphy manages to break the world record on his 100m, but Cody Miller lets the lead slip a bit. Fortunately for him, one of his relay partners happens to be Michael Phelps who retakes the lead like nothing ever happened. The team goes on to win the gold, closing out swimming and Michael Phelps’ career.

“But might you go to Tokyo?” NBC asks. “I mean, there’s a chance we’ll see you again in 2020, right? How about this: no one is pressuring you to promise to be in the next Olympics, but how about you don’t shut the door on it altogether, either? Never say never, right? Amirite? PLEASE COME BACK,” NBC plaintively begs Michael Phelps while he’s just trying to enjoy this moment.
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Team USA’s women and men’s relay teams put on their podium pants for their medal ceremonies (which apparently were held for NBC’s scheduling) which were emotional affairs, and I’d be lying if I didn’t get all choked up when I saw Michael Phelps getting all choked up. We are just never going to see another athlete like him in our lifetimes, I’m certain of it. I mean, MY GOD, the man has won 28 medals, 23 of which were  GOLD MEDALS — 14 more than ANY OTHER COMPETITOR IN ANYTHING. He is so amazing, that he broke Olympic records dating back for more than 2,000 years. SO FUCK YOU, LEONIDAS OF RHODES! U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!A!

patriotic fourth of july speedo dancing

But somehow, this isn’t how we end last night’s primetime coverage, instead cutting to the end of some rowing race that clearly wasn’t happening live at 1 a.m. Rio time so … why? AND WHERE THE HELL IS MARY CARILLO? #FreeMaryCarillo.

Bobby has a much more interesting line-up to cover tonight: including some springboard diving, the race to determine if Usain Bolt is still the “Fastest Man in the World” and more Simone Biles, so I want to hear exactly zero complaining from him.

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