The Rio Olympics: The ‘N’ In NBC Is Not For Nostradamus

So we all agree that week two of the Olympics is never as good as week one, right? It definitely seems like NBC thinks so. That’s why it’s such a hodgepodge of coverage.
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The first few HOURS of Tuesday’s primetime coverage was a grab bag of track heats and flashes of high jump. To spice things up, I’ve put together a special video recap just for you:

The medal race we spend a lot of time hemming and hawing about is the men’s 110m hurdles, where Devon Allen will be competing. Besides having a very sharp haircut and being very handsome, Allen also plays football. He probably won’t be in Tokyo because he’ll be playing for the NFL, allegedly. Also allegedly, he’s going to win this race. Go Allen! Let’s see a bunch of shots of his college classmates and college football teammates watching the race in the stands and in some weird theater. Go, Devon!
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Exceeeeeepppptttt Devon Allen fails to medal in his race. Oh, well!

The only thing to come out of the night’s coverage is a flashback to earlier in the day when American distance runner Abbey D’Agostino collided with New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin during the 5,000-meter semi. The two took a tumble at the 3,200 meter mark, but D’Agostino was first to her feet. Instead of sprinting off to win the race, she helped Hamblin up and encouraged her to finish the race. The whole ordeal is so heartwarming, you should read all the details here. Or wait until Angelina Jolie directs the big screen biopic. Either way.


We’ve got some scraps of gymnastics left, and I will gobble them all up. Men’s parallel bars is up first, which, like most men’s gymnastics events, feels less thrilling than the ladies. It’s less about releases and flips and more about doing a lot of handstands. Handstands are very hard on solid ground, so I can only imagine they are much harder on these bars. Aside from China’s You Hao, who falls on his dismount, everyone else’s routines feel pretty similar. American hottie Danell Leyva snags silver, while gold goes to Ukraine’s Oleg Vernyayev.

Then, FINALLY, some fun. It’s the women’s FLOOR ROUTINE. For some reason, NBC abandoned the color coding for scores in this event, so I am completely lost. How will I ever know if someone is winning if their numerical score specified to the nearest thousandth isn’t accompanied by a green, yellow or red triangle?! Do you expect me, A BLOGGER, to actually compare numbers and decide which is higher? What is this, math class?!

Somehow, I power through. I enjoy Wang Yan’s performance, hoping to earn China its first individual gymnastics medal in Rio. Her score — a colorless 14.666 — feels low, BUT HOW COULD I BE CERTAIN?
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Next up is Erika Fasana from Italy, who’s dressed a little bit like Cher, and I am loving it. If she could turn back tooooouuiimmeeee, she would probably SCHNAP OUT OF IT and try to earn higher than the 14.533 the judges give her.

I’ll give the gold for music selection to Great Britain’s Amy Tinkler for performing to a “Pretty Woman” remix. Unfortunately, that’s not part of the official judging criteria, so she only ends up with a bronze medal.

That’s if they can find the medals or the cameras or the floor or any remnant of the city of Rio after Simone Biles destroys in her floor routine. I couldn’t take any detailed notes during her routine because it left me so breathless that I think actually blacked out at one point? She earns a 15.966 and the gold. This makes her the first gymnast since 1956 to win the team gold, the all-around gold and two individual event gold (floor and vault). She’s a superhero, and I love her.
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But what of London’s gold medal winner for floor, Aly Raisman? She turns in another ground-shaking, bad-ass routine and walks away with the silver medal. Now someone please get her parents a drink!
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On to volleyball, where Americans Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross will face-off with Brazil. NBC flashes all these facts about what records Kerri will break when she wins this gold: First to win four gold, first to win gold with different partners, etc. Now, this is the fourth Olympics where I’ve had to sit through Kerri Walsh Jennings blasting through her competitors, never losing an Olympic match. And, look, it was like 11 p.m. Eastern. I went to bed! I went to bed and assumed it would be another U.S. win, and I would just toss in a sentence about it in this recap in the morning.

Good thing I DVR’d it and watched this morning! Because HOLY SHIT they lost. They lost the match. They’re fighting for bronze! I mean, good for Brazil, but yowza. I’m a little stunned.

Only maybe I shouldn’t be? The announcers casually toss out that this isn’t even technically an upset, because, really, the Brazilians were ranked higher than the Americans going into these games. You certainly wouldn’t have guessed that based on NBC’s coverage. Have we learned nothing from Nate Silver?

Anyway, tonight, Therese will be covering some diving and a big race for Usain Bolt.

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