The Rio Olympics: Running Out of Interest

Is it just me or are these Olympic Games more sport than spectacle? Yes, there’s been drama and excitement and whatever the fuck is happening with Ryan Lochte, but where are all the video packages about how Allyson Felix loves basket weaving? Or how Katie Ledecky eats 5,000 pounds of spaghetti a week? Where is Mary Carillo making sand art?


Instead, night after night I feel like I’m just watching … sports, and that is not what I signed up for.

So, yeah, hooray for Usain Bolt winning the 200m. Hooray for Dalilah Muhammad for winning gold in the 400m hurdles. Hooray for Ashton Eaton winning the decathlon. Boo for the decathlon concluding with the 1500m, which is the most boring thing to watch.

I’m not saying running isn’t hard; I’m saying it’s hard to snark about.

At least the women’s 4x100m relay has some DRAMA.

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During the qualifying heat, a Brazilian racer ran out of bounds, crashing into one of the American runners during a hand-off, forcing the Americans to drop the baton. The U.S. team filed a complaint or protest or whatever, allowing them to redo the race to qualify for the final. Instead of running with all the other teams, they get to run on an empty track for a qualifying time. It’s weird to watch, but they make it!

We also see a bit of the men’s shot putters, who are scary and sexy at the same time? They’re like these big, screaming, husky hunks. If all the Olympics were a Pride week, the shot put would be like bear night? Basically, all these dudes are like one leather harness away from asking to pee on me. Essentially.

ANYWAY, what were we talking about? Oh, right, American Ryan Crouser takes the gold, while his teammate Joe Kovacs screams his way to silver. I am both terrified and a little turned on.

Let’s cool down with a dip in the pool as we cannonball into diving a few rounds into the final. No one can touch the Chinese divers, Ren Qian and Si Yajie, but American Jess Parratto seems like she’s got a good chance to make bronze. Let’s watch! No sooner does NBC decide that the chance for an American to medal is reason enough to tune in to platform diving does Parratto bite it big on a dive and fall out of medal contention. Oh, boo.

Focus shifts to Canadian diver Meaghan Benfeito. Although she clearly doesn’t deserve a gold in spelling “meaghan,” this is her first opportunity for a solo medal, having won Olympic hardware already as a synchronized diver. That’s not enough for me to give a flying bag of milk about the whole thing. China takes gold and silver. Benfeito takes bronze.

Our final event for the night also seemed like it was going to be a bore. Men’s beach volleyball, and nary an American competitor in sight. That is until I got a good look at Brazil’s Alison Cerutti.

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Not that his teammate or his Italian competitors are trolls by any stretch, and they’re playing in a downpour. Suddenly I feel like i’m in a Backstreet Boys from the late ‘90s, and I can tell you that they are not the only ones getting wet IF YOU GET MY DRIFT AND I THINK YOU DO.

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The crowd is losing their minds for the home team, at one point chanting the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” which sounds much more menacing than you would think! Apparently it works because the Brazilians take the gold.

Our Bob Costas night-night interview comes courtesy some douchenozzle David Feherty from the Golf Channel, WHATEVER THAT IS, giving us the most misogynist video package. On women’s weightlifting, he says he’s “glad I never made my wife angry enough to get into that kind of thing.” They flash women playing beach volleyball, and Feherty says he watched that “for quite a while.” When discussing Kosovo’s first-ever gold medal coming from women’s judo, Feherty described the winning woman as “some father’s baby girl.” I get this is part of Feherty’s wild and crazy guy persona, but, ugh NO THANK YOU.

Doesn’t he know by now we are living in a post-Lemonade society? It’s only OK to objectify the male athletes. Come on.

Tonight I pass the baton for the last time to Therese as she covers the relay finals and men’s diving.

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