Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Diving Final that Deserved its Primetime Spot


The Main Blurb
Diving is Chinese. The Chinese are diving. When you watch diving, you hear about the latest Chinese phenom. And more than likely, that Chinese phenom takes the gold medal. There are eight diving events. In Beijing, the Chinese delegation won seven of those golds. The only non-Chinese gold was won by Australian Matt Mitcham in the men’s 10m platform, the Olympics’ final diving event.

This Olympics was slightly different. The Chinese dominated in the golds again, but before the 10m platform, another non-Chinese Olympian took gold. Ilya Zakharov of Russia won the men’s 3m springboard with a huge amount of difficult dives.

And – finally! – in the diving Olympics, the divers to watch in the 10m platform were not Chinese. Well, there was one Chinese diver in contention – Qin Bo. But the other two divers in the spotlight – Great Britain’s Tom Daley and USA’s David Boudia – were able to step up and make this final the most exciting final in diving that I’d seen.

As I mentioned yesterday, diving was usually the opening hour of NBC’s primetime coverage. I don’t really know why; it usually had the same result: we’d watch the Americans do decent dives, miss the final or place low in the rankings, and see a Chinese person take the gold. I felt that there were so many other events that they could have shown in that first hour instead of diving. Do that many people in America care that much about diving? Is it like the gymnastics of water events that I just don’t know about?

I was glad to see that tonight’s diving event actually was interesting. Entering the final round of dives, the top three divers (who I’ve already mentioned) were only separated by less than two tenths of a point. Scoring in diving almost seems as confusing as scoring in the decathlon, but I trusted the judges tonight that they knew how to do it.

Tom Daley came first. Tom Daley, Team GB’s sweetheart. He was in the lead entering the sixth round. But because his dive had a lesser degree of difficulty, his score would total less than Qin’s or Boudia’s dive totals.

Boudia came next. He was favored to be the States’ greatest bet for a medal in diving (before the Americans took silver in women’s synchro springboard and bronze in men’s synchro springboard), and the fact that he was diving so well this evening was just Boudia living up to the expectations. His final dive was superb.

Qin Bo was last, with a lot to live up to. He needed to have the perfect dive in order to win the gold. Unfortunately for him, his dive came up just short. He passed Daley but couldn’t beat Boudia, who took the first diving gold for the States since 2000 and the first in the men’s platform since 1988! The top three divers were separated by three tenths of a point. Incredible.

I’m really hoping that American diving can improve just as much as in all the diving events and challenge the Chinese in every event. We did pretty well this time around (especially tonight), and hopefully we can carry the success onward to 2016.

Speaking of improvements…

The Blurb’s Presentations of American Athletes that Need to Step Up Next Time Around (TBPAANSUNTA, for short)
-          All men’s team events. This includes water polo, volleyball, beach volleyball, and why don’t we throw in handball and field hockey, too. Hopefully the basketball team will deliver tomorrow.

-          Men’s gymnastics, which could technically be included as a team event. But they do compete individually too. I’m especially looking for improvements in the rings and parallel bars (which no American male qualified in their event finals) and the POMMEL HORSE. Never have I seen such shoddy pommeling before!


-          Women’s volleyball. Now, I know that they got a medal, but it was another silver after letting a one-set lead slip away tonight against Brazil. It’s going to be even tougher next time, because the Olympics are in Brazil.

-          Boxing. One gold medal? Really?


-          Men’s 400 meter running. I’ve explained this one already.

-          All distance running – especially the ladies. (They’ve got the sprinting thing down.)


-          Chevy Malibu commercials (not athletes, but “That’s hippy talk!” is really getting on my nerves)

-          Lesser-Known-In-America events, like table tennis and badminton. And I really think we can train them really well here!


-          Throwing field events, like javelin and hammer throw and discus and shot put.

-          Synchronized Swimming and Rhythmic Gymnastics…maybe we’ll just concede those.


-          BMX! For a country that hosts the X Games and seems to have lots of teenagers on tiny bikes, we should really make a better appearance at this than what we did.

Mini Blurbs
Where was Kobe Bryant today? Well, first he was being interviewed by Ryan Seacrest – apparently there were others besides me that realized how many events he had attended as a spectator. And he gave a great interview about it. He was curious about how other athletes prepare for their events, and he was honored to be present at so many American victories, because he knew they were all a team together as Team USA and they were all bringing their best forward to honor their country. (Well said, sir. Please tell that to Mark Cuban.) Then he was watching the US ladies beat France in basketball. (They made it close at the half, but pulled away to win by 36.)

Alyson Felix is incredible. One DAY after winning gold in the women’s 4x100m relay, she ran in the 4x400m relay and helped them win gold! Outstanding!

I watched mountain cycling today and assumed it was new to the Olympics, because I hadn’t heard of it before. But apparently it’s been contested since 1996! Biking on stones? Too much for me.

This was the first night I really noticed the Olympic mascot out on the track. Apparently he’s been pretty visible, but I saw him cheering on the 5000m runners near the long jump pit.

Czech Republic Gold Medal Watch: Another one today! David Svoboda took gold in the modern pentathlon, which consists of fencing, swimming, showjumping, running, and shooting. (It’s celebrating its 100th anniversary in the Olympic games, created by the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin.)

Today’s roundup is a little wonky, since I was catching up on a few events from yesterday as well: synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, wrestling, canoe, kayak, running events, javelin, high jump, hammer throw, BMX, mountain cycling, diving, volleyball, basketball, open water swimming.

Tomorrow is the last day of the Olympics. I have to admit that I am exhausted, and I only have one person to blame: me, for making myself watch so many sports in so little time. But it's been awesome, and I thank you in advance for making this Blurb series so successful!