Saturday, August 11, 2012

WARNING: Obligatory "Girls Rule" Article Ahead


The Main Blurb
It’s Ladies’ Night!

I got to watch the women’s 4x100m relay live this afternoon, and then again tonight. Wow – what a race! After watching the baton drop from their hands back in Beijing, it was refreshing to see their handoffs so crisp and clean.

One of my fears coming into these Olympics was that China was going to take the medals count again, like they did back in 2008. Technically we haven’t led a medals count and the gold medal count at the end of two weeks since 2004 in Athens. Germany won total medals in 2006, China won the most gold medals in 2008, and Canada and Germany finished ahead of the US in golds in 2010. It looks like by the end of the night Sunday we will be in the lead again. Most of it, actually, is thanks to the ladies. Out of 41 gold medals, 27 of them have been won by women.

In team events, the women have done far better than the men. Soccer won gold, water polo won gold, and volleyball plays tomorrow for gold. Water polo and volleyball didn’t make it to the medal round, and soccer didn’t even qualify for the Olympics this year!

In gymnastics, the men only won one gold for the United States: Danell Lleyva’s bronze medal in the all-around competition. Put that up against the gymnastics women, who won 5: team gold, Gabby Douglas all-around gold, Aly Raisman floor exercise gold, Raisman bronze, and McKayla Maroney silver. They also managed to hoodwink the media into forgetting that the University of Michigan men’s basketball team of the late 1980s-early 1990s was called “The Fab Five” years before these gymnasts. But they were much more willing to take on the nickname “Fierce Five” instead. At least it wasn’t “Fantastic Five.” Then I would have a problem.

Then there are the lesser known ladies that won. Shooter Kim Rhode won gold once again, medaling in her fifth straight Olympics. On the other end, 17 year-old Claressa Shields took gold in boxing. Jenn Shur won a title in pole vault – no American man cleared the first height in their pole vaulting final.

Plus, Alyson Felix and the ladies’ relay team just proved that it is possible to beat a Jamaican sprint team. Which American man can say the same? (As of right now, before the men’s 4x100m relay tomorrow.)

Don’t forget the swimmers – Missy Franklin, Dana Vollmer, Rebecca Soni, Allison Schmitt, and Katie Ledecky all won golds for the US.

I hope that the men are able to take this “subpar” showing as a way to spur them on for Sochi and Rio’s competitions. And I hope that the ladies are able to ride the wave to many more medals to come.

Mini Blurbs
Sochi alert! Winter Olympics Blurb favorite Evan Lysacek made an appearance at “The Today Show” this morning to announce that he will in fact be competing against Evgeni Plushenko in men’s figure skating in 2014. The fangirl in me shouts “Whee!” while the journalist in me goes, “You’re going to be creamed.”

Sign the Olympics are winding down: documentaries at the beginning of primetime coverage; Jimmy Fallon doing "thank-you notes" at the end of primetime coverage. 

We got a wrestling gold! Jordan Burroughs took the gold in the 74kg weight class, and even though he played for Nebraska in college, I’ll forgive him for that.

Has there been a more disappointing Olympic sport than BMX cycling for the Americans? It’s one of those “ignorant American” sports, I suppose, when we think we’re the best at it, and then we watch it and realize that there are soooo many other countries that are better than us. Our best doesn’t even make it onto the medal stand.

I was talking to a friend today about the Olympics coverage, and she said we were missing the evening coverage, and I told her, “Don’t worry; they open up with something relatively boring – like diving.” Sure enough, we turn on the TV and diving is on!

We used to be so dominant in the 400m runs. Now the Bahamas is beating us. Between injuries and the other countries getting better at that distance, I am no longer confident in the middle distance runners. Let’s get back on track! (Get it?)

NBC Daytime Olympic coverage ended today with a closing montage of great moments. I couldn’t believe they were wrapping it up already! We still have two more days! Don’t cut this celebration short, NBC!

Czech Republic Gold Medal Watch: None today.

Today’s roundup: I had the fitness center all to myself today, so I put one TV on NBC, one TV on MSNBC, and one TV on NBC Sports Network. Those three alone allowed me to watch basketball, wrestling, rhythmic gymnastics, and soccer. You can add synchronized swimming, hammer throw, pole vault, running events, and handball to that total.