Saturday, August 21, 2004

OLYMPICS WRAPUP POST DAY #11: Capsules. The Olympics put me in such a good mood. Except when the US loses by 20 to Puerto Rico.

Basketball, Men's: Lithuania 94, USA 90. This kind of loss does not depress me, because 1. Lithuania is probably a better or at least even team with us and 2. we didn't look completely pathetic. We still lost, of course, and you could kind of tell we were heading in that direction when Jasikevicius hit the three and got the fould. (I wish NBA TV put on a lot more Euroball than they do, by the way.) He wasn't going to let them lose this time, and the fact that this was Stephon Marbury running with him this time and not Jason Kidd made that a bit easier. Picking on LB for leaving Marbury and his penchant for both taking and missing goofy shots is the consensus opinion emerging from this game.

We make the medal round anyway, NBC said. Spain--Spain!--is undefeated. They were not this good in Indianapolis.

Trampolin, Men's: Trampoline, at the Olympic level, is the domain of puffy, aging Slavic types. Luckily a kid from the Ukraine won. He'll be back in Beijing, ladies and gentlemen, he has that kind of trampoline competitive fire.

Track & Field: I lose interest in track pretty quickly, like I lose interest in swimming--it's all this straight, linear 1-2-3 rank order stuff. I can tell you that Stacy Dragila failed to qualify for the pole vault and that was unexpected. Gail Devers got eliminated. We took silver in 100 meter dash behind a Belorussian who is suddenly much faster at the Olympics. Must be that love of Belarus.

Having seen it just now, Nesterenko's victory looks pretty legit. She has no Ben Johnson guns (though I'm sure modern doping is much more subtle) and the commentator seems to like her "form" and the way she held herself. I apologize for casting aspersions on the ex-communist.

Some of these track girls are really cute. So if it's beach volleyball, it's objectification. If it's track, it's okay. Because...they

Archery, Men's: Boy howdy. South Korea 251, Taiwan 245 for the gold.

Big ups to the AP for calling them Taiwan, by the way, and none of this IOC Chinese Taipei horseshit. For an allegedly major country with ambitions to take the overall medal count in 2008, China sure has a sensitive government.

Table Tennis: And if China is taking the overall medal count in Beijing, table tennis will have to be the gold-medal given it has always been for them. I can't believe I just wrote that. They took gold in men's doubles, beating Hong Kong which I guess is like us beating Puerto Rico if we could ever beat Puerto Rico.

I Tivoed it but didn't watch it yet. Hey, I work Sundays.

Tennis: Justine (it's pronounced "Justin" in Belgian--did you know that? You got a girl's name, Slotman! Wait--I am Slotman....) Henin-Hardenne becomes the only name tennis star to medal, taking the gold in more tennis I didn't watch.

Handball, Women's: There was no women's handball on today, though there could have been. I would like to point out, if I haven't already, that nothing looks more like a legit version of roller derby than handball. It has that vibe. I can't explain it.

Volleyball, Men's: Was it my imagination or did NBC put on a US loss to Russia today that happened a few days ago? I think they did, because we beat Australia today to make the medal rounds. Weird.

Gymnastics: CONTROVERSY~! erupts at Athens today as the IGF suspends some judges for mis-scoring an event during the men's all-around that would've given Yang Tae-young gold and drop Paul Hamm to--bronze? I think I heard that. Anyway, drop him to not gold. This actually seems like it should be a lot more controversial than the Sale & Pelletier figure skating controversy during 2002, since it is a blatant mathematical mistake and not one where the whole viewing audience thought the gold went to the wrong person/people. And yet--since it is such a simple mistake--it's more of a fluke than a miscarriage of justice. With the thousandths of points separating the three winners this year, it seems really not worth making an issue of it; you could rerun the event and get three different winners. South Korea should let this one lie, I think--cripes, nobody was picking them to medal anyway. It's like a bad call at the end of the game: it's just part of the sport.

Swimming: Phelps got his eighth medal. I hope whoever was pushing Phelps down our throats is happy.

Our ARCH RIVALS IN SWIMMING beat us in the women's 800 meter relay. I imagine this means a lot more to the Australians than to us. Kind of like how every American commentator has an opinion on the basketball team.

Badminton, Men's: A crystal clear example of a country being foreign and caring about a certain sport is Indonesia and badminton. Taufik Hidayat of the aforementioned nation took the gold today and he's uspposed to be an actualy badminton bad boy, getting arrested outside of Jakarta nightspots and being splashed across the local tabloid. He has an earring. EDGY!

Soccer, Men's: Iraq beat Australia 1-0 today via an impressive bicycle kick that NBC always puts on when my back is turned. Tonight, by the way, there is a XXX DRUDGE EXCLUSIVE XXX that Dubya is planning on going to the soccer finale if they make it. The only problem is--they hate his guts. If Iraqi culture was slightly different they could give him the full-moon salute in protest, but--given Arab prohibitions on skin exposure--that is probably not a go.

Let me stick in a little politics here: this Swift Boat Vets thing has made mild-mannered Matt Yglesias finally go crazy. That's what he says, but I sort of think that Instapundit's attempt to turn Matt's own words against him has something to do with it. Meanwhile the always-intense Diana Moon has gotten intenser.

Just so I remember where I can find it again, here's Kerry's exact words from April, 1971 that got all the Nixon people against him and who are still pissed at him. I guess grudges die hard, but, as people have being saying lately, our lower-stakes politics are increasingly dominated by obsessives. The kind who would hold grudges for thirty years.

And I completely support Matt's campaign to push the Bush lied about cheesesteaks story. Because Bush did.

Beach Volleyball, Women's: May and Walsh beat the Chinese team and I am once again sad in more ways than one.

Baseball: Japan 4, Taiwan 3 in extra innings and I still haven't seen a baseball game yet and I've been watch a lot. The baseball coverage has been one area that NBC has really stunk at. On one hand, I can understand why--there's no cult aspect to it and there's no American presence so there's no reason to put it on. But--come on. If the American tv network isn't even showing it, that's just more ammo for the IOC to try and remove baseball. Even though an American team in Beijin in 2008 would be really choice.

That's it. I have some Tivo to watch.

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