I forgot to mention that the day before they started "synchronized swimming." (Or as I like to refer to it, Synch-R-Swim.") I think I must have blocked it out of my system, which is why I didn't bring it up. That, and because I only watch three seconds before realizing what event was on and switching away. "But it's so pretty" has never been my standard for an Olympic sport. And "it's very difficult and physical" isn't one of my standards either, since that would make house construction work eligible for the 2020 Games. I realize that there is synchronized diving, but I think there are differences. For starters, there is actual "diving" an an Olympic event, so doing it in tandem seems an understandable extension. There's no "solo synchronized swimming" -- though I might enjoy that, a person flailing around in the pool, by his or herself. Also, diving is based on accomplishing physical skills. Synch-R-swim is based doing something the same as another person. But then, I'm not a big fan of synchronized diving, so there's a limit how far I'll go to defend it.
The finals of the diving had a bizarre moment. I thought they might show it on the primetime show, since they cover diving so heavily. But no It was when the 2012 Gold Medalist, Ilya Zakhorov of Russia made his dive, and -- okay, I'm not exaggerating here. It was like he was at the local pool and did a cannon ball off the board and belly flopped. As proof that I'm not exaggerating, his score was...zero. Across the board. 0.00 and 0.00 and 0.00 and 0.00 and 0.00. He doesn't exactly do a cannon ball, but dives way off to the side, spins out of control and does appear to do a belly flop. Analyst Cynthia Potter is aghast. Almost at a loss of words for what she sees, and really can't describe it, except for saying how horrific it is.
There was a wonderful interview with Emma Coburn, who not only won the Silver Medal in the steeplechase, but was the first American woman to win a medal in the event. But it was wonderful not for the reason one would expect. Al Michaels lead into his first question with a nice set-up, going into her past running events and wondering what it was that got her into wanting to get into a competition that had her jumping over 28 obstacles. But instead of answering that, instead she explained that she used to play ice hockey as a little girl, and it was watching the Miracle on Ice hockey victory that was her first Olympic memory which is what created her interest in the Olympics. "And you don't know how excited I am to be here with you, after hearing your voice call that call that was so important to me." And she kept going on and on about how in awe she was to be there with him. Michaels handled it well, and graciously, and as she kept going on said, "I should introduce to the real people who did that, Jim Craig and Mike Euzione..." To which she said, "I wouldn't be able to talk." And then as she collected herself and started to answer, paused again, "My heart is beating so fast." Eventually, she got down to answering, it was charming and informative. Yet even when it was all over, she thanked Michaels for being so meaningful to her.
And still no featurettes by the great Mary Carillo. Yet NBC has been able to find plenty of time to show Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir traipsing around Rio checking out clothes. And follow Saun White going around doing something or other. Free Mary Carillo!!! C'mon, NBC, you promoted her heavily in your pre-Olympics show talking with Bob Costas the night before the Games started. So, clearly, those videos are shot and completed -- since she does her featurettes well in advance. Show them already!!
Good news, bad news update.
After writing the above, I finally got around to catching up with the late night show. And they announced that there would be a piece with...Mary Carillo!! That's the good news.
It’s her playing ping-pong with Leslie Jones.
And yes, that's the bad. To be clear, it was fun. It was almost guaranteed to be fun on several levels. But this is not why I love Mary Carillo. Mary Carillo does joyously entertaining pieces that actually are substantively about something, about the culture she’s dumped into, the more exotic and unknown the better.. And they have these featurettes completed that she's already made, all absolutely wonderful, I'm absolutely sure. Otherwise, why promote them so heavily during the pre-Olympics special?
Well, it’s better than nothing. Sigh.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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