I've been watching more coverage on the NBCsports channel this year than past Olympics. It's really matured as a channel, and NBC has given them more and better competitions. I also think they've got pretty good in-studio hosts than in the past, which is helpful because they tend to do more in-studio interviews than on the other of the Many Networks of NBC, including the mother ship.
Dan Patrick is the anchor, and is -- and has always been - a gem at his work. I also think Liam McHugh does a very strong job, which he's been building at for a while, particularly on hockey broadcasts. My only quibble with him is that he has a bit of a snarky, self-important air about him. As the morning anchor, Carolyn Manna is pretty good, a little light, but knowledgeable and handles interviews well. Oddly, though, for a while I didn't know her name, so I went online to search for the reporters that NBCsports was using. And I thought I figured out who she was -- but then, er...nope, maybe not. And I kept double the pictures between her and Rebecca Lowe, who's also a host on the networkl, and checked them them against the TV picture, and -- I still wasn't sure, and it took me about 15 minutes before I had a solid guess. And around that time they superimposed her name on the screen, and it was indeed Carolyn Manno.
But here -- okay, for those scoffing at my cluelessness, this is why I was having a problem. That's Carolyn Manno on the left, and Rebecca Lowe on the right. I think...
My favorite competition in the Olympics, at least in the odd event category, and maybe for all sports, was on this afternoon. Whitewater kayak. As I said the other day, I'm not completely sure why I love it so much, but it just a fun, very different, comforting event for me.
For those keeping a scorecard, the winner was Denis Gargaud Chanut of France.
I don't have any footage from today, but this is a respectable two-minute video to give you an idea of what I like so much. It's from the Olympics, but Athens, 2004. I'm not sure the language doing the commentary, but it seems like perhaps Russian. That only helps add to the oddity.
In the late afternoon, NBC had finished their mid-day coverage, so all that was left on the air was NBCsports. And the sport they were covering was boxing. So, I had an opportunity to give them a more full chance to see how they're doing without Teddy Atlas as the expert analysts. And they were doing poorly. The people they have not only pale compared to the exuberant, detailed, opinionated Atlas -- but they were just plain and flat by almost any standard. A shame.
I like Rowdy Gaines, who does the expert analysis for swimming. And in the afternoon, he had a very good, supportive commentary about U.S. gold medalist Lilly King, who'd made some strong statements about athletes who've tested posted for performance enhancing drugs. And he gives informative descriptions of the events. But man, does he have to STOP SHOUTING SO FREAKING MUCH.
Tim Daggett continues to do a very good job commentary on gymnastics, enthusiastic for the Americans, but objective, and Nastia Lukin continues to be fine, but much too limited. And Al Trautwig is very solid as the anchor on a meticulous, nuanced sport of which he hasn't experience the nuances . But they have to stop being silent during the floor exercise. I know it's "oh so pretty," but it's not a dance, it's an athletic competition, and I want to know what's going on. Not just if there's a rare, big mistake. They do talk during the other events, so my guess is that that's the Word from Above.
I loved the nickname that the Gold medal-winning American girls team gave themselves, The Final Five. At first I thought it was pretentious. And I didn't came if they had a name. And I thought it was silly to present their nickname is such a big to-do way. And that in an earlier interview before the Games began they refused to give their nickname, insisting to keep it a secret. But then I realized it was not only related to how teams will only have four members, not five at future Olympics, but -- more to the point -- it was an homage to the legendary coach Marta Karolyi, who emigrated from Romania with her equally legendary-husband coach Bela Karolyi, and is retiring as team coordinator after this year. It was perfect and appropriate, and a smart, mature choice.
And after they won their gold medal, Bob Costas showed why he was a gem, interviewing all five in a smooth, seamless, and substantive way.
And I can't let the day go by without noting Michael Phelps winning his 21st gold medal. Remarkable.
Finally, because unless you're watching at just the right time, you miss many of the special featurettes that NBC airs, so here is another from producer Clare Duffy. This is an enjoyable look at Rio artist Adriana Varejao who designed the aquatics venue. Because the NBC Olympics site doesn't allow for embedding, you can see it here.
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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