This morning, they had the hammer throw event. While I like the hammer, it's such a strange-looking competition, with the big heavy ball at the end of the chain being swung around before flung, I've always tried to figure out why it and the discuss are both included. They seem both largely the same skill. Yes, I know that the technique is different, but still... I try to imagine the discussion at the IOC trying to convince them. "No, no, they're not the same at all. For one, you fling a disc, and for the other, you fling a ball at the end of a chain. TOTALLY different." And the IOC bought it. Now, include the shot put in the mix. ("Yes, okay, this, this one is a ball too...but...okay, here the difference -- there's no chain at the end of it!") Yes, that's definitely a different skill than the others -- but three events to throw a heavy, round object seems a bit beyond the limit.
The decathlon is also now underway, the first day of the 2-day event. Gold Medal-winner from London, Ashton Eaton is expected to defend his title. But conditions are tough, it was 96 degrees. Kevin Mayer of France had an impressive shot put, which brought about an odd comment from the analyst. Expecting Eaton to repeat as winner, he noted that "there's quite a battle going on for the minor medals." Well, gee, that seems a wee dismissive of Olympic Silver and Bronze Medals.
They ran a nice featurette on Eaton and his Canadian wife, Briane Theisen-Eaton, who earlier competed in the heptathalon and won a Bronze Medal. (Sorry, a "minor medal"...) When she had been competing a few days ago, her husband was seen on camera wearing a Canadian ball cap, and took a bunch of social media complaints from...well, total idiots. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, they may not have known his wife is Canadian and was competing for that country, so he was supporting his wife. But if they didn't know that, what did they think? That he just thought it was a cool cap, or he felt like supporting another country for the heck of it?? His response on social media was polite, but pointed and short. (And then later in the day I heard there was a "controversy" about whether she would wear a USA cap to support her husband. I'll guess that a) she will, and b) the Canadians will understand and not mind.
NBCsn had a wonderful Interview with American Abbey D'Agostino and Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand These were the two runners in the 5000 meter race who fell and helped each other finish. Hamblin had been tripped by the runner in front of her, and when she stumbled, D'Agostino tripped over her. Though clearly hurt, she ran 2000 more meter to finish the race with Hamblin's encouragement. This is all the more impressive after discovering later that she had a torn ACL and torn meniscus. A challenge was filed, and it's been determined that both runners can compete in the finals. Unfortunately, D'Agostino is injured and won't be able to run, but Hamblin will. Making their support of one another all the more touching is that the two women hadn't even met each other before.
There was an incredibly dramatic moment in the Brazil-Honduras semifinal soccer match, with about as conflicting emotions within seconds as one could imagine, all the more so since it concerned the host country. Only 14 seconds into the game, Brazilian hero, Neymar, one of the great soccer players in the world, scored the fastest goal in Olympic history. A loose ball rolled away near the Honduran goal, and Neymar leaped for it, crashed into and over the goalie, and knocked the ball in.
Wild roars from the home crowd, as Neymar leaped up and began racking around -- as soccer players are wont to do after scoring a goal. But then three seconds later, he began to stumble and collapsed to the ground. After doctors arrived, to a near-silent crowd, he later got up and began to slowly jog across the field -- but collapsed again. And they had to bring in a stretcher to carry him off. However, much to the relief of the nation, he returned to the field a few minutes later. He was clearly still sore, but went on. The sense I got was that when he fell, it looked like his hand was bunched in a fist underneath, and might have bruised himself, as well as badly knocked out the wind. In any event, Brazil went on to win the match, 6-0. You can see the goal and initial collapse here.
And finally...and finally...the FINALLY ran a featurette by Mary Carllo! O huzzah. Right before sign-off, she was in the studio with Bob Costas…who intro’d it by saying it might be his favorite of all the pieces she's done. (So, gee, swell that they've been holding it for so long.) It was about her tracking down the real Girl from Ipanema. And then it goes into the history of Bosa Nova music, as well, and dealt with the culture of Brazil. Which is what Mary Carillo's pieces do. (It was wonderful, though I suspect Costas loved it because – from what he said – he dearly loved the song. I’ve seen others that she's done that I like much more.) Still, it was great to finally see one!! Okay, so now that they've broken the logjam, here's hoping more come pouring out...
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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