I've come to accept that in-between watching exciting sporting events I'll have to suffer through Mary Carillo's random adventures in China and a slew of sob stories, but last night pushed me over the edge. They devoted way too long to sprinter Sanya Richards and her relationship with soon-to-be husband Aaron Ross. He's an NFL star. She's a track star. He won a Super Bowl ring. She wears a massive engagement ring. It was all staged and came across very scripted, and then there was this ridiculous faux race at the end where there was some trash talk and then she left him in the dust... literally. They had time to put in dust as a special effect for this segment. Annoying? Yes. Pointless? Yes. Especially considering that while she was a favorite to win her 400m race, she ended up coming in third place. Still a medal, but not the color she wanted, or the one that we were led to believe was hers for the taking. I wonder if she could have moved faster if she left the giant ring in her locker.
As for Ms. Carillo, she must have taken someone too literally when they told her to go fly a kite. Because there she was in the middle of the primetime coverage with a stupid octopus kite that she bought at like the dollar store trying to learn kite flying from the masters. She headed off to the windy city known as Weifang, or if you are Mary Carillo, "The Chicago of China." I'm just so sure that's exactly what the people that live there like to think. They have a legendary kite flying festival and there's even kite fighting (like in that great book The Kite Runner). Sadly, no one attacked Mary with their string that has glass embedded into it. That would have made for good television.
Instead I had to watch the camerafolks' idea of compelling TV. Which was basically latching on to poor Lolo Jones (she's of the heartbreaking picture above) after her huge loss in the 100m hurdles. She was ahead, she snagged her foot on a hurdle and ended up in seventh place. So they panned to her as she pounded on the ground in frustration. They zoomed in on her face as she watched the replay. They showed her trying to put on a brave face as she talked to the sideline interviewer. Which was all well and good, but then they had to go and follow her back to underneath the stadium, where she was clearly trying to get a moment alone, and showed her breaking down in tears. My heart went out to the girl, but at the same time I was annoyed that the camera crew couldn't cut. Especially since it was shot from a distance, so it isn't likely that she knew what was going on. That's a little too stalkerazzi-esque for my Olympic tastes.
Though to be fair the cameras were also glued to Shawn Johnson's face the entire time she waited to see if she'd win a gold or silver medal on the balance beam. The pint-sized gymnast finally won her gold and she couldn't have been happier, and despite Nastia Liukin's "It's awesome for her" claims, you could tell she was kind of pissed. Maybe because her mom wasn't around to see her win her all-around gold, though we all know who is to blame for that scenario. The post-event interview with the girls, Bob Costas and Bela Karolyi was awkward to say the least. I know Nastia's not one to have a big grin plastered on her face, but she just seemed so miserable. Meanwhile Shawn's there with her little peace sign earrings and her feet dangling off the couch just beaming. Bela, of course, was insanely excited, and needs to get a better tailor, because on the couch his pants rose up practically to his knees. Cutest thing of the night: Shawn Johnson hopping in the center of the medal podium next in between Fei Cheng and Liukin. Even though she was a full step above them, she appeared to be the same height. I don't know why this amused me so much, but it just did.
In other gymnastics news, (of course there is more) the other happiest guy in the room was Jonathan Horton who won a silver medal for the high bar. His mom melted down into Debbie Phelps tears she was so proud. I was also proud of Aton Fokin of Uzbekistan. Apparently this underdog came from nowhere to win the first gymnastics medal for his country. I always love these kind of stories.
The other highlight of the night for me was watching men's springboard diving. I know earlier in these games I complained that I didn't like springboard, but my mind has officially been changed, thank you very much He Chong and Alexandre Despatie. Their amazing twists and turns were incredible to watch (and the teeny tiny uniforms didn't hurt). He Chong especially managed to reach the heights of the platform dives after bouncing off the springy diving board. Dude is superhuman.
Mostly I spent the evening wondering again why nothing was live and asking (no one in particular) when the BMX race that my DVR promised (as did the listings on the internet) would be on. The prelims apparently finally showed up in the wee hours of the morning (which I DVR'd), but some will be on tonight's primetime broadcast.
In other confusing listings chaos, I discovered the Oxygen broadcasts at 6 PM ET. This is where they show the girly crap that you can't see anywhere else. I saw synchronized swimming (seriously one of my favorite sports) and dressage (that's the horse one where they dress all fancy and make the horse step sideways. Stupid sport. The horse does all the work.) Synchronized swimming featured these two (they call them "duets") Canadian girls doing a Ninja-inspired routine. They aren't in the lead or even close, but all their angry kicking and the dragon costumes made them my favorite. Apparently, I missed a round of this sport already, but there's more tonight. I can only imagine what else I missed by not watching Olympics on this network that I didn't even know I had. I mean, how else am I going to discover just how bad everyone looks in noseplugs and discover that it takes eight to ten hours of training every day to learn to hold your breath and swim underwater. Or that it takes two years to master a basic move. That's sick.
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