Saturday, July 28, 2012

STEP BY STEP:  For those who insist they've located the least essential, or least sport-y Olympic discipline, may I present -- via Kon Ichikawa's essential 1965 documentary Tokyo Olympiad -- 50 kilometer Olympic race-walking?

Open thread for whatever happens today. In terms of spoilers, I'd prefer that we stick to what NBC is broadcasting live, and be extremely cagey/cautious in discussing things which have happened but not yet been broadcast.

added, at 3:30pm, from a ferry crossing Cape Cod Bay: But we certainly ought to discuss NBC's decision not to show a major live sporting event in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, a time of day -- as I understand it -- when many Americans are already conditioned to watch live sporting events.  Seriously.  Show the swimming finals live, even if you want to limit broadcast to one of the cable outlets -- and then package it for the network in primetime.  Argh.

added, Sunday afternoon:  "Call Me, Lochte."  Of course. (But does he look like a Shar-Pei?)


  1. bill.8:57 AM

    Race walking at the 1906 Olympics:

    "George Bonhag finally determined to enter a new event on the program, the 1,500-metre walk. That he never had been in a walking race in his life didn't daunt him. He inquired about the technique of heel-to-toe work and received some pointers from a friendly Canadian competitor. With that as a background, George started in the walking race.

    Nobody wanted to be inspector, judge or official of any kind in a walking race, because it is always a job that leads to arguments, protests and endless debates as to whether any or all competitors are walking or running. But finally some unfortunate fellows were appointed inspectors and Prince George of Greece, 6 foot 5 in his stocking feet, consented to be chief judge. The casualties increased as the race went on, and soon there were only a few left, of whom Bonhag, the novice, was one."

  2. bill.9:00 AM

    this story from the 1900 Olympics has the makings of a comedy:

    "The games at Paris in 1900 opened with a warm debate, continued in utter confusion and ended in a great surprise. According to the late Charles H. Sherill, then the dashing director of a group of New York A.C. athletes and afterward to become a brigadier-general, ambassador to Turkey and for many years a member of the International Olympic Committee, the competitors from the United States had no idea that they were competing in Olympic Games until they received their medals when the competition had finished. They thought they were just taking part in an international meet that was part and parcel of the Paris Exposition of that year. Their metals[sic] informed them that, unwittingly, they had enrolled themselves as Olympic champions."

  3. Jordan9:35 AM

    Wow that was dumb.  Don't get me wrong, I still think it's a more deserving Olympic sport than horse dancing.  At least this is technically a race.  I looked into it, and they've actually replaced it this year with a more British form of the event.

  4. Bryan Cranston can do anything. He is the one who walks.

  5. Jordan12:36 PM

    Talking about spoilers, about NBC failing to prominently note that their schedule default was on London time?  So much for 10AM swimming.

  6. isaac_spaceman3:17 PM

    Rowdy Gaines, during Phelps prelim:  "he can slow it down ... he should conserve energy here ... he does not need to win this heat."  Phelps wins prelim, out-touching Cheh by 0.07 seconds. 

    Rowdy Gaines, after Lochte prelim, which meant that Phelps was the last man into the finals:  "It just goes to show that you cannot relax in these preliminary rounds."  No acknowledgement that he was saying exactly the opposite like five minutes earlier.

    Also, enough of Gaines breathlessly comparing qualifying times in London with qualifying times in Beijing.  First of all, the change in the swim suits has slowed down times.  Second, it was Gaines himself telling us four years ago that the Beijing pool was the fastest pool of all time, with its extra depth and unused side lanes.  The Beijing and London times have to be apples and oranges. 

    Nice gold for Vinakourov in the cycling road race, looking like he was wearing the same gear from the Tour de France.  It was like he just rode straight over from Paris and didn't have a change of clothes.  The ride of shame, if you will.  Anyway, he already retired from the Tour de France, so it's nice for him to finish his career with a gold. 

    WBB:  Croatia looks like a rec league team against the US.  Four minutes in, zero points, been blocked like five times, hit the bottom of the rim on an uncontested breakaway.  Yuck. 

  7. Mens team archery on msnbc was fun, fast and exciting to watch.  Who knew!  The favored South Korean team had bellies and Bieber haircuts!  I blame the haircuts for them not winning the expected gold.  USA got their first medal, so yea!

  8. Joseph J. Finn5:21 PM

    Fencing, with the dramatic lighting and tech enhancing the sport is just perfect.  I watched an amazing South Korean-Italy match that was back and forth and resulted in a come from behind win for Italy as they sweep the medals in women's solo fencing.

  9. tortoiseshelly6:19 PM

    NBC has really botched much of their coverage, in my mind. Bad enough that they tape delay, and that they talk all over the opening ceremonies and cut portions I might want to see, but even worse is tape delaying the big draws, AND ANNOUNCING THE RESULTS ALL OVER THEIR TV LISTINGS PAGE SO THAT I CAN'T FIND OUT WHEN TO WATCH WITHOUT SPOILERS.

    I am wishing so hard right now that I'd mapped out the events I'm interested prior the start of the games. Wishing even harder that I lived in Canada or somewhere I didn't have to watch the NBC feed.

  10. Isaac spaceman mobile6:33 PM

    So you want to move to Canada to root for the USA.

  11. tortoiseshelly7:00 PM


  12. tortoiseshelly7:02 PM

    No one has ever accused me of being rational.

  13. Randy7:45 PM

    CTV *did* show all of the swimming live this afternoon, so that was definitely a good thing.  We in Canada do not, it appears, have access to a channel that will regularly show the tennis live.  Fortunately, I can stream the tennis at  (We can argue about whether pro tennis players should be playing in the Olympics at another time - but dammit, I want to watch every point that Federer and Serena play.)

    Bad news for us in Canada: after 2014 in Sochi, we may not have any national Olympics coverage. A consortium of networks bid for, and won, the rights to Vancouver/London/Sochi (and maybe Beijing), and they bid a lot higher than it was actually worth. But, with 2010 in Vancouver, it made sense to bid high. The networks lost a LOT of money in Vancouver, so they lowered their next bid (starting with Rio) significantly. The IOC rejected that bid, to which the networks basically said "Well then, forget it."

    If we have nothing in 2016 but US TV coverage (right now, we can't stream anything from NBC's websites outside of the US)... well, then I'm not sure how much Olympics coverage I will actually watch. (I made it thru five minutes of NBC last night and this morning, and that was more than enough.)

  14. isaac_spaceman9:32 PM

    So if you're going to tape-delay featured events, fine.  I don't have to like it.  If you're going to spoil them on your own web site, fine.  I can learn not to go on the Internet while waiting for the tape-delayed events.  But for fuck's sake, can you not end your daytime Olympic broacast at 6:00 p.m. and then have the first thing out of Brian Williams's mouth at 6:00:01 be a spoiler for the thing that you tape-delayed?  Because the one place that should be completely free of Olympic spoilers is the Olympic broadcast itself. 

  15. Jordan9:35 PM because they're more than happy to let you watch it online.

  16. Holy fuckballs, Ryan Lochte is good at this swimming thing.

  17. tortoiseshelly11:30 PM

    Rat bastards!!

  18. The streaming has been crashing since yesterday morning, although it's been a bit better today. Surprisingly, NBC says it isn't their fault:

  19. The Pathetic Earthling1:17 PM

    I love the sentiment from Kim Rhode, 5-time Olympic medalist in shooting, after hitting 99 of 100 targets for the gold.

    <p>"Rhode indicated that she plans on continuing her streak at the 2016 Rio Games — and beyond. "<span>The oldest shooter to win a medal in the Olympics was 72,” she said. “I still have a few more in me.”"</span>

  20. Marsha10:45 PM

    @nbcdelayed. Hee.