12:54 AM EDT
Ryan Seacrest is interviewing Matthew McConaughey. Let’s not get into why. I don’t know. I’m late to this party (fast forwarded through some Equestrian eventing and Table Tennis). BUT. McConaughey’s given a good reason for Tennis to be in the Games. He talked about how women’s rugby players make $20,000 a year and have to have odd jobs to make ends meet. Then he talked to tennis player Novak Djokovic, who went out early in the competition, but said he loves the Olympics because it’s the only event that reminds every athlete why they love the game, why they wanted to play the game in the first place. There’s no sponsors, management or money (and Djokovic knows money–he’s the first tennis player to make over $100 million in his career), but it’s the reminder of the love of the game.
That might be the perfect place to end tonight’s coverage.
12:15 AM EDT – Archery
I had archery on the small screen earlier today, so I’ve gotten to see more than just the Americans. Archery’s become one of my favorite sports to watch. I’ve tried it too (the Boy has actually taken it up as a hobby)–lack of time keeps me from pursuing it more, along with the fact that I’m cross-eye dominant, and I currently don’t have the patience to develop my weaker side.
Enough about me. Archery is fun because there’s an action, then a second of suspense while the arrow’s in the air, then joy or disbelief over the result. A perfect 10 gets a great shout from the venue announcer. The crowds–although not complying with Rio 2016 full seat policy–are into it, particularly when a Brazilian’s on the line. And in a move that seems pretty bizarre to me, though they are playing in the Sambódromo, samba dancers line the doorway where the archers come out. How to make archery festive? Samba dancers. Hell, let’s have all the archers learn samba while we’re at it!
At any rate, this is the men’s individual final, and Brady Ellison shot an unbelievable perfect set (three 10s) in the round of 32. Unfortunately, that’s meant he had to face fellow teammate Jake Kaminsky in the round of 16. Where he got another perfect set and managed to win the match.
Hey! Para-archer Zahra Nemati from Iran is in this Games, having qualified in her own right. It’s been a while since a para athlete has made the archery competition, and it’s really cool to see. She lost her first round match, 6 set points to 2, but hey, the individual sets were really close (sometimes one point difference) and being in a wheelchair robs her of the stability that two legs provides. Well done!
11:50 PM EDT – Gymnastics
“Some of the scores today have really taken a long time, as if the US hasn’t done a lot of waiting already.” – Al Trautwig, on waiting for Aly Raisman’s floor exercise score
I had to rewind this one and listen to it again. Look, I know announcing is difficult, and when you’ve got dead air to fill (and you’ve pretty much told every Simone Biles/Aly Raisman/Gabby Douglas/Fierce Five story), you know you’ve got to say something, anything, just to make sure the audience is engaged. But making the US look like more entitled jerks might not be the best thing. Just sayin’.
10:54 PM EDT- Swimming
Hey, do you think that NBC swimming commentators got a talking to about how much they featured Katinka Hosszu’s husband? She picked up another gold medal tonight, and they hardly showed him at all. Interesting. Media outlets everywhere are learning quite a bit about sexism these Games, as they’re being battered with how they talk about female competitors.
Oh, Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps won more gold medals tonight. I think Phelps is getting one cup per medal.
9:56 PM EDT
After a lovely dinner out, it’s time to catch up on some of the competition. Today I caught a little bit of the Equestrian eventing competition, some archery and some fencing. Now I’m catching up on the evening recap coverage.
We can get into how NBC’s nightly coverage is highly US-centric and doesn’t really show a ton of an event, and the case of something like team gymnastics, doesn’t really show much of other countries’ performances, which makes it difficult to assess just how the US is doing against the competition. It was weird to have watched the men’s team competition and then wake up to hear about Ukraine’s wacky strategy. And maybe it’s because I’m trying to watch too quickly, but I missed chalk talk too.
I can’t really fault NBC for trying to do its best in giving a summary of everything that happened during the day, plus show you a decent amount of actual competition. But I could do with one less Simone Biles/Michael Phelps/Kerri Walsh-Jennings story per day (or hour) and more actual sports.