The first, and best, week of the Olympics is in the books. I say best because the swimming week tends to be better than the track week, which has fewer glamor events. And it also appears the US might suck at track. Puerto Rican medals are technically ours, right?

Saturday night I went back and read some of my Olympic posts from 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016. They’re pretty good! You should dig through the archives and read them too! A recurring them in most of those entries is how we need to invade Jamaica to stop them embarrassing us in track. Still true.

Speaking of travesties, can we not find an American to do the track play-by-play and analysis?

I was glad Caeleb Dressel lived up to all the hype he entered the games with. That’s a lot of weight for one person to carry, especially when you’re expected to fill the role of Michael Phelps. Good on him for not cracking. He was fun to watch.

It was mega-awkward, though, when NBC brought up the feed of his family after he won the 100 free. There was clearly some glitchy-ness in the feed, Dressel was super-emotional, and there were lots of uncomfortable pauses. It nearly ruined a wonderful moment.

Finally, it’s freaking 2021. How can NBC, Microsoft, and whoever else is responsible not get better connections when they show athletes’ families watching them back home? They always look like terrible, grainy feeds we could have gotten back in 2008.

I did get a little bored with all the features on Dressel NBC kept rolling out. I get how they need to get the viewing public, which does not pay attention to any of the non-NBA athletes between Olympics, invested in these swimmers, gymnasts, runners, etc. But their fluffing of Dressel was a little much.

I believe it was Dan Hicks who called Michael Andrew the Bryson DeChambeau of swimming. I don’t know if he meant that as a compliment or putdown. I was pulling for him since he grew up swimming in a backyard pool in Lawrence, KS. I also felt sorry for him that his parents don’t have enough faith in the way that they raised him to think he couldn’t resist the “temptations” of college, as they put it, and did not allow him to go to Texas or Cal or some other college swimming power.

I haven’t seen them all but the videos of Rowdy Gaines while he broadcasts a close race are awesome. He’s kind of the perfect announcer. He knows his sport intimately and has gold medals of his own. He a little wacky. He’s a huge homer but loves a great performance from non-Americans. He’s just a joy to listen to.

The swimming relays were almost uniformly awesome. So many close finishes. It was weird for the US to be an underdog so often.

On August 31, 2004 I wrote that Australia was my biggest concern for slicing into the American medal numbers. That was kind of a great jinx because while still good, the Aussies have fallen off in swimming a bit since then. Until this year, that is. Their women sure roared back, led by Emma McKeon, who is a badass.

The US-Netherlands women’s soccer game Friday kind of messed up my entire day. The game had just started when I turned the TV on and then I couldn’t move until it was over, with the US winning 4–2 on penalties.

What a game! The Netherlands looked better the entire game, aside from a four minute stretch when they gave up two goals. The US, on the other hand, looked old, slow, and disjointed. They couldn’t string passes together. They couldn’t maintain possession. They made bad turnovers. For all their legendary firepower up front, none of their attacking players could find good looks.

Then Alyssa Naeher saved a Dutch penalty kick deep into the second half and that seemed to give her teammates new life. They were the better team in extra time, having two goals disallowed because of offsides calls. Naeher saved two of the first three Dutch PKs and the US was perfect, going through to the semis. Terrific drama!

I guess all that magic was gone early Monday morning (In the US), as the Americans lost to Canada 1–0. Not sure why a US-Canada semifinal was played at 4:00 AM Eastern time.

NBC has made a lot of strange programming choices. I don’t know if there was a stranger one that how they covered the US-Israel baseball game Friday. I just happened to leave it on as I was doing other things, not really paying attention. The game was recorded earlier, so you would expect some “jumping ahead for time purposes,” right?

So they showed the first two innings, which were scoreless, then went to commercial.

When they came back from the break, instead of starting the third inning, they showed highlights of what happened in the next four innings, including five runs being scored, before picking up action in the 7th inning.

How on earth do you show 30–40 minutes of a 0–0 game and then just throw highlights of all the good shit? Makes no sense.

ROC is dumb. Just call them Russia. That’s where they’re from. Everyone assumes they’re cheaters, it’s not like that is being hidden. We can dispense with the semantical theater.

“You serve too many lollipops, you’re going to get licked.” So says volleyball analyst Kevin Wong. S gave me a look after he said that and asked, “What the fuck is he talking about?”

Speaking of looks, she was getting frustrated by the shots of the male runners in their tight shorts before their heats. “Do we really need to see all their man junk?” NBC must think we do, my dear. I do agree perhaps some padding could be useful so we don’t see quite so many details of these runner’s privates.