NBC’s primetime telecast had something for everyone Friday night: Joy and pain at the track (both running and BMX), the network’s two best trips down memory lane (with the 1992 Dream Team and the first charming man to run under a four-minute mile), male 10m platform divers with and without body hair, and a Downton Abbey shout-out in a Mary Carillo segment on castles and coats of arms. (Why didn’t they choose a funnier sound bite from the Dowager Countess?) Let’s dig in.
TRACK AND FIELD: I covered the U.S. men’s 4 x 400m relay loss to the Bahamas in my post naming Bryshon Nellum the Olympic Stud of the Day anyway for his personal triumph. So let’s start with the women’s 4 x 100m relay win over Jamaica, which set a new world record. Some fuzzy screengrabs courtesy of my phone tell the story:
Clearly Carmelita “They’re gonna drop the stick, they can’t do this, they can’t do that, and we did it“ Jeter should do every post-race interview ever. Like, even if she wasn’t in the race, I want her to do the interview for the winner. When she retires, she should become a field reporter for NBC.
On the flip side of that emotion, was the utter disappointment of Morgan Uceny, who had her foot clipped by another runner, Abeba Aregawi, right after the final bell lap of the 1,500m final and crashed to the track — which she beat with her hands while sobbing. She fell at the 2011 World Championships, too, so those tears were justified.
I can’t imagine the what ifs going through Uceny’s head today. What if I’d been on the inside of the track? What if Aregawi — who wanted to run for Sweden, where she lives with her Swedish husband — had sat out the Olympics instead of competing for Ethiopia, which allegedly took her passport and cell phone and threatened her family until she relented and ran under its flag? How do I have worse luck than my teammate Shannon Rowbury, who spit right as the camera cut to her before the race? She’ll never get those answers, so I hope she’s able to move on.
One thing I can answer for you: The story behind Morgan’s necklace. She used to make necklaces for herself in junior high and wear one every day. She made this one, and it just became her trademark. For better or worse.
In other track news, the U.S. men’s 4 x 100m relay team qualified for Saturday’s final with a new American record and a time .01 faster than Jamaica. Both teams will shake up their lineup, and Jamaica’s Yohan Blake promised that with the addition of Usain Bolt, its time will be “crazy” and “devastating.” Can’t wait. Sadly, Germany didn’t make that final, so we won’t be seeing Paul Wesley-lookalike Julian Reus again.
The U.S. women qualified for today’s 4 x 400m relay final, with anchor DeeDee Trotter blowing a kiss to the camera.
Men’s pole vault is awesome, and not just because the defending Olympic champ, who was too injured to clear one height, is an Aussie named Steve Hooker. Also because the 2012 silver medalist, Germany’s Bjorn Otto, reminded me of Wolverine.
Also noteworthy: Ethiopia’s “Baby-Faced Assassin,” Tirunesh Dibaba, only got bronze in the women’s 5,000m. How about that story of her 2008 wedding being a 10-day televised celebration that included a parade with her and husband riding on a chariot in front of 500,000 people?
NEXT: Diving adjustments