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. READ FULL STORY
Tag: We Like Sports And We Don't Care Who Knows (31-40 of 51)
As the EW Daily Poll on our homepage shows, Olympic fatigue has officially set in. Most of us will be ready for Sunday’s Closing Ceremony. As the Games come to an end, let’s take a moment to admit the craziest thing(s) obsessive viewing has inspired us to do. I’ll start: Last night, I spent my evening commute listening to Duran Duran’s “All She Wants Is” on repeat and choreographing a team synchronized swimming free routine to it in my head. Considering I just watched Team Australia use an AC/DC medley for its free routine this morning, I assume the song might actually be legal. So if any nation just starting its synchro program wants to work with someone cheap, call me. We could ask Team Spain to borrow its sea monster-themed costumes from today (pictured), which I think would translate nicely. READ FULL STORY
During his semi-regular hazing* last night on NBC’s primetime coverage of the Olympic Games, Ryan Seacrest was either forced to say, or voluntarily chose to say, that certain female Olympic champions had blown up Twitter by delivering something called “buzzable bests.” While I’m not sure that’s the exact phrase the U.S. women’s soccer team used in the locker room before they won their gold medal match against Japan, I will at least concede that the only thing Usain Bolt wants to be is his “buzzable best.” The U.S. women’s divers? Not so buzzable, and not at their best. The U.S. women’s indoor volleball team? Totally buzzable, and totally at their best. Bob Costas’ disappearing-reappearing Harry Potter hipster glasses? The bestest and buzzablest of all! Let’s get to it! READ FULL STORY
There’s a reason the winner of the decathlon is called the world’s greatest athlete. Over two grueling days, decathletes compete in 10 track and field events: 100 meter race, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 meter race on day 1; 110 meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1500 meter race on day 2. The point system to score the event may be more convoluted than the plot of Inception, but the result is crystal clear: Whoever takes home the gold is one damn fit human being, and deserving of the superlative honorific of PopWatch Stud of the Day.
So congratulations, Ashton Eaton! READ FULL STORY
“Judging from this year’s performances, Lolo Jones seems to have only a slim chance of winning an Olympic medal in the 100-meter hurdles and almost no possibility of winning gold.”
Ouch. That’s the opening sentence of Saturday’s 1,000-word New York Times article on Jones, which went on to complain that the Olympic track and field athlete “has played into the persistent, demeaning notion that women are worthy as athletes only if they have sex appeal,” then quotes a professor who compares Jones to Anna Kournikova, “the former Russian tennis player whose looks received far more attention than her relatively meager skills.”
The critical piece was published just a few days before Jones competed in the women’s 100-meter hurdle race. Last night, she placed a disappointing fourth — and as the runner told Today‘s Savannah Guthrie this morning, the Times story only added insult to injury.
I hope you buckled up, kids. We had five hours of Olympics last night. By which I mean as much Michael Phelps as could possibly have been justified considering his career officially ended 24 hours ago. At least it felt that way during the first hour of the broadcast. We journalists do love to milk a story — and boy if there were ever a story worth milking…. That said, there are six days more of the London Olympic Games, so onward! Let that boy go shark diving with Chad le Clos in peace already! READ FULL STORY
Day 8 of the Olympics was a bittersweet affair. Michael Phelps and his fellow Team USA swimmers butterflied, backstroked, breaststroked, and freestyled their way to another gold, in the 4×100 medley relay. But as stirring a victory as it was, there was an undeniable whiff of sadness at the thought that it would be the last time we’ll ever see Phelps in an Olympic race.
There are so many reasons to appreciate what the Baltimore Bullet has done for the sport: the unmatchable 22 medals, the fact that he’s pretty much single-handedly inspired a whole generation (hello, Chad le Clos!) to take to the pool. But his greatest legacy for a nation of sports fans, and pop culture junkies, is that he turned swimming into appointment TV. That’s something that hadn’t happened since the heyday of Mark Spitz, if even then. Every race Phelps swam was a must-watch event. I’ll never forget the exhilaration I felt at his 0.01-second victory in the 100 meter butterfly in Beijing, one of the truly unifying “Did you see it?” moments in recent sports history — really, recent TV history. Swimming needed its own Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods, or Lance Armstrong, and Phelps delivered the goods in spectacular fashion. So it’s only natural that after his retirement at the very top of the game we’re all feeling today a little like…what now?
Luckily, Day 8 was packed with enough excitement to keep that melancholy at bay for as long as possible. Even before NBC’s primetime coverage got underway the day had been packed with citius, altius, fortius delights. READ FULL STORY
Serena Williams just won the tennis-world equivalent of an EGOT.
In case you’re not a 30 Rock or Liza Minnelli fan, an EGOT is the achievement of winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony, the four most coveted awards in the entertainment industry. In short, something very few people have done. In tennis, the analogous feat for a singles player is a Career Golden Grand Slam, which means having won all four Grand Slam tournaments (Wimbledon, the French Open, the Australian Open, the U.S. Open) plus an Olympic gold medal.
On Saturday, Serena Williams did just that when she beat Maria Sharapova in two straight sets to capture Olympic gold, becoming only the fourth-ever singles tennis player with a Career Golden Grand Slam. The others are Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal, and Steffi Graf, who may have topped everyone else by achieving all five titles in the span of a single year, 1988. Williams had previously won two gold medals in the 2000 and 2008 doubles tournaments with sister Venus, earning them a Career Doubles Golden Grand Slam. But this was Williams’ first time achieving a Golden Grand Slam flying solo, and it’s considered the greater achievement. It’s the reason why shortly after she stood on the podium Studmaker John McEnroe declared Williams to be “the greatest female who’s ever played.” READ FULL STORY
As we get deeper into the Games, the boldface stories for each night multiply. Whether it was in the pool or the gymnastics arena, everyone really came to play last night. It continues to confound me how people can be this good at anything. My friends and I recently joked that, if I were to have a building named after me, the only option would be the Lanford Beard Center for Lounging Around and Talking S—. Which is pretty much the best — and only — way I can introduce tonight’s recap. Onward!
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