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!
(*I am convinced that Ryan Seacrest has spent the last two weeks being hazed. No one can have a string of TV appearances this humiliating just because.)
Usain in the membrane
On the one hand, Usain Bolt made history as the first man ever to win the 100 and 200 meter sprints in successive Olympic Games. On the other hand, the guy spent almost as much energy mugging for the cameras and crowd as he spent running his 200 meter race. There he is fake punching U.S. sprinter Wallace Spearmon backstage (which, granted, proved an apt visual metaphor for Jamaica’s medal stand sweep in the 200m). There he is telling the camera “I’m gonna win.” There he is slowing down in the last 10 meters of his run, as he holds up the number one to his mouth, and thereby misses a chance to break his own world record. There he is doing push-ups after the race, demonstrating for certain that he did not, as they say, leave it all out on the field.
When it came time for Bolt’s post-race interview, he’d managed to tie the Jamaican flag around his neck like a scarf. But just when I thought Bolt was about to also break the record for self-parody, he somehow managed to say “I showed the world I am the best” without coming off like a the biggest tool in the world. The man knows he’s the best because, for what he does, he is. He can be a narcissistic jerk, to be sure, but there’s no sloppy bluster with the guy – he wants to give us a show, not seek our approval. Which is more than I can say for the NBC commentators, who took every possible opportunity to slather superlatives all over Bolt. “We’ve all been in the presence of greatness tonight,” said one, and I don’t think he meant the size of Bolt’s ego.
Still, I don’t think I’m alone in far preferring David Rudisha’s performance both on and off the track to Bolt’s. The Kenyan middle-distance phenom blasted through his own world record in the men’s 800 meter final, leading the entire race – a rare feat for this race. Rudisha’s bright, camera-ready smile was on full display during his adorable up-close-and-personal package, which also showcased his criminally adorable coach, Brother Colm O’Connell, an Irishman who made Kenya his home decades ago. If the studio still made live-action movies, I’d expect a Disney adaptation of their story to go into development ASAP – it’s like Cool Runnings, but in reverse!
Elsewhere in the Olympic Stadium…
We watched highlights of the finals for the triple jump, a.k.a. the goofiest looking track and field event that you also think you could do yourself but would actually end up tearing some part of your nether-business that’s best not messed with.
Tianna Madison, Jeneba Tarmoh, Bianca Knight, and Lauryn Williams ran a scorching heat in the prelims for the women’s 4×100 meter relay. We were told that this team is chock full of “prima donnas and divas,” which I didn’t quite understand until I learned that 200 meter gold medalist Allyson Felix and 100 meter silver medalist Carmelita Jeter will most likely sweep in to join the team for the final. That’s kinda like me having our intern write the first draft of this post, and then I come in and add all the fancy-pants jokey jokes and win all the love and praise and Twitter followers. Which is true, I’m a monster, but you don’t see me signing any endorsement deals for it is all I’m trying to say here.
And finally, we watched Ashton Eaton triumph with the second day of the decathlon, making him the official Olympic Stud of the Day. Trey Hardee, Eaton’s more emotionally demonstrative (i.e. scream-y) training partner won silver. It’s just too bad for the guy, since he’s so homely.