(It's not college sports, and isn't really relevant to K-State until it's time for the high jump, but that's okay. Jon is crazy, and is willing to editorialize and report on the Olympics for the next two weeks. Consider these daily posts your Olympics Open Threads, and pray for Jon's clearly twisted and shattered psyche.)
The Real News: NBC's coverage. The burgeoning impact of digital television and streaming internet seemed prime for NBC to be able to offer full in-depth coverage of everything. Yes, the usual complaints related to tape-delayed footage which NBC pretends is up-to-the-minute were still going to be there regardless. The oft-repeated gripes about heart-wrenching human interest stories weren't going to be defused, nor were the complaints about NBC's tendency to pretend there are only two countries on the planet (us and the host country, as usual). But those of us who wanted to be able to get beyond most of that were supposed to be able to do so.
Yeah, not so much.
NBC's still refusing to air high-profile events live on your magickal televisual device, instead reserving them for their prime-time coverage... while at the same time using social media to hype those events and announcing the results. That refusal in and of itself is inexcusable, most especially on the weekend, and their rationale for not airing these events live is absolutely incomprehensible. NBC -- the primary NBC network, not the NBC-Comcast empire -- has one main target audience for the Olympics: people who don't care enough to want to see everything live. Those people are still going to watch the prime-time coverage, because that's how they roll. They want a highlights package, not full coverage, and if NBC wishes to simply cater to that crowd then why bother airing Olympic coverage on a half-dozen channels? Why bother with live streaming at all?
Therein lies another issue. People are reporting massive problems with the live streaming processes, extending from the mundane (dropped streams, buffering, the sort of thing one should sort of expect early on) to the truly problematic (it doesn't seem to work very well at all on Firefox, login issues are impacting tons of customers, etc.). NBC, naturally says it's all your fault and that the feedback they see has been overwhelmingly positive.
This, I suppose, is what happens when you pay your social media people to only report the good stuff to you. That, in turn, is the only assumption I can make when presented with Ryan Seacrest crowing like a peacock about all the wonderful things NBC is hearing on Twitter and Facebook. NBC's really tone-deaf here, and if they're not careful all those sports organizations they're hoping to lure into NBC contracts are just going to giggle and then sign contracts with ESPN and FOX and CBS.
We won't even get into NBC cutting the tribute to the London bombing victims so that they could show Seacrest interviewing Michael Phelps... when Seacrest had already filmed an interview with Phelps and his family to be aired during tonight's coverage, rendering the live interview utterly redundant. Good job, good effort, NBC.
Anyway... enough with the negativity. On to the good stuff.
Archery: Team USA forged a stunning upset of the favorites from South Korea in the semifinals of the men's team event. The Koreans dispatched Mexico for the bronze, while Team USA faced off against Italy. A relatively slow start left the Americans trailing by four points at "halftime", as it were, but they edged back into contention on the final two ends. It came down to Italy's final shot, with Michele Frangilli needing a nine to tie. He nailed the shot, scoring a ten, and Italy squeaked through with the gold. USA silver.
Badminton: Group stage play commenced in all five events (men's and women's singles, doubles, and mixed doubles), with no major surprises occurring anywhere in the field. The men's doubles team of of Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach, Team USA's only representatives in the entire sport this year, fell 21-14/21-19 to South Korea's Jae Sung Chung and Yong Dae Lee.
Basketball: Team USA, the prohibitive favorites, struggled for three quarters before turning on the afterburners in the final period, outscoring Croatia 28-9 to score an 81-56 win. Joining the Americans atop Group A were Turkey (72-50 winners over Angola) and China (66-57 victors over the Czech Republic). Russia (58-53 over Canada), France (73-58 over Brazil), and Australia (74-58 over Great Britain) top Group B.
Beach Volleyball: There were no stunning developments in day one of the preliminary rounds. Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh-Jennings had to break 18-all ties in both sets of their match with their Australian rivals Nat Cook and Tamsin Hinchley, but managed to keep their amazing record of never having lost a set together in Olympic competition. On the men's side, Jacob Gibb and Sean Rosenthal easily took both sets against Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt of South Africa, 21-10 and 21-11.
Boxing: Round of 32 matches in the men's Bantam and Middleweight classes took place. Team USA's Bantam entry Joseph Diaz Jr scored a 19-9 win over Pavlo Ishchenko of Ukraine, while Middleweight Terrell Gausha beat Armenia's Andranik Hakobyan in a TKO, the only knockout of the day's competition. In August 1's round of 16, Diaz will face Cuba's Lazaro Alvarez Estrada, and Gausha will meet India's Vijender Singh.
Cycling: Kazakh Alexander Vinokurov captured the gold in the men's road race, with Colombia's Rigoberto Uran Uran grabbing silver and the bronze going to Norway's Alexander Kristoff, who edged out a peloton of 26 riders. The USA's Taylor Phinney was among that peloton, finishing in fourth; Tyler Farrar finished in 33rd place, Tim Duggan 88th, and Tejay van Garderen in 104th.
Equestrian: Germany's Ingrid Klimke, atop Butts Abraxxas, has a half-point lead over countryman Dirk Schrade atop King Artus after day one of the individual dressage competition. Karen O'Connor, riding Mr. Medicott, stands in 9th place, 7.9 points off the lead; Martin Boyd and his mount Otis Barbotiere is tied for 13th, and Tiana Coudray with Ringwood Master is in 18th. The team scores after day one leave the USA in third, trailing Australia and Germany by a fair margin with Belgium on their heels.
Fencing: Italy swept the women's individual foil medals, with Elisa di Francisca defeating teammate Arianna Errigo 12-11 for the gold, while Valentina Vezzali topped South Korea's Hyun Hee Nam 13-12 for the bronze. American Lee Kiefer was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Errigo, while Nicole Ross and Nzingha Prescod were knocked out in the round of 32.
Futbol: Team WUSA improved to 2-0 and ensured at least a tie for group G and will advance to the quarterfinals, following up their 4-2 win over France on Wednesday with a 3-0 drubbing of Colombia yesterday. The goals came courtesy of Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach, and Carli Lloyd. The big story, however, was the red card that Colombia's Lady Andrade didn't get for punching Wambach... In group E Brazil beat New Zealand 1-0 and Great Britain took down Cameroon 3-0; both teams move to 2-0, and will advance. Group F is still up in the air, however, as Sweden and Japan battled to a scoreless tie while Canada notched a 3-0 win over South Africa. Every team that's managed to earn a point will go through to the quarterfinals IF New Zealand fails to beat Cameroon Tuesday; the team most at risk of going home otherwise is North Korea, carrying a -3 GD with a game against the USA looming. (Cameroon's GD is -8, so they'd require a big win over New Zealand to have a shot in any tiebreak scenario. Any win for New Zealand would secure advancement assuming the USA wins Tuesday.)
Gymnastics: Favorite China suffered through injury and disaster to stumble to a sixth-place finish in the men's team qualifications; the beneficiary was Team USA, who took first place. Team USA's individual qualifiers include Danell Leyva and John Orozco for the all-around, Jacob Dalton for the floor exercise, Sam Mikalak on vault, and both Leyva and Jonathan Horton for the horizontal bar. Horton will be the second of three reserves for the rings, while Leyva will be the last reserve for both the pommel horse and parallel bars competitions.
Handball: France recorded a stunning 24-23 victory over defending Olympic, World, and Euro champion Norway as women's handball group play got underway. Also in group B, South Korea beat Spain 31-27 and Denmark beat Sweden 21-18. In group A, Russia was a 30-27 winner over Angola, Brazil knocked off Croatia 24-23, and Montenegro crushed the hosts 31-19.
Judo: The lightest of the seven weight classes were resolved yesterday. In the men's -60kg, Russia's Arsen Galstyan first upset defending world champion Rishod Sobirov of Uzbekistan in the semifinal, then defeated Japan's Hiroaki Hiraoka for the gold; the bronze medals went to Brazil's Felile Kitadai and Sobirov. Brazilian Sarah Menezes took the gold in the women's -48kg with a win over Romania's Alina Dumitru. Charline van Snick of Germany shared bronze with Hungarian Eva Csernoviczki. No Americans qualified in either class.
Rowing: The course at Eton Dorney appears to be quite fast, as Olympic records fell left and right in Saturday's initial wave of heats. The hallmark was the world record set by men's pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray of New Zealand. Americans moving directly to their event finals: Sara Hendershot and Sarah Zelenka in women's pairs, the men's eight team. Both single sculls competitors advanced cleanly to the quarterfinals (Genevra Stone in women's and Ken Jurkowski in men's). The American teams in men's and women's quad sculls, men's light four, and the men's pairs team of Silas Stafford and Thomas Peszek will have to face the repechage round.
Shooting: Jamie Lynn Gray and Sarah Scherer both qualified for the finals of the women's 10m air rifle competition, but neither were able to medal. The gold went to China's Yi Siling, whose teammate Yu Dan took the bronze; Poland's Sylwia Bogacka won the silver. China got a third shooting medal on the day when Pang Wei captured the silver in the men's 10m air pistol event; the gold went to South Korea's Jongoh Jin, and the bronze to Andrija Zlatic of Serbia. No Americans qualified for the final round; Daryl Szarensky finished 23rd and Jason Turner 34th.
Swimming: We've gone paragraphs without an American medal, but that ends now. Ryan Lochte captured the first gold for the US in the 2012 games with his win in the men's 400 individual medley. Thiago Pereira of Brazil won the silver, and Kosuke Hagina the bronze; over a quarter of a second behind Hagino was some guy named Michael Phelps, who apparently hadn't failed to medal in an event he'd entered since 2000 or something. Who knew? Dana Vollmer set an olympic record in the final heat of the women's 100m butterfly. Claire Donahue also qualified for the semifinal; they both swam in heat 2, won by Vollmer. Donahue was fourth, and both will be in the event final. In the men's 400 free, following a controversy in which South Korea's Tawhwan Park was initially disqualified after winning heat 3 before the DQ was overturned, Peter Vanderkaay and Conor Dwyer reached the final out of the fastest and final heat. The only problem there: that heat was won by China's Sun Yang, who also won the gold medal in Olympic record time, only .07 seconds off the world mark. Park won the silver, and Vanderkaay took the bronze. Dwyer finished fifth.
Caitlin Leverenz and Elizabeth Beisel qualified for the final in the women's 400 IM, which was won in world-record time by China's Ye Shiwen. Her teammate Li Xuanxu took the bronze, while Beisel took silver. Leverenz finished seventh. Brendan Hansen and Eric Shanteau both reached the semifinals of the men's 100m breaststroke. In heat 1, it looked as though Hansen had blown it by finishing in sixth place behind an Olympic record performance by South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh, but the second heat was markedly slower and Hansen snuck into the final in the #8 position. Shanteau, fourth in the second heat, was a third of a second shy of reaching the final (and would have eliminated Hansen had he qualified anyway). The final swimming event of the day was the women's 4x100 freestyle, in which Natalie Coughlin helped Team USA win their qualifying heat but was left out of the relay final. The Americans set an American record in the final... but were still over a second short of the gold-medal and Olympic record-setting Australians. The Netherlands took the silver, and Team USA had to settle for the bronze. Having swum the qualifier, Coughlin received a medal; she joins Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson as the most-decorated women in American Olympic history.
Table Tennis: American Ariel Hsing won her first-round singles match 4-0 against Yadira Silva of Mexico. Lily Zhang was eliminated 4-0 by Croatian Cornelia Molnar. In men's singles, Timothy Wang was knocked out 4-0 in the preliminary round by Song Nam Kim of North Korea.
Tennis: Lots of names advanced in first-round singles play, including Roger Federer, Ana Ivanovic, Kim Clijsters, Daniela Hantuchova, and Caroline Wozniacki. Also moving on: Americans Serena Williams and John Isner. Three Americans were sent packing, however. Ryan Harrison lost straight sets to Santiago Giraldo of Colombia, Donald Young fell likewise to Italy's Andrea Seppi, and Ivanovic's victim was Christina McHale. In men's doubles, the Bryan brothers dispatched the Brazilian duo of Thomaz Bellucci and Andre Sa, but one of the most shocking results of the day followed as Isner and Andy Roddick were destroyed 6-2, 6-4 by Brazilians Bruno Soares and Marcelo Melo.
Volleyball: The women kicked off the competition yesterday, and Team USA got off to a good start, dispatching South Korea three sets to one. They're joined atop group B by Brazil, 3-2 winners over Turkey, and China, who took Serbia down 3-1. In group A, Japan swept Algeria, Russia did the same to the British, and Italy took a 3-1 win over the Dominican Republic.
Weighlifting:: The women's 48kg event was yesterday, with China's Wang Mingjuan capturing her country's fourth gold of the day. Hiromi Miyake of Japan won the silver; North Korea's Chun Hwa Ryang won bronze. There were no tiny American women lifting weights yesterday.
The Medal Count: China leads the way with 6 overall, and 4 of the 12 gold medals thus far awarded. Italy and Team USA are tied for second with 5 medals apiece, although Italy has the edge in gold, two to one. Tied for fourth are Brazil, South Korea, and Japan with 3 each.
Today (all times Central):
Remember, all events available live streaming if you can get it to work. The broadcast details I give here are TV-specific.
Archery: The women's team tournament takes place, starting at 3am. Team USA, along with Mexico, Taipei, and favorites South Korea, draw first-round byes; Team USA will face the winner of the first-round match between China and Italy at (presumably) 10:15am. (tape delay: NBCSN, 2:45pm)
Badminton: Group play continues, and Gunawan and Bach will face a must-win match against Malaysia's Ken Keet Koo and Boon Heong Tan at 8:15am. (tape delay; NBCSN, 12:50pm)
Basketball: The American men take the court at 8:30am to face France. Nigeria vs Tunisia at 3am and Argentina vs Lithuana at 4:15pm round out Group A; Group B features Brazil-Australia at 5:15am, Spain-China at 10:45am, and Russia-Great Britain at 2pm. (All games LIVE on either NBCSN or NBC Specialty)
Beach Volleyball: Prelims continue, with April Ross and Jennifer Kessy taking on the Israeli duo of Maria Virginia Zonta and Ana Gallay at 3pm. Immediately after that at 4pm, Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers will meet Japan's Kentaro Asahi and Katsuhiro Shiratori. (LIVE: NBCSN 4am-5am and 2-2:45pm, NBC 3-5pm; tape delay: NBCSN 7-8am)
Boxing: Today's action features men's Lightweight and Welterweight round of 32 bouts. Team USA's lightweight is Jose Ramirez, who faces France's Rachid Azzedine at 3:30pm; at 4pm welterweight Errol Spence meets Brazilian Myke Ribiero de Carvalho. (LIVE: CNBC, 7:30-10:30 and 2:30-5:30)
Canoe/Kayak: Men's C1 Slalom heats get underway at 7:30am, with Casey Eichfeld representing America. At 8:30, Scott Parsons will do the same in the men's K1 Slalom. (tape delay: NBC Late Night 11:35am-12:35am)
Cycling: The women's road race starts today at 6am, with the USA represented by 2008 Individual Time Trial gold medalist Kristin Armstrong, Amber Neben, Shelley Olds, and Evelyn Stevens. (LIVE: NBC, 6am-10am)
Diving: At 9am, the women's synchronized 3m springboard competition gets underway. Kelsi Bryant and Abigail Johnson represent the USA, and they'll be fifth in the rotation. China's He Zi and Wu Minxia are, of course, the prohibitive favorites. (tape delay: NBC Primetime 6-11pm)
Equestrian: Dressage continues. At 5:20am, William Coleman is schedule to lead Twizzel into the ring, followed at 8:38am by Phillip Dutton astride Mystery Whisper. That will complete Team USA's entries. (tape delay highlights, NBCSN 1:15-2pm)
Fencing: Today, the men take the mat starting at 4:30am for the individual sabre competition. At around 6:10am, American Daryl Homer will meet Romanian Tiberiu Dolniceanu and James Williams will face off against Nikolay Kovalev of Russia. In the 6:30am flight, Timothy Morehouse will meet another Russian, Veniamin Reshetnikov. (Not televised today. At all.)
Fussball: Eight men's games dot the schedule: Senegal-Uruguay and Great Britain-UAE in group A, Mexico-Gabon and South Korea-Switzerland in group B, Egypt-New Zealand and Brazil-Belarus in group C, and Japan-Morocco and Spain-Honduras in group D. (all games LIVE on either MSNBC or NBC Specialty)
Gymnastics: The girls qualifications are today, starting at 3:30am. Team USA will be in the third flight, kicking off at 8:45am. (tape delay: unavoidable)
Handball: The men get underway, with Iceland-Argentina, Sweden-Tunisia, and France-Great Britain in group A, while Croatia-South Korea, Spain-Serbia, and Hungary-Denmark compete in group B. (tape delay: Croatia-South Korea on MSNBC, 7:15-9am)
Hockey, Field: Women's group play begins. In group A, we have Netherlands-Belgium, China-South Korea, and Great Britain-Japan; group B starts with New Zealand-Australia and Argentina-South Africa before Team USA takes the field at 3:15pm against Germany. (tape delay highlights of NZE-AUS, NBCSN, 8-8:30am; LIVE USA-Germany, MSNBC, 3:15-4:45pm)
Judo: We move one step up the weight ladder today, with the men's -66kg and women's -52kg. The US has no competitors in either class. (not televised today)
Rowing: The repechages for men's double sculls, men's light four, and both single sculls events take place starting at 3:30am. (Only the men's light four involves Team USA.) Heats for both light double sculls, as well as the women's eight heats, begin at around 4:40am. While the USA has no men's double sculls entry, Kristin Hedstrom and Julie Nichols will be in heat 2 of the women's event, and Team USA will row in heat 1 of the women's eight. (tape delay highlights: NBC, 2:40-3:00pm)
Sailing: The sailing events get underway, with the first two races of both the Men's Finn (Zach Railey for the USA) and Men's Star (Mark Mendelblatt with Brian Faith) competitions, as well as the first round of the Women's Elliott round-robin with the USA facing Denmark head-to-head. (not televised today)
Shooting: The men have the day off; at 3am the women's 10m air pistol and skeet competitions kick off. Sandra Uptagrafft will be 36th in the start order in air pistol, which implies she'll be shooting around 3:45-3:50 or so. Kimberly Rhode represents the US in skeet, shooting her first round at around 3am, second round at around 4:30, and final round at about 6:00. (tape delay highlights: NBCSN, 12:30-12:50pm)
Swimming: There are eight events today; four conclude with semifinals, four result in medals. Six heats begin starting at 4am and continuing past 6am; those are, with US representation noted, the women's 100m backstroke (Rachel Bootsma, heat 5; Missy Franklin, heat 6), men's 200m freestyle (Ricky Berens and Ryan Lochte, heat 5), women's 100m backstroke (Breeja Larson, heat 5; Rebecca Soni, heat 6), men's 100m backstroke (Nick Thoman, heat 4; Matt Grevers, heat 6), women's 400m freestyle (Chloe Sutton, heat 3; Allison Schmitt, heat 5), and the men's 4x100 freestyle relay (heat 2, with Grevers, Berens, Jason Lezak, Jim Feigen, Cullen Jones, and Nathan Adrian available). The latter two events will have their finals tomorrow - the women's 400 free at 2:18pm, the relay at 3pm. Two other finals whose heats were held yesterday are on the schedule as well; Vollmer and Donahue will compete for the women's 100m butterfly title at 1:30, and Hansen will try to score a medal in the men's 100m breaststroke at 2:11. (tape delay heats highlights: NBC 10-10:45am and 12:30-1:00pm; tape delay finals: NBC Primetime, 6-11pm)
Table Tennis: At 4am or so, Ariel Hsing will begin her second-round match against Xia Lian Ni of... Luxembourg? (not televised today)
Tennis: More first round action in both singles and doubles today. At 5:30, Varvara Lepchenko meets Paraguay's Veronica Cepede Roye, and around 7am Venus Williams meets Italy's Sara Errani. At around 7:30, Roddick takes on Martin Klizan of Slovakia, and at 11:30 the Williams sisters face Sorana Cirstea and Simona Halep of Romania. Other notables in action today include Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova. (LIVE: Bravo, 6am-2pm)
Volleyball: The men take over today. Group A action includes Great Britain-Bulgaria, Australia-Argentina, and Italy-Poland. Team USA is the middle game in group B, facing Serbia at 10:45am. They're preceded by Russia-Germany, while Brazil-Tunisia closes out the day. (LIVE: RUS/GER, MSNBC 6am; USA/SRB, NBC 10:45am; ITA/POL, MSNBC 3:30pm)
Water Polo: The men kick off this sport, with group A featuring Greece-Croatia, Kazakhstan-Spain, and Italy-Australia. Group B gets underway with Hungary-Serbia, Romania-Great Britain, and finally at 3:40pm Team USA takes on Montenegro. You may note that three of these teams are former Yugoslav republics, and of the remaining nine teams... four border old Yugoslavia. Yeesh. (LIVE: USA/Montenegro, NBC 1:40pm; tape delay highlights: Hungary/Serbia, MSNBC 1pm)
Weightlifting: Today's events are the men's 56kg and women's 53kg. There are no Americans in either class. (no television today)