Hannah Dunleavy keeps track of the news that’s too quick to keep track of. Here’s part two of her gold-medal worthy trip* to the Olympics. *TV marathon.
Saturday 13 August
BBC rebrands the day ‘Super Saturday Part II’, which in no way adds to the level of expectation. Sequels tend not to be as good for just this reason. Unless, of course, they contain the mafia, a talking cat or zombies. But I’ll be surprised if tonight has any of that. Although it can all get a bit grabby fally in the packed long-distance events.
The men’s eight win on the water, which means GB is at the top of the rowing medal table. Claps all round. The baton of expectation passes.
The keirin kicks off (pedals? I don’t know) and turns out to be a result of mixing Rollerball, greyhound racing and too much cheese before bed. It’s carnage. By day’s end, Great Britain has the women’s team pursuit world record back and Barker, Rowsell-Shand, Archibald and Trott have the gold. Trott succeeds Catherine Grainger from the other day to the title of Most Decorated Female Olympian.
Nadal and Del Potro play some sweaty tennis, with the Argentinian booking a place in the final against Murray. Monica Puig wins Puerto Rico’s first ever Olympic gold. Which is nice.
A reasonably exciting basketball game breaks out between Brazil and Argentina, but as it’s only marginally less squeaky than a load of hamsters in T-shirts saying Fluffy’s Hen Do, Rio 2016, I have to turn over.
Upping the stakes in the Sibling Games, Germany’s Christoph Harting wins the discus gold, replacing his older brother as Olympic title holder. And in the 3,000m steeplechase heats, Etenesh Diro of Ethiopia loses a shoe and makes only a slightly better fist of it than Paulie Walnuts.
Oh wait, forget that, Usain Bolt’s here and the crowd, which it sort of is by now, goes wild.
The BBC apologises for Martyn Rooney when he summed up his performance thus:
Concise analysis from the underwhelming Martyn Rooney there. https://t.co/Flw6fnxPm8
— Tom Peck (@tompeck) August 13, 2016
Yeah, steady on mate, with your potty-mouth. It’s 1am. My kids could be watching.
Jessica Ennis-Hill wins silver in the Heptathlon – hooray – and Mo Farah takes Tumble of the Day in the 10,000m final. But still wins the gold meal, which is exciting but makes me nervous people might start singing Chumbawamba.
Biggest unanswered question remains, who’s that guy with the blonde mullet/headband combo going on at the side of the track? Where the hell did he come from? Moscow 80?
“Keirin turns out to be a mix of Rollerball, greyhound racing and too much cheese before bed. It’s carnage.”
The long jump final turns into a proper entertaining scrap, Rutherford secures a bronze, which appears to be a Manchurian Candidate-style trigger for idiots to send abuse to his partner on Twitter.
Speaking of twats on Twitter, soon-to-be engulfed in scandal himself, US swimmer, frat-boy fantasist and presumably well-cast 30 Rock sex idiot Ryan Lochte posts this selfie.
— Ryan Lochte (@RyanLochte) August 13, 2016
(Later, when Lochte is facing the music for the other stuff, Future Hannah wonders if Lochte might try to argue an elaborate Twinkie Defence thing based on having recently been in close proximity to McConaughey. The L.I.V.I.N’ Defence.)
As we’re in the pool, I better just mention Michael Phelps wins his 23rd gold, meaning he overtakes himself to become the Most Successful Olympian Ever. I only mention it because I’m not sure the BBC did. Come on guys, this is the sort of stuff you should just keep on repeating.
My favourite tale of the night comes from Team GB swimmer Fran Halsall who has to have her race delayed when the bus taking her to the venue goes to the wrong one. Applause. I’m going to be bed.
Sunday 14 August
Most interesting story to happen overnight is reports Lochte and other swimmers were held up at gunpoint by men pretending to be police who robbed them of their wallets, cellphones and ID. Hmm. More news as it is thought up.
Justin Rose wins gold in the golf, it’s not windy enough for sailing and everyone’s pretending they know what the hell is going on in the Omnium, which sounds too much like a dystopian prison for me to ever truly get into it. Jason Kenny wins stuff, which is convenient to the narrative of Britain’s Golden Couple. (Because he’s with Trott, not sure if you saw that anywhere?) Otherwise the nation was going to force her to marry Max Whitlock.
“The big story of the day is whether or not some guy’s penis put him out of the pole vault. That’s my Olympics right there.”
I continue to be baffled and a wee bit weirded out by the cycling, especially with the start of the sprint races looking like two cats squaring up to fight.
Talking of squaring up for a fight, there’s a bit of comeback to the comments of US women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo (probably not related to Han) who brands the Swedes that knock her team out of the Games “a bunch of cowards”. (So, maybe related to Harrison Ford.) She is later banned for six months, which some think to be harsh. (Thanks, Future Hannah.)
Murray wins the tennis, Whitlock wins two golds in the individual gymnastics events and Louis Smith wins a silver. Simone Biles also wins a gold in the vault. Bolt wins the 100m, for the third time in a row. Well, obvs. All of this is really impressive.
Man, I need to do some washing up.
Monday 15 August
The diving pool goes blue again. No, me neither. Nearby, the most horrifying marriage proposal ever happens when diver He Zi is ambushed by fellow Olympian Qin Kai after the award ceremony. He later wins Gold in the Men’s Passive Aggression, with judges praising the way he “really forced himself into the narrative, making it all about him.”
Also causing some consternation was the ever reliable – and I don’t mean that he’s good at his actual job – John Inverdale, who was corrected by newly-out feminist Murray about the accuracy of his belief that the Williams Sisters don’t actually exist. (I’m obvs not mocking Murray, he worked for years with the much-sexismed-upon but completely awesome Amelie Mauresmo, so he knows his stuff here.)
Loads of mocking of Inverdale due though, for being all sorts of not up to the job. Although, on the plus side it has sparked stories of an entertaining feud with Sir Steve Redgrave, which was said to have included the former Olympian shaking his umbrella off at the presenter. Which, I think everyone knows, is rowing for “I’ve taken a hit out on your life.”
“America’s relay team (the women) drops the baton in the 4x100m, gets reinstated and has to run it again, alone. It’s a bit weird to watch a team with no competition. Like the Olympics if organised by Donald Trump.”
In another piece of piss-poor reporting, a straight, married journalist who tricked gay athletes into arranging dates with him using Grindr, is sent home. The IOC slammed an article by The Daily Beast‘s Nico Hines which potentially outed gay athletes, many of who came from the sort of country’s Hines would never pretend to be gay in himself.
There’s much debate about Shaunae Miller’s winning dive over the line in the women’s 400m. Michael Johnson thinks it’s OK and he has a nice voice and I’m tired so I’m persuaded. Plus it looks like it hurt to fuck.
But the big story of the day is whether or not some guy’s penis put him out of the pole vault. That’s my Olympics right there.
Tuesday 16 August
The Falling Down Games continues apace in the hurdles. Over the shorter distance some races have so many early casualties it looks like a Tory leadership contest.
But the day’s Tumble of the Day also comes from the track where, in the 5,000m New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin takes a spill and brings down Abbey D’Agostino. The American looked like she wasn’t going to recover so the Kiwi stayed with her and encouraged her to continue and they both finish together. Ah, isn’t that lovely?
What the fuck has happened to me? I don’t know who I am any more.
Thank god for the first jab of the Games from Nicola Adams, who is like a ray of a hard-punching sunshine.
“All eyes turn to Jade Jones as the Taekwondo kicks off. My brain makes whatever adjustment it must to enable the clapping of someone getting a foot to the face.”
Meanwhile in the women’s marathon, all the sibling power teams come out to play, with triplets from Latvia – Leila, Liina and Lily Luik – and twins from Germany joining the field.
The latter pair, the Hahner sisters, cross the line smiling and holding hands, leading to much consternation in their home country “for treating it like a fun run.” Yeah come on, like this moment is about the people that trained for it and ran it? The absolute outrage.
And then, drum roll, I go out for the evening. Sorry guys, I’ve let you down.
Wednesday 17 August
In an attempt to get from Edinburgh to Cambridge by train, which is my first mistake, I flatten my battery tweeting Virgin asking if I’ll ever see my home again. I’ve now missed more than 36 hours of coverage. *shivers*
Still, it gives me time to ponder two pieces in the media, one in the Guardian which suggests all this is turning us Soviet, and one, in The Independent, arguing that the National Lottery money spent on sport is a waste when we could be spending it elsewhere.
The latter suggests that medals don’t actually inspire anyone to take any more exercise anyway, completely failing to take into account how many times I’ve had to vigorously rub the batteries in my remote control over the past two weeks.
I think we can all agree I’m no expert on sport, but, when we’re actually investing in young people’s future for once, many of whom would otherwise never be able to afford to get to this level of sport – I find it incredible that it’s the left-wing media that objects.
Anywho, I finally arrive home to catch up on the sad story of Renaud Lavillenie, who wept on the podium after being near continuously boo-ed throughout the ceremony and the entire pole vault event. The Frenchman, who had the audacity to attempt to beat the Brazilian who went on to win gold, compared himself, somewhat daftly, to Jesse Owens. But even taking that into account, he got a unnecessarily shitty outing to the Games. Which, like I said, is sad.
And finally, one of Team GB’s most likeable blokes, Adam Gemili, wins a place in the 200m final, along with Bolt, who looks so easy he has a little chat with Canada’s De Grasse in the last 50 meters or so.
— Radio Times (@RadioTimes) August 18, 2016
Thursday 18 August
It occurs to me I’ve seen almost nothing with horses. Never mind, all eyes turn to Jade Jones as the Taekwondo kicks (now that definitely is kicks) off. My brain makes whatever adjustment it must to enable the clapping of someone getting a foot to the face.
America’s relay team (the women this time) drops the baton in the 4x100m, gets reinstated and has to run it again, alone. It’s a bit weird to watch a team with no competition. Like the Olympics if organised by Donald Trump.
The Brownlee Brothers (as in the triathletes, not as in the Wild West outlaw gang I just made up) put in a strong showing for Team Sibling, winning a gold and a silver.
Alistair finished with enough time to have a bit of a walk around and Johnny finished with enough energy to not be immediately given medical attention, so nice work all round.
GB’s Ellis and Langridge win bronze in the badminton and celebrate the shit out of it.
Meanwhile, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark say fuck it and drive their boat (I don’t know do I?) up the beach to meet their families after winning a gold medal.
All the Tumbles of the Day occur in the BMX, in which the field stays upright for around the same time the horses used to in Escalado.
Meanwhile, the first drug-related medal-stripping of the Game happens when Izzat Artykov (which sounds a bit like a question when you say it out loud) of Kyrgyzstan loses bronze in weightlifting after positive test for strychnine. Yeah, strychnine. Old school.
And talking about “old school”, it turns out, huge surprise, Lochte and co’s story was not all it was cracked up to be. A spokesman for Rio 2016 dismisses it as high jinks. Yeah, tale as old as time isn’t it? Just some privileged guys, smashing up some private property, getting caught and saying “some brown dudes did it and ran away.” Those kids and their high jinks.
Nicola Adams reaches the women’s fly final and, whether purposely or not (for ’tis unknown), leaves Inverdale waiting for a post-bout interview after securing a place in the gold medal fight. All the applause.
Team GB’s second most delightful woman who could also kill you if she wanted to, Jade Jones, retains her title.
Bolt wins the 200m and, in perhaps the greatest example of how much Team GB has improved since I used to watch the 200m as a child, Gemili almost nicks the bronze and it is barely mentioned.
But the biggest story of the day is South Africa’s Caster Semenya who stepped onto the track for the first time this Games and every single aspect of her life, her body and personality becomes fair game. It’s the start of a dark couple of days for women’s middle distance running.
Friday 19 August
Lochte makes this statement on Twitter. Make of it what you will. I have.
— Ryan Lochte (@RyanLochte) August 19, 2016
It goes someway to hiding the quite upsetting news that a financial crisis has caused the Paralympics to be seriously downsized. Which is a real shitter for disabled sport. Proving that like actual shitters, making everything accessible to everyone seems to always come second to money.
In better news, I finally see something on a horse and it’s Britain’s stalwart Nick Skelton who’s been at it since before horses were even invented, winning a long-awaited gold.
A weightlifter wins North Korea’s first gold medal at the Rio Games and says her first thought was that she had made the nation’s leader Kim Jong-un happy. Learn something from that Hahner twins.
Bolt takes another (his last?) gold, in the 4x100m relay, which starts off with a bit more of that Stars in Their Eyes curtain stuff. Team GB women take bronze in 4x400m relay. And there’s also a silver from Lutalo Muhammad in the Taekwondo, which is more traumatic to watch.
And then … Great Britain’s women take the hockey gold. I know.
Saturday 20 August
Team GB is disqualified from the men’s 4×400 relay. Old potty-mouth Rooney later tells the BBC team in the sky he refuses to accept the decision. I like this guy more and more.
After being pretty great in qualifying, Tom Daley, who has ditched the other guy that wasn’t in the photos, has a diving ‘mare and finishes last.
In the women’s triathlon a bit of argy-bargy breaks out during the running bit by the two women in the front, which was so bizarre, I forgot to pay any attention who they were. Team GB’s Holland took bronze, just in front of her flatmate. Sorry, not actually related, not interested.
Tumble of the Day came in the men’s javelin when Kenya’s Julius Yego, who is self-taught using Youtube tutorials, threw so hard he fell on the ground and put himself out of the rest of the competition. Still won a silver though, so nice work mate.
In other javelin news, Bolt is messing around with teammates in the empty stadium and throws a respectable distance, prompting a screed of Decathlon chatter.
Nicola Adams wins gold and smiles a lot. I only mention the smiling because I’m not sure the BBC did at all. Also smiling is Sir Mo Farah, who wins the 5,000m, and the women’s 4x400m team, who take bronze. Now that’s what I call Super Saturday Part II.
Biggest story of the day seems to the football, where Brazil, who had a shitty start to the tournament, take gold after a victory over Germany that included a penalty shoot out. The ecstatic BBC commentator says, “You couldn’t have written it, because if you had no-one would’ve believed you”, and I think, “Fucking hell, where’s he been for the rest of 2016?”
Sunday 21 August
The final day, I lie, barely conscious on the sofa twitching as other things happen.
In a beautiful piece of Olympic symmetry, Tumble of the Day and Siblings of The Day unite when a representative from Borlee, Borlee, Borlee & Watrin (as in the Belgian 4x400m team, not as in the firm of architects) throws himself at the line and just misses a medal.
So long, Rio 2016, I’m done. It would be a cliché to say you couldn’t make it up. Although in Lochte’s case it’d be accurate.6696 Views
Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.