Wednesday, August 01, 2012

08/01 (Phelps) Quickie

What a jaw-dropping day yesterday: Michael Phelps loses his signature event at the wall touch, then turns around and wins his record-setting 19th medal (gold, no less, in a U.S. rout).

Greatest Olympian ever? No question.

But my favorite moment was the sincere joy on Phelps' face for Chad Le Clos, who was overwhelmed by the moment. Phelps was pissed immediately after the race, in the water, but by the time he got to the medal stand, he was relaxed and able to enjoy the moment for Le Clos. Honestly, that is the essence of the Games. (Meanwhile: The interview with Le Clos's dad. Oh wow.)

Also, the reason to watch on TV, even though I saw the race live in the afternoon: The NBC reaction shot of Phelps' mom, who thought Phelps won, raised her arms and face in exultation, only to be told by her daughter a moment later that Phelps had come in second.

Meanwhile, the women's gymnastics gold was no less compelling in primetime than it was live -- maybe even more so; NBC knows how to weave a narrative, combined with awesome footage that the BBC world feed just doesn't have. This is a fun "fab five," and McKayla Maroney's vault was the most spectacular moment of the Games so far for the U.S.

More later.

-- D.S.

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