Olympic Obsession: Day 12

Ryan Seacrest is a talented enough guy, but he really isn't fitting into what I want during my Olympic coverage.

Dear NBC:

Please tell me you’re not grooming Ryan Seacrest to take over Bob Costas’ seat on your Olympic broadcast.

I know that a lot of people tune into the shows that Ryan is a part of. But I’m not really sure he’s the reason they’re tuning in. And generally, as a rule, if he’s involved with a show, I typically don’t tune in. (The one exception has been the Dick Clark New Year’s Eve show. We’ll see this December.)

Look, he’s a good, ambitious, hard-working sort of fella. I used to listen to him on the radio when he first came out to LA, doing evenings on the former Star/98.7. He did fine as a DJ and had a lot of fans.

Then he hit it big, and has turned into a monster. This is the guy whose production company gave us the Kardashians (and just wait – they’re getting another show). He should not be rewarded with more face time based on that alone.

I know he hasn’t done much during these Olympics, except mostly standing in front of a screen and talking about social media scores and the like. And that’s nice, but really, how does that matter?

I want my Olympic host to know about sports. Even if he doesn’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of everything on the Olympic program, I need to know that he knows the winners aren’t decided by our votes and tweets.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Sincerely, Bill

P.S. While we’re talking about people we don’t need to see, trotting Jimmy Fallon with a taped Russell Brand impersonation during late night was a waste of my time, and not really funny. Your “Saturday Night Live” Weekend Update anchor was on in the middle of the day on the cable show and was 10 times funnier than Fallon’s taped bit.

GOLDEN GIRLS: Watched the women’s beach volleyball match live online, and man, just when you think you have Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings on the ropes, think again.

Shown on TV during the primetime broadcast, both sets were tightly played with a punch-counterpunch mentality. Until it really counted. And then they flipped the switch and ran away with the title.

It just goes to show what a strong partnership the two have. If you watched their interview with Costas at the end of the primetime coverage, you saw how much those two are part of one another. They sat holding hands the entire time. And they held hands while on the medal stand. It may not officially be a marriage, but it’s as close of a relationship as you’re likely to see ever again.

Meanwhile, at the same time as that match was the women’s 200 meters race. And Allyson Felix looked calm, cool and comfortable. Well, when my feed wasn’t skipping (twice).

MEANWHILE: Both the men’s water polo and volleyball teams were sent home without medals Wednesday. And the men’s basketball teams cruised by Australia, and are preparing to root on the women’s soccer team during the gold medal game against Japan on Thursday.

Speaking of the women’s soccer team, coverage of that game is set to start at 11:30 a.m. (kickoff at 11:45 p.m.) on the NBC Sports Network (live, even). USA Today reported that if they win the gold, the team will split a $1.5 million bonus from the US Soccer Federation, and will play an up to 10-game homecoming tour. A loss will mean less bonus and less games.

OTHER STUFF: It was a relatively quiet day at the Games – that’s part of the reason why NBC gave you a premiere of one of its new shows. But there’s always a few interesting things to read about online.

• Saudi Arabia’s second-ever female athlete competed Wednesday, as Pepperdine University student Sarah Attar (she has dual citizenship) finished last in her heat of the women’s 800 meters.

• Also in the 800 meters, South Africa’s Caster Semenya got to make her Olympic debut. Semenya is the athlete who, at age 18, was subjected to months of testing and scrutiny when her gender was called into question. After being sidelined 11 months while they decided if she was, in fact, female, and could compete, she was able to rebound and make the Olympics.

• Staying on the track, and another athlete finds himself under scrutiny – for entirely different reasons. It seems Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake ran in the 100 meters while wearing a $500,000 watch. The problem, it’s not a watch from an official Olympic or team sponsor, a big IOC no-no.

• This highlight probably made all the sports shows, but things can go terribly wrong in the pole vault. Luckily it wasn’t worse than this.

• This photo on Twitter launched a New York Times article about the thigh muscles of cyclists. Popeye's forearms have nothing on these guys (the photo is safe for work, but will probably draw some stares -- you've been warned).

• Lastly, another interesting read on a subject that is tied to the Olympics. Ever wonder what some of these athletes do after their career is over? Some of them join the circus.

UPCOMING: The big one is the women’s soccer game, of course. Fifteen minutes after kickoff at Wembley Stadium, the women’s water polo team will be playing for gold as well, as they’ll play Spain. The women’s volleyball and basketball teams will be playing at 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., respectively. The marquee event at the track will be the men’s 200 meters, but they’ll also settle the decathlon title throughout the day with the final five events. The women’s platform diving finals will jump in at 11 a.m., and rhythmic gymnastics gets underway.


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