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Ron Judd's Olympics Insider

Ron Judd, an Olympics junkie and Seattle Times columnist who has covered Olympic sports since 1997, will use this space to serve up news and opinion on the Summer and Winter Games -- also inviting you to chime in on Planet Earth's biggest get-together.

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August 20, 2008 6:02 PM

Wednesday prime time: West Coast finally catches up to Bolt

Posted by Ron Judd

Good evening, DTZ. Good morning, Beijing. Good grief -- Chris Collinsworth? Once again we're monitoring NBC's prime-time offering to the East Coast, so the less relevant coasts can decide whether to watch at 8 p.m. in the Lesser Time Zones.

NBC's prime time show ends tonight, just after midnight, with a short recap, narrated by Costas, of German weightlifter Matthias Steiner's gold-medal victory, which we wrote about today. A nice capper to the show.

Misty and Kerri win the gold medal, 21-18. Be sure and remind your children where they were at this historic moment. Namely, watching diving prelims waiting for the delayed broadast on NBC and asking, "Isn't there anything else on?"

Says the play-by-play guy: "They have vanquished all their opponents. There is nobody left to play."

Sweeter words were never uttered on a beach volleyball court.

Another timeout. This time we learn that Misty has a tattoo of Bob Costas right on her .... Sorry, we're getting a question from an editor. Back in a minute.

Another timeout, and NBC continues its tour of Misty's body. Another tattoo, shown in a huge blowup in the small of her back, is a "V" for number five, which NBC says honors Jason Kidd, her favorite athlete. That's beautiful. But there's more. RIght there, up in the stands ... it's him! Jason Kidd! His presence here is a gigantic sacrifice, we are led to believe, as he just helped blow out an opponent last night and is preparing to do so again tomorrow.

Oh: IT's 12-11 for the Chinese.

The Americans win the first game, 21-18. Someone please make it stop.

Oh, here we go. During the break, a closeup look at Misty's tattoo honoring her mom, plus the ash-scattering scene from Sydney, for at least the third time in this Olympics. Assurances are made that there will be further ash-sprinkling after this match, because, as Misty told NBC, "this is where she would want to be."

Really? On a fake beach in China?

We'll have to take her word for it.

It's raining extremely hard at the faux-beach volleyball venue. May and Treanor-Walsh are tied 6-6 with the Chinese pair, but in just a few minutes, they will switch sides and the Chinese will be serving against the tide.

It's too bad the Brazilians couldn't have made it to the final, because, as a couple of alert readers pointed out to us, they conveniently had their national abbreviation, "BRA," emblazoned across the front of their sport bras, which made it a lot easier to tell which way was up. Which reminds us: The Canadian Taekwondo athletes likewise have the word "CAN" emblazoned across their uniform backsides.

Frankly, it is disturbing not only that we have noticed this, but made the connection.

The women's beach volleyball final, featuring Kerri "I Lost My Ring!" Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, is starting as scheduled in spite of the rain. Which means: Instead of women prancing in the sand in skimpy bikinis, we have women prancing in the sand in skimpy, soaking wet bikinis.

It is on CBC live, right now, if you'd rather not wait up. In any case: Resistance is futile. You cannot escape it.

Right off the bat, we learn that Kerri had a dream about this match last night, and in her dream -- it was raining!

Other events, including BMX, the men's javelin and women's high jump, reportedly have been postponed.

The forecast calls for "clear" skies tomorrow. Or the next day. Or whenever tomorrow occurs in Beijing.

Note to beach volleyball fans, both of you. In spite of the torrential rain, Bob Costas says the women's final beach volleyball match (match number 1,254) will take place at the top of the hour (8 p.m. eastern time live; 11 p.m. DTZ not live) "unless there is lightning." Like we said: It's the beach.

Is it just us, or is the slowest night of the Beijing Games?

NBC, in addition to its Michael Phelps highlight DVD, is now hawking an opening ceremonies DVD. They're turning into Time-Life. Next week: The Chris Collinsworth Celebrity Roast box set.

NBC is back to women's 10m platform diving prelims.

NBC shows the women's 400 hurdles, won by Melaine Walker of Jamaica with an OR of 52.64, as Sheena Tosta of the U.S. takes the silver with 53.70. Tasha Danvers of Great Britain takes the bronze medal with a 53.84.

The deluge today in Beijing makes it easy to tell what's live and taped on TV, at least for outdoor events. Pouring rain: Maybe live. Not pouring rain: Not live.

Scary thought for the world's sprinters: Bolt just turned 22.

Sorry for the long delay. Just finished tomorrow's column, on TV ratings here and elswhere. Lots of numbers involved. Always trouble. Anyway:

NBC has just showed Usain Bolt's amazing 200-meter race, resulting in a new world record, 19.30, run into a slight headwind, of all things. I saw it earlier online and on CBC, but it's absolutely worth a tune-in tonight. The way Bolt pulls so commandingly away from the field is breathtaking. Never seen anything like it in that race. Well, not since Michael Johnson set the former record in 1996, that is. Spectacular. The top five men all ran under 20 seconds.

Johnson, BTW, is shown looking on from the BBC booth as his record is broken. He gives a quick aw-shucks reaction, but is laughing and smiling throughout.

And then there's the Wallace Spearmon story. Spearmon, of the U.S., was walking around the track, wearing a U.S. flag, believing he has won a bronze medal. A series of protests and disqualifications ensue, and Spearmon is eventually disqualified. It's painful to watch him walking around, celebrating, before he's informed of the fact.

It's raining in Beijing. Hard. Out at the BMX track, where the one "live" event for the Eastern time zone, BMX racing, was set, the entire track is covered with tarps. So much for that. NBC instead starts you off with some women's diving, which is nice, and promises to take you to the big BEACH VOLLEYBALL medal rounds.

Don't complain. Let's get it over with. It's never too wet to play beach volleyball, right? That's why they call it a beach.

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Blogroll and links The official International Olympic Committtee site, with news releases, a searchable Olympic medals database and other archival information. Olympic news site from one of the Games' primary sponsors.
NBC Olympics columnist Alan Abrahamson's column/blog
Chicago Tribune Olympic sports writer Philip Hersh's blog U.S. Olympic Committee's athlete web site. Ed and Sheila Hula's Olympic News Service (subscription). News service with audio, video and text coverage of Olympic sports, during and between Olympics. Free, but charges for live video feed subscriptions. Beijing Organizing Committee Web site. Vancouver Organizing Committee's 2010 Winter Games site. London 2012 Summer Games site. Sochi, Russia's 2014 Winter Games site. Candidate city Chicago's summer 2016 bid committee site.
Olympic swimmer Tara Kirk's highly entertaining WCSN blog
Bellevue Olympian Scott Macartney's WCSN alpine ski-racing blog
Other WCSN Olympic athlete blogs.