I’ve come to realize over the last few days that I’m really partial to Olympic swimming events. Nobody purposely tries to throw a race to avoid tougher matchups down the pike (see badminton). There are no pesky judges to witness a thing of perfection — like McKayla Maroney’s flawless vault — then score it like there were hidden glitches only they could see. And swimming is straightforward: Eight people get in the water and start paddling, one of ’em touches the finish wall first. In other words, inconsistent folks at NBC don’t get to pick and choose which parts of the event we see or don’t.
Maybe that’s why, for me, the best moment of the network’s primetime telecast of Day 5 was Nathan Adrian’s seemingly impossible victory in the Men’s 100 Freestyle. The guy looked hopelessly beaten in the final lap of the race, but managed to dig deep in the final strides to nip James “The Missile” Magnussen by one-100th of a second and earn himself a Gold medal. The nail-biting nature of the race, combined with the mixture of shock and joy on Adrian’s face when he realized he’d triumphed on the world’s biggest stage, was simply awesome.
Take nothing away from ridiculously adorable Danell Leyva surging late to take home the Bronze in the men’s gymnastics individual all-around competition (his performance on the horizontal bars was so powerful, I thought those things might break in two), or the dominance of Japan’s Kohei Uchimura to get the Gold, or even the thrilling floor routine by Silver medalist Marcel Nguyen of Germany. It’s just that NBC showed us so little of the all-arounds — zeroing in on Leyva’s competitors only when they made huge errors, skipping the still rings altogether, ignoring the bulk of Nguyen’s rotations — that it was difficut to truly get engrossed.
What was your favorite moment of Day 5? Sound off in the comments!