Caught a huge swath of the Today Show today after the US Women’s gymnastics team won gold in the team competition.
The women’s gymnastics team was the story, as was seeing their parents. The past few nights we’d seen Aly Raisman’s parents, Jordyn Wieber’s mom, and Gabby Douglas’ mom. This was the first time I saw McKayla Moroney and Kyla Ross’ parents, neither of whom were talking. Kyla Ross’ dad looked like a big Asian dude. I decided to wiki her, turns out that he is black and Japanese. The mother, Puerto Rican and Filipino. Of course, Kyla Ross was born in Honolulu.
Michael Phelps won his 19th medal yesterday, making him “the most decorated Olympian” ever. Some have taken that to say that this makes him the “Best Olympian” ever. What does “best Olympian” even mean? Does that mean greatest “athlete?” Cause if that’s the case, then that would have to be someone who does the Decathon.
My friend once made the point that Michael Phelps won so much medals and all he did was swim, why don’t they have track and field events where you can run backwards, or run 50 meters or 60 meters? His point was that Phelps had more opportunity within his sport to win medals, but that didn’t make him the best “athlete.”
One NBC commentator made a good point: this best Olympian talk was just all bar or watercooler argument talk. There is no single “greatest Olympian.” Mike is the one whose one the most medals, which is pretty amazing, but any talk about him being the greatest Olympian of all time smacks of a desire for old whitey (and I don’t mean Phelps himself) to talk about how their race can have the greatest athlete.
Speaking of whitey, they actually invited a black athlete to interview for once. USA basketball’s Carmelo Anthony. They brought the basketball court out to play. Matt Lauer actually asked him some decent questions, but because Carmelo is already known as an NBA player, they asked him less about his personal journey and origins before to the Olympics and more about the current experience with Team USA.
To my surprise, some time later, they had a segment featuring Cuban-American gymnast Dannell Leyva and his stepdad. He was interviewed by the ever-ubiquitous Ryan Seacrest. He showed some Cuban dishes. They talked about Leyva’s towel, and his preperformance rituals. The towel is his safety blanket to clutch during good and bad times, much like my sister’s “coco.”
His stepdad occupied a huge role in his training. He would tell Danell to trust in his training. Stepdad was the first parent I’ve seen interviewed that had any kind of immigrant accent.
Later, a promotion for Brian Williams show would feature the Dominican gymnast John Orozco.
This day, I’d spent a lot of time looking for athletes representing the Philippines competing in the Olympics. Of course this information wouldn’t be broadcast, so I had to use the power of Google and the internets to get my information.
I’d learned during the Opening Ceremonies that we had 11 total competitors. As I was looking at the medal count standings, I just wanted to know if the Phillippines had just one. It’d be nice, the last one we won was in the 1996 Olympics in boxing courtesy of Mansueto Velasco.
Who represents the Philippines best chances to win?
Hidilyn Diaz, the flag bearer of the Philippines for the 2012 Olympics lost her bid to medal in her competition, weightlifting.
Daniel Caluag, a BMX racer and college champion, had grown up in Harbor City, right next to Wilmington, CA. He competes on August 8th. Apparently, the US team was really secretive with him, and this’ll be the first time an Asian will compete in BMX racing.
During the actual Olympics coverage, I’d already known the results of the men’s gymnastics final. Leyva had won the bronze medal, and John Orozco finished 8th. I still wanted to see what had happened.
As the telecast on, we were brought more fully into Dannell Leyva and John Orozco’s stories. We learn about Dannell Leyva’s dad and struggle, but we learn about what the Olympics means for John Orozco. We learn about how he as a kid he gave a gold medal to a boy who he was beaten up. We learn that he’d wanted to work and help his family. We learn that the Olympics meant getting his family out of their living situation. I myself wanted to for real cry with his mom hearing about his struggle.
My girflriend noted that he “looks quiet” based on the way he walks and looks down.
It’s just all the more heartbreaking to see his eyes when his feet touch the pad while doing the pommel horse exercise, the pommel horse being a routine you might see break dancers doing. I can only hope to see this man, whose endured a life at many margins, from economic disadvantage to cultural disadvantage, make it back for 2016.
Today Show Olympics-Related Segments
- Conor Dwyer: ‘We sacrifice so much’ for Olympics
- Jordyn Wieber’s mom: ‘So happy for these girls’
- Gabby Douglas: ‘I knew we could do it’
- Carmelo Anthony: ‘We’re having so much fun’
- Who’s invited to a ‘stag party’?
- Rowdy Gaines: ‘Phelps is the greatest of all time’
- Mary Lou Retton: U.S. gymnasts ‘spanked’ Russians
- U.S. gymnast Dannel Leyva, stepfather share special bond
- Actor Kevin Spacey talks Olympics
- TODAY anchors take on U.S. men’s beach volleyball team
- Skeet shooter gold medalist: ‘This is my passion’
- Bronze-winning swimmer: I knew I could get a medal
- Gabby Douglas: Calm down, I’m going to catch the bar
- Elfi Schlegel: Gymnasts have great shot at more medals