5 Things to Know: August 1 at the Olympics


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Photo: marcopako /Flickr

The five things you should know if you were only going to know five things about yesterday at the Olympics.

1. Something obvious: Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian ever. He has six more golds than anyone and now has more total medals (19) too, after winning a pair yesterday. He lost the 200m butterfly by half of a tenth of a second because of what announcers called “a rookie mistake” in mistiming his strokes at the wall, but then he won gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay only an hour later, swimming the anchor and notching the fastest split of all the Americans. There is nothing wrong with Michael Phelps, people. He’s getting older, and his competitors are getting better—as tends to happen with the passing of time in athletic competitions among human beings. And still: he’s amazing.

2. While it was maybe sad that Jordyn Wieber, the best gymnast in the world, didn’t qualify for the individual all-around competition, it was also a sign. A sign that the U.S. women’s gymnastics team is better at gymnastics than pretty much anyone is at anything. They crushed their competition, beating second-place Russia by more than five points. McKyla Maroney’s vault was—I don’t even know—just watch it. If you needed further proof: she is the best.

3. The U.S. women’s field hockey team beat Argentina 1-0. After losing their first game to Germany, 2-1, the U.S. could still advance to the knockout stage with a win against South Africa in their final group-stage game. Argentina is the second-ranked team in the world, while the U.S. is tenth. “We don’t like the way they play, its very physical. They foul a lot,” said Argentina’s Luciana Aymar, widely considered the best field hockey player of all time. “Sometimes it feels like they don’t want to play.” That’s funny because Luciana Aymar scored as many goals as I did yesterday. USAUSAUSAUSAU—um, sorry. Moving on….

4. Phelps lost the 200m butterfly to 20-year-old South African Chad LeClos. His father, Bert, provided us with the best moment of the Olympics so far during a BBC interview. Watch that video and learn why human beings reproduce and then train their children to become World Class swimmers. I love everything about this guy and would definitely consider doing one of those Parent Swap shows with him for a couple days.

5. Frenchman Jo-Wilifried Tsonga beat Canadian Milos Raonic in the longest set in Olympic tennis history to move on to the third round of the men’s tournament. The third set of their match lasted for 3 hours and 57 minutes, went for 48 games, and featured 257 points. The previous record was a 30-game set in Athens. The entire match also set the record for most total games with 66. “This is the only way for me to write my name in history at the moment,” said Tsonga, realizing that Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic still play tennis.