Julie Versus A Bee: On today’s Satellite Sisters, Julie shares a cautionary tale of organic cherry tomatoes, benign salad-making and an unexpected attack by a killer bee. Plus FISH FRAUD?? What is this world coming to???
Liz is feeling the post-Olympic blues. Katie? Allyson?? Simone??? What are YOU doing today? Special thanks to NBC for deleting Ryan Lochte from every single video highlight reel before the games even ended. Quick work! Julie thinks Ryan should get advice form Tyra Banks so that she will be teaching Project You about branding yourself at Stanford Business School. Liz thinks he might get more useful perspective from Tonya Harding.
It’s college drop-off season so we have many comments and some advice from the Satellite Sisters Facebook Group about how to survive this potentially wrenching transition. More advice to offer, post it there!
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On today’s show, Liz and Lian are home from Rio Olympics with a complete Olympic report. But first, you aren’t going to believe Julie’s adventure (or misadventure?) with Barbra Streisand in Brooklyn. Urban Nana hits the Barclay Center.
Lian shares the Satellite Sisters Keys to Success in Rio. Sports cliches are not just for athletes, people! We’ve got focus. We overcame adversity. We ran our race. We don’t have a medal to show for it, but we got awesome stamps in our passports and didn’t run into a single mosquito. Read Lian’s complete post-Rio Random Thoughts here.
On the podcast, we talk about our big nights with Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Jenny Simpson, Maya DiRado, Michelle Carter, Lily King, Brazil soccer, Simone Manuel. We were at the Aquatics Center, the Estadio Olympic, Maracana and USA House. Lian’s husband even had his own moment with Ryan Lochte.
Much like Ryan, Liz has an apology she would like to make to a community she may have offended. Lian awards her own gold medals. We also have a few lingering questions for our friends in Brazil. But most of all, we want to say thank you to the Olympians, the families and coaches of Olympians and our hosts in Brazil who gave is beautiful, memorable sporting competitions on one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
Back from Rio, safe and sound without creating an International Incident or breaking a World Record. But filled with memories, a six-pack of souvenir beer cups from Olympic Stadium and a hoarse voice from cheering. The Rio games have been controversial on many fronts, almost all justified, but I can tell you this: being part of an Olympic Games is great, like really great. In the sense that you feel like you are part of something bigger than a sporting event or individual competition and it doesn’t matter whether you are a participant, parent, coach or spectators, like we were. This was my third Olympics and I was so happy to share that sense of global connection with my sons and husband (And my sister Liz, too—but we’d been to Games together before.) It’s easy to be cynical… but for 8 days, we weren’t and it was epic.
I’d intended to write Random Thoughts from Rio, but between late nights at the track and pool, early mornings at the marathon and boxing ring and some really, really sketchy Wi-Fi connections, I never managed to write a single entry. So you’ll just have to excuse the length.
On your mark. Get set. Bang:
Rio is every bit as beautiful as you’ve been seeing on TV. There are vistas, beaches, rock formations and crashing waves that take your breath away.
There is also heartbreaking poverty in the landscape that takes your breath away. Both are part of the city.
Everybody in Rio was cheering for two countries: their own and Brazil.
If you have ever wanted to outfit yourself in a flag, the Olympics is the place to do it. Flag capes. Flag Pareos. Flag Dresses. Flag head wraps. Flag Scarves. Get yourself a flag and get to the next Olympics.
Also, large hats. Nobody enjoys headwear more than the Brazilians. Except every other country in the world. I kept thinking, “How did they get those through airport security?”
And don’t forget to bring your own Kangaroo if you’re Australian.
Much has been written about the small crowds at some venues, citing the obvious reasons: Cost of tickets; traffic; winter in Rio and everyone had to go to work or school; overzealous coverage of Zika virus in media. But here’s what I think: the stands would have been more full if the organizing committee had, um, put some helpful signs up at the stadiums that said things like, ‘Tickets for Sale here!” or “This way to the pool.” Or, really, ANY helpful signs. I have seen better signage at a school fair. Seriously. It was like someone forgot to order the signs, maps and other helpful graphics for spectators to use to get around.
And don’t event get me started on the lack of banners on the venues indicating which sport might be played inside. We were at Olympic Park for 3 days, never figured out which was the basketball court or which was the gymnastics venue.
Also on the Olympic site, it said there would be ticket kiosks “all over town.” There were not. Not even ticket booths at venues outside of security. And the few did exists were impossible to find. See above rant on SIGNAGE. It’s hard to buy tickets for events when you can’t buy ticket at the event.
Plus, the venues were surprisingly far apart- which is why we never made it to indoor volleyball. Hard to tell that on TV.
But the Beach Volleyball set up was sweeeeeet. We scored some sunset beach volleyball tickets to watch the Brazilian women play and that was a rocking venue, even at 5 pm. With a ticket booth, signs, banners and a blue-ribbon sunset punctuated by crashing waves and pop music. If all the venues were as complete and efficient as Beach Volleyball, stands would have been more packed.
With beach volleyball pioneer Randy Stoklas in the house, no less.
The Brazilians cheered the loudest for their own and booed the loudest for anyone or anything from Argentina. We saw the Brazilian crowd boo when an Argentine ref was announced at the Boxing. We also saw the same Brazilian crowd stand and chant for a Romanian boxer who was done wrong by the judges. Ro- Man-Ia! Ro-Man-Ia! The boxer responded with raised arms and tears. Both were classic Rio moments.
The Boxing tickets were $20, the house was packed and the boxers literally beat the crap out of each other. I know that’s the point—but I’d never seen it in person. It was fantastic. And I never have to go again.
Well, thanks US Women’s National Soccer Team. I never got to wear my special red jersey and my star-spangled earrings because you lost to Sweden.
Maracana is a beautiful, beautiful stadium. Happy to have seen a game there, even if the US wasn’t in it.
Nothing was louder than the silence of a stunned Brazilian crowd when their women’s national team lost in the soccer semi final to Sweden after penalty kicks. 60,000 futbol fans deathly silent. That loss was a crime to sport.
It was really a privilege to watch Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt go out at the top of their sports in the same week. We saw Phelps bury the field in the 200IM and we saw Usain Bolt barely out run Justin Gatlin in the 100 M. Huge moments by athletes in another stratosphere. #notagaininthisgeneration
Also, a privilege to see Marta in person on her own turf at Maracana. She literally dazzles on the soccer pitch, even at this stage in her career.
Most touching moments for me at the pool: the tears of joy and humility shed by Japanese swimmer as she took her gold medal victory lap around pool deck and saw her team in the stands waving tiny Japanese flags. Also, US swimmer Maya Dirado putting her arm around teammate Missy Franklin and ushering her past the interviewers after Missy failed to advance to the 200 M Backstroke finals, an event in which she was the defending Gold medalist. Maya would go on to win the event the next days. A lovely moment of sisterhood.
We happened to be sitting with the US Swim parents at the pool and there were whoops of joy and happy disbelief from every parent when Simone Manuel won her historic race and became the first African American to win a gold medal. Very special to be there and be able to honor her achievement in person.
It was the moment when I missed Rowdy Gaines the most.
Loved watching the gymnastics on a German language TV station in our hotel room. All the German announcers kept saying about Simone Biles was “Ver gut.”
Our Brazilian host assured us, “Everyone in Brazil loves Simone Biles.”
We spent four nights at the track, cheering on shot putters, high jumpers, long jumpers, distance runners and sprinters. I know the crowds weren’t huge, but they were knowledgeable. Track and field is a very difficult sport to understand live and in person, with multiple events going on all over the track for four hours with little audio introduction. You really need to pay attention, know what you’re looking for and focus. As my marketing sister Liz said, ‘This is why track and field is impossible to market. There is no single narrative.”
We saw some terrific moments: Shot Put Diva Michelle Carter pulling out the gold medal on the last throw; Fan fave Mo Farah taking the 10,000; Jenny Simpson winning the bronze in the 1500 M, America’s first medal ever at that distance; all the women heptathaletes holding hands and taking a bow together after two grueling days of competition; the crowd-pleasing Colombian triple jumper who started her run in the most haphazard way. No single narrative but many exceptional moments if you look for them.
At the track, every single athlete, official, cameraperson and spectator stops and stands when any national anthem is played during a medal ceremony.
Google DeAnna Price. She is an American hammer thrower and we were seated in front of her nice mom during the preliminaries of her event. The Price family seemed a little shell-shocked that Deanna had made the team and that they were in Rio. They were flagless! I loaned mom Ann my flag after hearing that the small town in Missouri where Deanna had grown up had opened up the high school gym to show the hammer throw on TV to everyone in town. Deanna became the first American women to qualify for the Hammer Finals and finished 8th overall and posted a Personal Best. Way to go, DeAnna.
Nothing confirms how stupid it is that we didn’t convert to the metric system more than the Olympics. Is 2.79 meters a good high jump or a bad one? Who knows? Not the Americans.
But nothing topped the world record in the Men’s 400 M by South African van Niewkirk . Because we were there 3 nights in a row, we saw all his heats and it was clear that he was running well. On the way to the track that night, my husband said he expected a sub 44:00 time. But 43.03 is a time that will last a generation. Brilliant.
And a nod to the great Michael Johnson who I worked with several times early in my career, including the 1992 Barcelona Games. His record stood 17 years but his reputation as an exceptional athlete and role model will last longer.
Nobody loves to hear his name chanted more than Usain Bolt. And the crowd was happy to do it. U-Sain Bolt. U-Sain Bolt. Goosebumps.
Every night at the track, they pre-game hype people tried to teach us to Samba. We never Samba’d like Usain.
Hey Rio, where was Tom, the other mascot? The cute one with the leafy head? I like the yellow guy, but wondered where Tom was.
You know what is enjoyable: collectible beer cups at the venues.
We picked up last minute tickets to the track cycling at Velodrome thanks to USOC. I had no idea what was happening most of the time but I know this: that is one uncomfortable looking sport.
But hypnotic to watch the cyclists go around the track at top speed, then drift in and out of pack to take turns at the front. Like a ballet on bikes. A really uncomfortable ballet.
And when the cycling women crashed, we felt our tickets costs were justified. Yes, we are those fans.
Many things in Rio didn’t work quite right but that upgraded airport was fantastic. In and out of the airport both ways was efficient and fast. Longest line at airport in sandwich shop.
The potatoes in Brazil are delicious.
We spotted two of three triplets in women’s marathon.
I had a single caipirnha. Yum.
I think Ryan Lochte was the worst behaved person in Rio. I noted that at no event did we see any behavior issues from the spectators, like the usual drunk and disorderly of NFL or college football games. Spectators came to watch the sports, cheer the athletes and enjoy the moment. Even at the women’s semis futbol game where tensions were high, the crowd was calm after the loss. His behavior was an anomaly, an awful ugly anomaly.
I scored Snoopy and Woodstock Havaianas. Yaaassss.
The next Summer Games are in Tokyo in 2020. If you are thinking of going, don’t hesitate. There are a million reasons to talk yourself out of a trip like this but one really solid reason to talk yourself into it: rooting for your country under the banner of sport is awesome. I’m pretty sure the Japanese have already made their signs, put up ticket kiosks and manufactured enough banners to blanket the city, planned to paper the venues with tickets so there is not a single empty seat and supplied the Coke stands with actual Coke. It will be organized and executed with precision.
But, Rio, you did good. Let’s samba.
More Random Thoughts on Rio:
And now is the time for my annual entry where I make the case for Live Coverage. I have learned to abide by the Laws of the Olympic TV Universe that NBC imposes on all of us. I shrug, try to stay off the Internet and kid myself the Live to Tape is Live. Sort of. But yesterday’s blockbuster line-up and performance by Team USA reminds us all once again: Sports are more exciting Live. Spoiler Alert: US Women win Gold in the middle of the afternoon but we don’t get to see it until the middle of Primetime. (Unless you watched the live stream like I tried. The gymnastics commentators on the live stream make Tara & Johnny sound like Supreme Court Justices.) And MIcheal Phleps in the pool would have REALLY been awesome to see, if everyone in the world didn’t already know the outcome. I appreciate that NBC has nine million channels and we have lots and lots of options, like watching the 4 x 200 free relay on a tiny phone. But athletes as great as those gymnasts and those swimmers deserve live on big screens. That is all.
I can report that even the Italian horses are better dressed and more attractive than the rest of the world’s horses. One beautiful horse is actually wearing some sort of headwear that highlights his attractive ears while his rider is in sharp white jodphurs and a striking blue riding jacket. Sensational.
The New Zealand rider is named Kitty King. Look for my new YA series about a girl and her horse who solve crimes and fall in love with a sick boy.
Big crowds at the Beach volleyball venue for the Brazillian men’s team. We have tickets for one of those “midnight madness’ sessions. I am already drinking coffee to stay awake.
My plan for our entire trip is to stay on Pacific Standard Time—so that when I am up at midnight watching swimming, it will really be 8 pm in my body .
I try watching The Today Show for 10 minutes, Matt’s sweater is distracting. S oit the fact that the audio is off for two days in a row. Back to the horses.
Wait! Harry Connick is going to have a daytime talk show? Sign me up.
Waves after wave of Men’s Rubgy matches are keeping me entertained while I pack my gels & liquids. Rugby = Fantastic New Sport.
I was explaining our Zika Protocol to my sons while we were all watching the women’s soccer match. My soccer playing son doing his own commentary. Are you trying to kill us, US Women’s Nation Team? We’ll take the tie and the group win. Onto the quarters ( and hopefully, the semis because we have tickets to that match at Maracana which could be US v. Brazil.)
Cleaning the house for housesitting while watching rowing. It’s relaxing. Maybe that water is petri dish… but it sure is pretty with that cityscape.
Occasionally , it surprises me that other countries have dominating athletes. I know, that’s stupid.
It’s time to watch he US Women win that Gold they won 6 hours ago. This is a fantastic team and these athletes are in the zone. They are focused, fierce competitors and that’s great. Tim Daggett, on the other hand, is a professional mess. And come on, Nastia Lukin, speak up. She must have fantastic insights to all this, but she keeps talking about seeing those 5 Olympic rings.
The Chinese gymnasts are upsetting in terms of age, size and terror in their eyes. And there it is with Gymnastics for me. Just can never embrace this sport wholly.
I don’t want to see Bridget Jones have a baby at 50, even if it might be Colin Firth’s. Couldn’t they have made her Prime Minister or win the lottery or write Harry Potter – anything but this. Ugh.
The Pool Action was Supreme tonight: Ledecky, Phelps, Relay Team, Backstage Coaches, Underwater cams, Basketball Players, Baby Boomer, Chanting Fans, Rowdy & Dan. All good, except the ManBun Hungarian Coach Cam. Enough of that guy. More American Parents in Matching T-shirts.
It’s 5 am and I’m finally watching the US Women win that Gold they won 14 hours ago. They do win, right?
Next post from Rio. Bom Dias!
Click on the beautiful cover for info on our new book “You’re The Best: A Celebration of Friendship”
Coming in October 2015 from Prospect Park Books
You’re the Best is a collection of writings about how we rely on our friends to get us up, get us going, get us through and, most importantly, make us laugh. The perfect gift for anyone who inspires you to say, “You’re the best.”