Blog Posts by Chris Chase

  • Phelps Watch: 100-meter butterfly

    Event: 100-meter butterfly

    When: 10:10 p.m. ET

    At stake: Tying Mark Spitz with seven gold medals in a single Olympics

    Possible spoilers: Ian Crocker, Milorad Cavic

    What you need to know: Phelps is the favorite, but this is his toughest individual event, by far

    Analysis: This is it. Barring a catastrophic disqualification in tomorrow's medley relay, the 100m fly is the final remaining hurdle in Michael Phelps' quest for Olympic immortality. If Phelps touches the wall first this morning in Beijing, he's all but assured of finishing these Games with a staggering eight gold medals. But that won't be as easy as you might expect.

    Before the Olmpics, the 200 and 400 IM were hyped as possible speedbumps for Phelps. That talk was preposterous as Phelps hadn't lost those races since 2002. In the last four international major meets Phelps has lost the 100m butterfly twice, both times to teammate Ian Crocker.

    In Athens, Crocker had a lead on Phelps in this event for 99 meters but lost on what

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  • The mystery of Michael Phelps' iPod playlist

    In the long, storied history of Fourth-Place Medal's Investigative Unit (founded: Monday), one question has been asked by our readers more than any other. Today, on our five-day anniversary, we will attempt to tackle the biggest Olympic mystery of the Beijing Games: what is Michael Phelps listening to on his iPod?

    In nearly every camera shot of Michael Phelps on dry land, he can be seen with iPod headphones dangling from his ears. The earbuds are a ubiquitous presence in the ready room and on the starting block; they're just as much a part of Phelps' 'uniform' as goggles and a swim cap. About two minutes prior to the start of a race, Phelps sheds the iPod along with his warm-ups. So, what is he listening to?

    Podcasts of NPR's This American Life and Dylan live at The Supper Club. No wait, that's my iPod. Phelps listens to hip-hop music on his. He says it helps motivate him before a race.

    While his pre-race tracklist varies, Phelps has said that "I'm Me" by Lil' Wayne has been on his

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  • I've got a fever -- and the only prescription is more Bela!

    If you haven't seen NBC's video of Bela Karolyi excitedly watching the American gymnasts perform in Beijing, drop whatever it is you're doing and watch this clip before it gets taken down. If you already saw this last night, I'm sure you've already hit play to watch it again.

    Video courtesy Awful Announcing

    The highlight, for me, is after Liukin completes her final tumbling pass (with Bela muttering "she is going to be the champion" over and over), Bela turns to Bob Costas and looks like he wants to wrap him in a giant bear hug to celebrate. But Bela pauses mid-hug, almost seeming to remember that the diminutive one doesn't like be touched. Bela deliberates for a split second and then goes in for the love anyway.

    NBC's next act should be playing audio of Bela and Bob talking during commercials. I don't know what they'd possibly talk about, but I'm sure it'd be a whole lot more interesting than synchronized diving.

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  • Phelps does it again: Gold and world record

    The much-hyped showdown between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte never materialized this morning in Beijing, but neither had to have minded. Phelps dominated the 200m IM in world record time, putting him just two golds away from a staggering eight for these Olympics. Lochte didn't get close to Phelps in that race, but won a gold of his own 36 minutes earlier in the 200m backstroke. The U.S. swept that event, with defending gold medalist Aaron Peirsol earning a silver.

    Next up for Phelps: Tomorrow's showdown with Ian Crocker in the 100m butterfly. It's the final hurdle in Phelps' quest for a historic eighth gold medal. Sunday morning's 4x100 medley relay is a virtual lock for the American team.

    Photo via Getty Images

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  • Another Spanish team discovered making eye-slant gesture

    A picture recently discovered on the website of the Spanish Tennis Federation shows the nation's Federation Cup team making an eye-slant gesture, according to a report in London's Telegraph. The shot was apparently snapped in February, prior to Spain's Federation Cup match with China.

    It's the second such picture of a Spanish sports team to emerge in the past week. Spain's basketball team made a similar gesture in an advertisement for a courier company that was published prior to the Olympics in the newspaper La Marca.

    If you didn't read Adrian Wojnarowski's column on the picture controversy yesterday, I highly recommend it. In the piece, Jason Kidd makes a salient point when he asks what the reaction would have been if an American team had been photographed mocking an entire nation. He says there is a double-standard that exists with Americans and, by extension, their teams. He's exactly right. However, Kidd and his teammates would never be ignorant enough to put themselves in

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  • Ocho Cinco says he can beat Michael Phelps

    Yesterday on Pardon the Interruption, Cincinnati Bengals receiver, world-class talker and self-professed Olympics fan Chad Johnson said he could beat Michael Phelps in any swimming race. After being lobbed a question on whether he could beat Phelps, Ocho Cinco responded:

    Where I'm from -- Liberty City -- I know a couple of people who can beat Michael Phelps right now. Seriously. I'm telling you. And I'm one of 'em."

    During the interview Johnson also claimed he was the three-time Charles Hadley Pool champion. A quick search reveals that a Charles Hadley Pool does indeed exist in Liberty City (Miami), but no records of Johnson's swimming exploits are available. But if there's one thing I know about Chad Johnson, it's that he'd never, ever say anything just to get attention.

    The Olympics talk beings with 1:22 remaining in "Five Good Minutes".

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  • Phelps Watch: 200-meter individual medley

    Event: 200-meter individual medley

    Time: 10:48 p.m. ET

    At stake: A sixth gold medal and 11th straight Olympic win

    Possible spoilers: Ryan Lochte

    Analysis: Michael Phelps has been on cruise control since Monday morning. He's won three gold medals since then, but hasn't had to swim his best in order to land the top step on the podium. We take Phelps' dominance for granted because he makes it look so easy, but his Olympic slate is unbearably grueling. There's a reason Phelps has the most gold medals of all-time; it's because nobody has ever had the talent, drive and stamina to pull it off.

    Strange as it sounds, it's probably been hard for Phelps to get motivated for events like the 200 butterfly. Sure, it's the Olympics, but Phelps' swimming schedule has been like a marathon and the past few days have been the 15th through 20th miles -- far enough in to be exhausted, too far out from the finish to get a second-wind. The end is in sight though and with Ryan Lochte poised to challenge for

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  • The mystery of the black stuff on Kerri Walsh's shoulder

    "My friend said she's covering up a tattoo."

    "The black tape might be a tribute to somebody."

    "It IS a tattoo."

    "Tape. It's some sort of medical tape."

    "That's actually a Nike swoosh."

    Everyone has an opinion about what that black stuff is on Kerri Walsh's shoulder: some are right, most are wrong. But that's why we're here, to separate the fact from the fiction. After some Phelps-like domination in solving our first three mysteries, Fourth-Place Medal's Investigative Unit (FPMIU) will today tackle the mystery of the black stuff on Kerri Walsh's shoulder.

    If you've watched any beach volleyball so far during the Olympics, you've surely noticed it. Spread across American star Kerri Walsh's right shoulder is a distinct black marking that sort of looks like a cross between a tribal tattoo and a Rorschach test. (I see a butterfly.) So what is it?

    As is usually the case in instances like this, the most mundane explanation is also the correct one. The black markings on Walsh's shoulder are a

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  • Breaking: NBC says no Phelps live coverage for west coast

    Despite a flurry of rumors ignited by a post on the website Media Bistro, NBC restated today that the network will not air any live coverage of Michael Phelps on the West Coast. Yesterday, there was some speculation that NBC might halt its practice of airing tape delayed coverage out west in favor of a coast-to-coast live broadcast of Phelps' possible run at Olympic history. It's not going to happen, says an NBC spokesman:

    "It will not be shown live on the West Coast. This is a baseless rumor and I don't know the genesis of it.
    The situation will remain the same as it has for all of our prime-time broadcasts. The reason that we're showing this in the normal prime-time patterns on the West Coast is because this is when the majority of people are available to watch."

    Say what you will about NBC, but on some level, you've got to admire its stubbornness on this issue. Virtually everyone outside 30 Rockefeller Plaza thinks NBC should at least be airing Phelps' weekend swims live throughout

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  • No Wimbledon rematch; Federer out at Olympics

    Roger Federer won't be adding an Olympic singles medal to his expansive trophy cabinet. The Swiss tennis star lost in straight sets tonight in Beijing to American James Blake, 6-4, 7-6 (2). It's the first time Blake has bested Federer in nine tries.

    Despite his 12 Grand Slam titles, 55 career titles and a record 237 weeks at #1, Federer has been shut out of the medals in the three Olympic tournament he's played in. He still has a chance to end that streak in Beijing; Federer is still alive in the doubles competition with partner Stanislas Wawrinka.

    This has been the toughest year of Federer's stellar career. He lost in the finals of each of the first three Grand Slam tournaments and has lost more matches (12) than he did in a 29-month stretch during the earlier part of this decade.

    The Olympic tennis tournament doesn't have the prestige of any of the Grand Slams so this loss doesn't seem as major as, say, the Wimbledon loss to Nadal. Still, it's tough to imagine that Federer wasn't

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