Best of 2016: The Margaret Abbott Awards For Baffling Treatment Of Female Olympians

Welcome to Day 2 of our Best of 2016 (wherein we pretend good things happened in 2016). But seriously, on our very short list of great things about 2016, the summer Olympics are near the top. As always, we were inspired and amazed for two weeks and became mega-fans of athletes we hadn’t even heard of weeks before. But 2016 had to be 2016, so there was still some weird sexism stuff, because of course there is. Our reaction: the Margaret Abbott Awards, highlighting baffling treatment of female olympians (and named in honor of first female ‘medalist,’ Margaret Abbott. And yes, medalist is in quotes because they gave her a bowl instead).


The Margaret Abbott Awards For Baffling Treatment Of Female Olympians

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Dan ‘He’s Responsible’ Hicks

Longtime NBC commentator Dan Hicks hit headlines after the 400m individual medley in swimming, when Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu won the gold but also shattered the previous world record. During the program, he noted that Katinka’s husband and coach, Shane Tusup is “the man responsible” for making his wife the swimming champion she is today. Viewers were quick to take note of Dan’s wording, because, homegirl just killed it in the pool, yet this dry dude on the sidelines is “responsible” for the gold medal? OK. Dan Hicks later clarified his comments, saying, “It is impossible to tell Katinka’s story accurately without giving appropriate credit to Shane, and that’s what I was trying to do.”

There’s also more of a backstory with this couple, because apparently Shane’s poolside enthusiasm can turn scary, with other swimmers noting his extreme anger, calling it “inappropriate” and “not OK”. But again, Dan Hicks has an interesting view on his hard love, “It’s been a little disturbing to some of the other swimmers who have observed it,” he said on-air, according to the AP. “But he has turned her into a tiger in the pool.”

Dan Hicks is awarded… The GOLDEN ABBIE

Perfect for: The blood, sweat, and tears of Katinka, Shane Tusup in mini-form to stay afloat for all eternity

“Female Michael Phelps”

Katie Ledecky, 19 years old,  won four gold medals and a silver in the 2016 Olympics. She set a world record for the 400-meter freestyle … then she broke it herself. She finished the 800-meter freestyle so quickly that she had 11 seconds to cool her heels before the silver medalist even reached the wall. All of this is enough for the Daily Mail to name Ledecky the “female Michael Phelps.” For its part, NBC commentator Rowdy Gaines remarked that “some people say she swims like a man” before telling us why that’s false. Few things here:

A.) “Some people say” is a tired vehicle for introducing opinions a journalist or commentator doesn’t want to own (see also: “some people say women aren’t funny” in any interview with a female comedian).

B.) “Some people” need to stop saying a woman does something “like a man” when she does it well. Clearly Katie Ledecky swims like a woman since she, you know, is one.

These Male Rita Skeeters are awarded… The SILVER ABBIE

Perfect for: Serving alphabet soup so they can figuratively eat their words.

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Mid-Olympics Round Up

It seems like the Opening Ceremonies just happened, but we are now halfway through the 2016 Olympic Games. Crazy, right? We like our athletic competitions with a heavy dose of pop culture and human interest stories – so while most Olympics recaps will focus on who won what, we’re more interested in the hilarious, inspiring and hard-to-believe moments of the games. Here’s our round up of some of the most captivating moments of the Rio games so far:

Tonga Changed Lives

Dropping The Racket And Getting The Point

Raise your hand if you would’ve just given up and fell to the ground in agonizing defeat.

I Don’t Think The Leg’s Supposed To Bend That Way

French gymnast Samir Ait Said, and expected medal contender, landed completely wrong after going on the vault, leaving him in pain and had to be carted away on a stretcher. Turns out his left leg had a double break but he’s miraculously already back on his feet and on the mend. Obviously he can’t compete in the Games anymore, but at least he can walk! GRAPHIC IMAGE OF HIS 90 DEGREE LEG BELOW:

The Summer of Leslie Jones Continues

SNL star Leslie Jones got unwanted attention on Twitter when she had to put racist and sexist trolls on blast, but she also garnered support from the thousands of other nice human beings with the Love For Leslie J tag and even got the attention of Twitter bosses to help change their policies. This time around, she’s trending for a much more positive reason, thanks to her energetic tweets, pix and videos supporting Team USA. Former SNL producer/Late Night with Seth Meyers producer Mike Shoemaker took note of Leslie’s posts, and got the attention of Jim Bell, the executive producer of NBC’s Olympics coverage, and next thing you know, he officially offered Leslie a correspondent job at the Games and she’s down in Rio giving her commentary live! The power of social media, y’all.

And she’s been killin it at the Olympics too:

So What Do You Say To Second Chances

Laurie Hernandez MVP of Life and the Olympics

She also winked at the judges before her final floor routine during the team all-around, so she’s basically our favorite.

Ellie Downie Gets Knocked Down But Gets Back Up Again

17-year-old British gymnast Ellie Downie, another medal contender, was in the middle of her floor routine for the qualifying round when she turned too slowly on one of the passes and basically landed on her neck. It was scary (as evidenced below) and she decided it didn’t feel right and had to walk away without finishing. She got checked out and instead of pulling out, she surprisingly returned for the vault and help move the Great Britain team to the finals.

The Most Enthusiastic Chinese Athlete

Fu Yuanhui placed third in the semifinals of the 100m backstroke, but she thought she placed fourth until this reporter told her she was one second faster than she thought. Her response: “I was so fast!” This video went viral and here we are obsessed with her and her hipster glasses and dorkiness.

Aly Raisman’s Parents

Lynn & Rick continue their 2012 streak of being the best and most stressed parents in the stands. Katie Ledecky’s parents come in a close second.

 Name All The Babies Simone

August 11th, 2016: A really great day for Olympians named Simone.

A) Simone Biles lived up to expectations and won the gold for the all around competition. She also cried when she finally won, which is emotion she’s never really shown before. Whereas I tend to cry every 5 seconds during the Olympics.

B) Simone Manuel, who didn’t exactly have as much attention on her as Simone Biles, seemingly came out of nowhere (to pedestrian swimming fans) to win the women’s 100m freestyle and tied for gold. On top of that, she scored an Olympic record and became the first black American woman to win an individual swimming event. Basically, she is now America’s hero athlete and should probably be on the Wheaties box now? 

Monica Puig’s First Gold for Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico isn’t doing great (short recap: the US gov’t attracted business to PR with corporate tax breaks which expired in 2006; financial collapse followed; PR borrowed money by issuing municipal bonds – mainly to private investors; the gov’t cannot repay their debt obligations; the island isn’t eligible to file for bankruptcy or seek funds from the IMF; terrible budget cuts have ensued;  yikes). But last week, Puerto Rico got a much-needed morale boost from Monica Puig, the first-ever athlete to win a gold medal for the island. Even more amazing, she was unseeded and beat the #2 seed, Angelique Kerber, for the win after rounds of improbable victories. The crowd chanted ‘si se puede’ and we both definitely cried.

In related news, I have a lot of Puerto Rican relatives-in-law – a few of whom are tennis pros – and literally every one of them used the word ‘wepa’ in their Facebook statuses that night.

We Want To Hold Ryan Held

Ryan Held was overcome with emotion during the medal ceremony after winning the 4×100 meter relay and began crying during the national anthem. Then WE began crying during the national anthem — not because we felt bad for him, but because we were so happy for his success and because masculinity is a prison and we’re so proud when someone breaks out.

Katie Ledecky Is Waiting

Katie Ledecky finished her race before any other swimmers were even in the frame. It’s fine; she can wait.

The Pool Looks Bad

The pools in Rio, while technically safe, look very murky and gross thanks to an interaction between peroxide and chlorine. It has since been drained. I’m sure this did nothing to help public confidence in the Brazilian water quality.

7th Best Steeplechaser In The World With One Shoe

Ethiopian steeplechaser Etenesh Diro (ranked 4 in the world) lost her shoe with two and a half laps left in the race. She still finished seventh and advanced to the finals. If you had any delusions that Olympians really are like you and me, now’s the time to let them die.

Phelps Face

We’ve already discussed this, but Michael Phelps’ grouchy face earned him the coveted (?) prize of most memed athlete of the 2016 Olympic games. He also won a few other competitions this week, so it’s fine.

Teach Us How To Say Goodbye

First of all, we’ve reached that point where Hamilton has so saturated popular culture that news outlets feel the need to show off that they know what it is. Second, One Last Time from Hamilton is the only proper way to express how we feel about Michael Phelps’ final race, so we don’t at all blame NBC for going there. Twenty-three gold medals and 16 years since we were first introduced to the 15-year-old baby Olympian, it’s time to teach us how to say goodbye. Enjoy your vine and fig tree, Michael.

 

Ryan Lochte Reaches Peak Ryan Lochte

Just when you thought Ryan Lochte had reached his maximum ‘jeah’ level he bleaches his hair, gets distracted playing with a bend-y thing when Michael needs him, and – best of all – responds to BRAZILIAN KIDNAPPERS with a simple ‘whatever’ when robbed at gunpoint.

“We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over. They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so — I’m not getting down on the ground. And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.”

Oh, Ryan. Then he said that Michael Phelps would be back in 2020 (wishful thinking, maybe?) and his best bro was forced to tell a major news outlet that Ryan “doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”