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Originally published Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Ron Judd

The events TV won't show

We're halfway through the Olympics, and everyone knows what that means: NBC should be showing the opening ceremony to viewers on the West...

Seattle Times staff columnist

We're halfway through the Olympics, and everyone knows what that means:

NBC should be showing the opening ceremony to viewers on the West Coast sometime later this evening.

Here's what you've missed so far:

Day One

The Games of the 29th Olympiad are launched at 8 p.m. on 8/8/08 with the Most Spectacular, Unbelievable, Flabbergasting, Incredible, Splendiferous, Mind-Blowing, Crazy-Big, Ginormous, Never-to-Be-Equaled Opening Ceremony in the History of All Living Creatures in Galaxies Known and Unknown (copyright 2008, NBC).

The ceremony begins with a 9-year-old Chinese girl standing on a platform and singing "Ode to the Motherland," which, it later turns out, has actually been prerecorded by Milli Vanilli. The ceremony also includes many, many drums, and a spectacular-crescendo ending in which the Chinese, in a clear homage to their sister city of Cleveland, actually light the pollutant-laden Beijing night air briefly on fire.

NBC host Bob Costas, from his booster seat in the International Broadcast Center, gushes: "When it comes to trite clichés, you can retire the trophy!"

In an unfortunate bit of timing, Russia, its tanks fueled with biodiesel made from composted copies of the Olympic Truce, invades Georgia. The Bush administration sends a tank brigade to protect Atlanta.

West Coast viewers see only beach volleyball.

Day Two

NBC finally broadcasts the pilot episode of "Laugh In" to the West Coast of the United States.

East Coast viewers watch Michael Phelps launch his quest to win every single gold medal in every single event in every single sport at the Beijing Games. He captures the 400 IM — amazingly, with the lip-syncing Chinese girl riding him like a dolphin. Mariel Zagunis of Oregon — who did not get the memo on Phelps — quickly foils (tiny joke there) his medal quest by winning her own gold medal in fencing.

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Men's cycling begins with a large group of riders heading out into the smog, never to be seen again. Their medals are awarded to Phelps.

Day Three

NBC finally broadcasts the 1972 Republican National Convention to the West Coast.

The Chinese official responsible for leaking the news of the lip-syncing in the opening ceremony receives a sentence of two-and-a-half lives watching beach volleyball.

East Coast U.S. viewers see Phelps win his second gold medal, swimming with both arms bound through a lake of fire, after which he remains at a loss for words.

The United States vanquishes China, 101-70, in basketball. The Chinese team is hastily relocated to Oklahoma City.

Duvall equestrian Amy Tryon is disqualified after being bucked off her horse. The horse releases a statement explaining that he was tired of being forced to perform silly tricks by people in goofy hats.

Day Four

NBC finally broadcasts the closing ceremony of the 1956 Melbourne Games to the West Coast.

East Coast viewers see Phelps pull a gravel barge with his teeth to victory in the 200-meter freestyle. NBC reporter Andrea Kremer follows Phelps into the dope-testing stall, where he says he is still at a loss for words, and would she mind closing that door?

A controversy erupts in gymnastics, as several of the "women" on the Chinese squad appear to be no more than 6 years old. The scandal worsens when one of them enters the arena wearing warmups that look suspiciously like jammies with feet. West Coast viewers see only beach volleyball.

Day Five

NBC finally broadcasts the Battle of Little Bighorn to the West Coast.

East Coast viewers see Phelps win the 100-, 125-, 150-, 175-, 225-, 250-, 300-, 325-, 350-, 375-, 400-, 800- and 1600-meter freestyle races to bring his single-Olympic total to an astonishing 16. He remains at a loss for words.

In a news conference, Chinese reporters, celebrating newfound press freedoms, ask 6-year-old gold-medal-winning Chinese gymnasts what they did on their 21st birthdays.

Day Six

NBC finally broadcasts the opening of the Panama Canal to the West Coast.

East Coast viewers see a new scandal erupt as several members of the gold-medal Chinese men's gymnastics team are revealed to be pre-pubescent girls.

Phelps invades Georgia. Upon return, he wins his 33rd gold medal by swimming the 200 butterfly with his goggles completely filled with battery acid.

A U.S. swimmer at the Water Cube is expelled from the national team and barred from the Olympics after winning her race, but failing to establish a new world record.

Day Seven

NBC finally broadcasts the Battle of Dunkirk to the West Coast.

East Coast viewers watch Phelps, who trails by 49 meters at the 50-meter mark, leap like Shamu the killer whale into the air, fly the length of the pool, and somehow defeat stunned Serbian swimmer Milo Cavic, who has been sitting in the finish area smoking a cigarette for at least 12 minutes.

Track and field begins, with the sad spectacle of Marion Jones attempting to run the 200 meters in an orange jumpsuit with a home-confinement locator beacon strapped around her ankle.

Phelps is at a loss for words.

Ron Judd: rjudd@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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