The big deal from last night is that Nastia (pronounced Nah-stee-ah, not Nasty-ah, like I first thought. Stupid name.) Liukin won the women's gymnastics all around gold medal. Apparently she's only the third American woman to do this... blah... blah... blah. I'm happy for her (how could I not like someone who was in Stick It?). I actually think she's a pretty great gymnast and her balance beam performance during the team competition really wowed me. But I feel bad for Shawn Johnson. Not because she got the silver medal. But just because they did this whole segment on her earlier in the evening where it was about how she copes with the hype and the product-placements and the adoration of her hometown (if you go to the museum in Des Moines you can see all sorts of Shawn memorabilia. And the local fair even made a statue of her out of butter. Golden butter, I bet.) She seemed pretty down to earth about it all, but the pressure must be enormous when like everything you see about the team USA gymnastics is about her and how she'll do. So she came in second. Not such a bad thing at all. Second in the world is damned good. But now she's going to have to answer a billion interviewers who want to know if she cracked under the pressure, if she hates Nastia, if she considers herself a failure. However, she got a shout out from Mary Lou Retton from the stands after she nailed her floor routine, so that's something to be excited about.
Anyway, I've basically gotten to the point of the Olympics where I start empathizing with the losers too much. Instead of just unabashedly rooting for the winners. Like what about the guys who lose in the swimming heats? They came all that way and then they lose and are done. What about the other 18 gymnasts who we didn't get to see at all because they had no chance in hell of taking home a medal. It's got to kind of suck for them. Especially since they train their whole life and are of then the only chance their countries have to shine. Its just sad. Maybe it is my exhaustion taking over (the gymnastics program didn't even start until 11:15 PM) and making me feel their pain, maybe it was my moronic decision to stop drinking coffee that has thrown off my equilibrium, but I'd just like to take a moment to spotlight on Gaelle Mys, the Belgian gymnast who came in dead last in the all around. We hardly knew ye. Actually we didn't know her at all. And her bio on the nbcolympics.com site is limited, to say the least. She's single, 4'10", 93 lbs, and born in 1991. If they had added in her love of long walks on the beach and guys with a sense of humor, it could be a match.com profile instead of an official Olympic bio. So Gaelle (also a terrible name) here's to you. Good job for just showing up.
Don't get me wrong. I'm excited for Nastia. I'm irritated on her behalf that her mother came all the way to Beijing and then couldn't bear to watch her perform. Ugh. Annoying. And then when her gold-medal winning daughter tried to call and share the good news she didn't even pick up the phone? I'd be waiting with baited breath. And she used to be a gymnast in Russia, so she should be able to handle the pressure. Whatever. Her daughter had probably one of the biggest accomplishments of her life and mommy dearest couldn't be bothered to come. That's therapy for years to come. "Where was mom when you won gold?" "I dunno, shopping?" Great. At least her dad/coach was there to celebrate and cheer her on, with a hug and a pat on the back.
In other non-gymnastic stuff, Michael Phelps won another medal. And that Lochte kid, if I ignore the fact that he likes to wear grills and skateboard, is kind of awesome. He won gold in the 200M backstroke and then busted ass to come in third in the 200 IM, only 25 minutes later. That's sick. When Phelps swam twice in an hour they announcers went gaga, so 25 minutes for two medal races is pretty damned impressive.
-- Track and Field is starting! They showed the stadium. Such a tease. I want my decathlon now!
-- Katie "the Sack is Silent" Hoff (Mindy came up with that one and it has stuck) didn't qualify for her last race so she's done. Maybe she's another one who caved to pressure.
-- I'm officially sick of beach volleyball.
-- One of the American men's beach volleyball players has the nickname "Son of Jor-El", which they announcers had to explain basically meant he was superman. Lame.
-- Mary Carillo did a segment that was actually relevant to the Olympics. I know. I couldn't believe it either. She interviewed the guy who created the logo and mascots for the game. And she wasn't cracking too many stupid jokes. Very restrained. I'm almost impressed. Almost.
-- And this is either new, or NBC was tired of hearing people complain. But underneath the Live bug in the upper right hand corner of the screen, a time would flash every once and a while saying 12:46 ET, 11:46 CT and 12:46 Beijing. I'm leaning towards them being tired of the complaints.
Oh, one more gymnastics thing... I can't help myself. I adore Bela Karolyi talking about the sport. He bashed the scoring (nice!) and even uttered the words "go, girlfriend" at one point. Who knew this guy could be so funny. I want to see him on a reality show. The best Bela moment though was when Bob Costas decided to show the legendary coaches reaction to Nastia's floor routine and it was amazing. Karolyi was pounding on the table, jumping up and down and screaming, and basically just acting like a super fan. Bob laughed about his objectivity, but it is nice to see some enthusiasm at one in the morning.
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