Yang Wei: Olympic Stud of the Day

Weiliang_lPhelps, schmelps — as much as I love watching lithe bodies slice the water via the under-the-pool cam, for me, there’s little that makes me gawk so much as the men’s gymnastics. (Oh, and I’m totally joking about Phelps — he’s truly a Titan among mere titans.) But China’s incredible Yang Wei (pictured, left), a superstar in Asia, won the men’s gymnastics all-around Olympic title last night, finally getting his hands on the gold medal that has eluded him for eight years. The 28-year-old hunk finished with 94.575 points, nearly three points ahead of Kohei Uchimura of Japan (silver) and Benoit Caranobe of France (bronze). Yang didn’t even bother waiting for his marks on the high bar, his final event, leaping onto the podium and thrusting his fists in the air while the crowd went bananas. There’s something mesmerizing about the way Yang flips over the still rings and holds his poses, like he was more bird (well, a very strong bird) than man. And those muscles! Maybe not the biggest on the block, but just fine for this gal.

Honorable mention must go to Zhang Liang (pictured, right), the Chinese rower and gold-medal hopeful who somehow missed (!) his race on Saturday. (Dawdling with groupies? Shaking off Friday’s night’s hangover?) The director of China’s water sports governing body told reporters that Zhang thought he was supposed to be in the next heat, thus missing his shot at glory by ten minutes (ouch!). Ten minutes, people. Because of this, Zhang was also disqualified from the men’s double sculls event that followed later in the day, and cost his teammate the opportunity to qualify as well (double ouch!). In a culture that indoctrinates children as young as six into the Olympic way of life, this is big, bad news for Zhang, so the least we could do is give the 6′ 4" champ a little love on PopWatch.

Now it’s your turn: Nominate your own Olympic Stud of the Day* — or second ours — below. (Then click here to check out our winning Studs from the previous days in Beijing.)

* Not just a man or woman who turns us on. (Necessarily.)

addCredit(“Nick Laham/Getty Images; Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images”)

Comments (37 total) Add your comment
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  • AA

    Kudos on both your picks. I hadn’t heard the story of the no-show. Agreed, it’ll just have to be PopWatch love for Zhang. And fingers crossed he isn’t banished to Mongolia.

  • Crabbie

    Cute socks.

  • This one makes sense

    We are back on track with OSD. I’ll consider yesterday a one time mistake.

  • meredith

    Can we show some love for Kohei Uchimura , who had a really painful looking fall on the rings AND a nasty looking vault, but still got silver? The guy looked like he was out of it and managed to crawl his way back. Studly.

  • Hy Barr

    Is that a Bronze Medal in Jonathan Horton’s pocket, or is he just glad to be there?

  • flistea

    Hiroyuki Tomita fell on the rings and vault not Kohei Uchimura. He messed up on the pommel horse. Still Uchimura is a cutie!
    I nominate Lin Dan – China’s Badminton bad boy. Mmm…
    Another phwor for GB’s retiring swimmer Mark Foster. He’s been giving hugs to our lady swimmers – damn him! Not sure if this’ll play in the USA but if it does enjoy – http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/swimming/7560910.stm
    Just a question that’s bugging us over the pond – we’ve got Michael Johnson as Athletics pundit on the bbc and he’s brilliant- WHY THE HECK ARE YOU NOT USING HIM ON NBC?????
    Not that we want to give him back mind!

  • Coach’s Mistress

    Aaron Piersol! Show the love!

  • LisaM

    Alexander Artemov may have gotten 12th in the men’s all-around gymnastics finals, but I am amazed by his perfect performances on the pommelhorse, the hardest rotation there is.

  • 5rings

    LOL about Jonathan Horton’s pants! Didn’t know tent-pitching was an Olympic event.

  • LisaM

    Agree with meredith about Kohei Uchimura who not only managed the silver after messing up a couple times, but is extremely cute.

  • Elizabeth

    How about a little love for the Australian Women’s 4×200 Free relay team – the way they were cheering afterwards made me smile. And the 2 gals from China who finished 1-2 last night in the one swimming event.
    Before the games are over, can we kick it old school and nominate some old olympians from games past? My sisters and I have sighed every time Matt Biondi, Gary Hall, or Pablo Morales have been mentioned :)

  • Crystal

    I concur with this stud nomination! I also appreciated him supporting other athletes around him.
    He looks like he has been a great leader for his team and I was really happy he won! Congrats Yang Wei!

  • MsDaisy

    How about a new category for Olympic “Dunces”? My first vote goes to Tim Daggett, NBC gymnastics commentator, for declaring that Alicia Sacramone’s fall on the floor exercise was a “disaster of epic proportions”. No Tim, the recent China earthquake would be a “disaster of epic proportions”. Some 20 yr old girl landing on her rear-end is not.

  • Ann

    To go along with Olympic dunces of the day – the baseball announcer who was astounded to realize that there were 5 people named Lee on the Korean baseball team. It’s only the most common last name in the country (about 80% of all Koreans are named Lee, Kim, or Park).

  • I’d like to nominate

    James Blake — anyone who is able to defeat Roger Federer deserves some recognition!

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