Olympic Co-Studs of the Day: Dawn 'n' Shawn

Harperjohnson_lI had to — they rhyme! And, of course, both Americans won gold. Dawn Harper (left) staged a huuuuuge upset over fashionably bespectacled U.S. teammate LoLo Jones in the 100-meter hurdles — a win seemingly most shocking to Dawn herself. Mentor Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s words of encouragement to Dawn (via email) rang especially true: "It’s anyone’s race on that day." But, aggggghhhh, that footage of Jones (possible long-lost sister of Rashida?) taking a private moment against the stadium wall, with only her crushed dreams and a herd of camera crews to keep her company, damn near broke my heart. I almost wanted to give her Stud distinction just for holding it together for a post-race interview ("I could feel the gold around my neck!")

Meanwhile, gymnast/dynamite stick Shawn Johnson (right; nicknamed "Minnie Mouse" by the Chinese) finally earned a gold of her own — in the individual balance beam final — to add to her three silvers from Beijing. I’m not sure what made me cry harder — watching Shawn’s parents’ weepy embrace in the stands, or the ever-composed Shawn herself during the national anthem. I seriously don’t understand how these impossible creatures don’t totally lose it as a song plays JUST FOR THEM in front of the WORLD. Why am I crying and they’re not?! The question only makes me cry even harder, every time. This, friends, is why I am Not Olympic Material.

Honorable mentions abound: Canadian springboard diver (and way hotter version of Gossip Girl‘s Ed Westwick) Alexandre Despatie picked up a silver last night, which I realized in between obligatory DVR pauses to count the ripples on 4 percent body fat-boaster Troy Dumais20-pack. Great Britain track star Christine Ohuruogu astounded fans of U.S. armwarmer queen Sanya Richards by pulling ahead in the straightaway portion of the women’s 400-meter final to win gold. 34-year-old Russian cutie Dmitry Sautin endured countless commentator references to his ancientness to (probably) wrap up his own diving career, while the amazing He Chong continued the China-Only streak of gold medals in diving. And I know a lot of you tire of all the volleyball coverage, but as a former ‘baller I must geek out for a moment: Indoor setter Linsday Berg absolutely ruled games 4 and 5 of the U.S.’ match against Italy, jump-serving aces all over the place and finally utilizing her middle blockers (holla!) to score the U.S. a spot in the quarterfinals — they’ll next face the scary-awesome power attackers from Cuba. And, um, let’s talk about chicks, man (chicks, man)… Italian outside hitter Francesca Piccinini: Are. You. Kidding me? (I will be her in another life!)

Oh, and granted it was only the semis, but U.S. runner Wallace Spearmon gets a special shout-out for jokingly wagging his tongue at showboaty Jamaican runner Usain Bolt during their heat. (SPOILER ALERT: This just happened in today’s final.)

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(“Dawn Harper: Jeff Gross/Getty Images; Shawn Johnson: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images”)

Comments (125 total) Add your comment
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  • Nose

    Alex Despatie is hot. That is all.

  • QueenC

    Annie, I hear ya on the crying. Got teary just reading that paragraph…

  • Snarf

    Must agree regarding Alex Despatie
    Tres-chad.

  • Winona

    I also cried while watching Shawn’s parents weep in the stands – so Annie, you’re definitely not alone. And I’m glad I’m not alone in assuming that LoLo Jones and Rashida Jones are related.

  • KG

    Dawn’s reaction was hilarious. She could not believe it at all. And Shawn. My favorite 2008 Olympian. Finally, she got her gold. My friends and I were waiting for her to cry but she didn’t haha. When she found out she’s won gold, she just kept smiling and waving at the crowd and at the camera. During the medal & flag ceremony, we were all like “Okay she’s biting her lip, here it comes, she’s gonna cry…” But she kept her composure haha. I heart Shawn Johnson, partly because of her skills, but mostly because of her personality. She is America’s sweetheart.

  • idigress

    Shawn’s parents reaction had me the closest to tears that I have been in months! Such a great moment!

  • Anonymous

    Shawn is amazing! As is nastia! I think the best thing about those two is their friendship!

  • Philip

    Alexandre Despatie is dreamy. Another Canadian cutie, Jason Burnett, won the silver medal in trampoline (and also finished between two Chinese athletes).
    I say this as a gay man – but Lolo Jones has got to be one of the most insanely beautiful women I’ve ever seen! Sorry she came up short – but congratulations to Dawn Harper – and to another Canadian medallist, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, who came out of nowhere in her first major event final to win a bronze! Go Canada! :-D

  • LJ

    Whoa, NSFW tag on those Piccinini links would have been nice! Now everyone thinks I’m a perv. :P

  • Fletch

    Lolo Jones, Amanda Beard, Shawn Johnson – that’s a yummy hat-trick right there.

  • AA

    Thanks for the Alex Despatie nod: I agree he’s studly (but sooooooo young!), but also want to throw in one last shout out to triathlete Simon Whitfield, for an astounding Olympic effort! Oh, and I’ll also put forward a pre-emptive vote for some upcoming OSOTD: kayaker Adam van Koeverden… his finals are coming up soon.

  • nunya

    congrats to jonathan horton (who i know was already a OSOD)for winning silver in horizontal high bar. that was a great performance! i also enjoyed seeing his parent’s proud reaction.

  • rls

    I’ll second a pre-emptive vote for some upcoming OSOTD: kayaker Adam van Koeverden…he’s a stunner, and intelligent and well-spoken to boot. Go AvK!

  • Jo

    Alex Despatie is just yummy. I’m tempted to say that he wins the hottest guy in the Olympics gold medal.
    Poor Lolo Jones. That was just heartbreaking.

  • Melinda65

    I couldn’t be an Olympian, either, because I would be bawling my eyes out. Oh, and there’s the complete lack of athletic ability, but mostly, it’s the crying thing.
    I have to say that watching Shawn Johnson’s mom crying in the stands made me teary, along with the fact that she finally got her gold medal. I was concerned that Nastia would edge her out of the number one spot; not that I dislike Nastia, but she already had her gold and it was Shawn’s turn.

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