You better be wearing your hair in a messy bun right now (conditions permitting) in honor of Team U.S.A.’s Fab Five — Gabrielle Douglas, Alexandra Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Kyla Ross, and McKayla Maroney. I don’t know about this Fab Five nonsense. They’ve always been the Spice Girls to me. Always. For like three days now. In Olympic years, that’s an eternity.
Get ready to relive this tape-delayed event yet again via a bunch of crappy photos I took with my iPhone!
This was no nail-biter, not in the slightest. Basically the silver-medalist Russians kept messing up and the Americans didn’t. Romania and China (third and fourth place) competed in a separate rotation and, at least on NBC primetime, were pretty much nonentities in terms of posing a possible threat to America’s soiled scrunchies.
As a result, what we witnessed was five miniature young women at the top of their game having the time of their lives and SMILING. This was by far the smiliest team gymnastics final I can remember. (And unlike these toddlers, I can remember a LOT.) Usually everyone’s moping around in a solemn state of dread/self-loathing/hunger/whatever and the tension is almost unbearable. You end up watching for people’s mistakes instead of their triumphs. Same with figure skating. It’s thrilling in its way — and I’m sure the individual all-around will have tons of dread for me to enjoy from my couch — but last night I was just excited and happy for these tiny teens who were laughing, breathing, doin’ well, drinkin’ water. It looked so easy! I know it’s not EASY. But it felt like a breeze. Cover Girl.
I wonder if the girls had just heard commentator Al Trautwig say “But they are sturdier….” [than the Russians].
Jordyn, Gabby, and McKayla — my latest obsession since she is totally the Posh Spice of the Fierce Five — launched USA to an early lead on the vault. All three were spectacular! Jordyn’s mood completely shifted once she’d stuck a landing, and I’ve never seen a Spice Girl fly so high as McKayla.
It was during Gabby’s vault that I started to truly believe that the hundreds of sparkles giving the gymnasts the illusion of V-neck leotards were actually responsible for propelling them to greatness.
I can’t possibly describe McKayla’s vault (all three did the same one, but hers was just HOLY F—) in a technical way so I’ll just mention I rewound it at least five times.
Guess which one was my favorite judge?
I know you’re all wondering about Aly Raisman’s crazy parents. NBC kept tonight’s Fam Cams to a minimum — and when they did check in on Mr. and Mrs. Back Spasm, they seemed to deliberately be laying low.
Quit behaving, you two!
Optical illusion: It looked like top Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina did a really good twisty vault, but upon a closer inspection, Tim and Elfi diagnosed her with club feet or something. The Russians scored highly on bars (15.7s) but then again so did we! Really? “We?” I’m identifying with the GYMNASTS of all people? Just the thought of possessing enough core strength to do a simple back pullover on the low bar makes me want to pass out.
One thing I love about the uneven bars — besides Gabby Douglas’ insanely high releases — is how each gymnast pantomimes her entire routine beforehand with just her shoulders, and a stone cold face. I could just start doing that at my desk, no problem. Everyone would love it.
“THE BALANCE BEAM PRESENTS A WALL OF DOUBT FOR THE AMERICANS.” Whoa, buzzkill. That was way harsh, Tai. Sorry commentators, you were wrong: We rocked the beam! Kyla Ross was a featherweight marvel — and again, it all came down to the chill and confident vibe the Americans had going on the whole night.
I love it when gymnasts get so into the zone that they seem to forget that the tricks they’re attempting are out-of-this-world deadly and dangerous. Aly, too — she was so bouncy and, for lack of a better word, sturdy up there. I can’t stand when some of those flighty wigged-out skeletons on the beam get tortured by each dainty jump. Our girls were like nope, let’s DO this. Jump, jump, jump, just keep moving and you’re done. I actually cranked up my volume to better appreciate the “whoosh!” sound effects of all of Aly’s flourishes.
“She is something else, man. All attack and no fear,” said Tim Daggett.
Finally — an Olympic gymnastics move I can relate to.
While the Americans loosey-gooseyed their way onto the floor, Mustafina and the Russians looked more worried than ever. Luckily, their eyelash weaves remained firmly in place despite the tears, and their hair — still freshly coated from an afternoon training session held in a snow globe full of glitter — was perfect.
Image is everything.
D’oh! Kseniia Afanaseva fell on the floor (which is somehow way more embarrassing than falling on any other apparatus), and Anastasia Grishina failed to complete a tumbling pass, earning only a 12.466. “Was it that bad?” asked Al. “It was catastrophic,” replied Tim, likely licking his lips in delight.
The shiny, unhappy people knew it was over.
I blame the redundant hair clips. 2012, my ass.
NEXT PAGE: Are you weeping yet? Plus, Swimming and Diving