Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Bronze = Win!
I was thoroughly enraptured by the Men’s Gymnastics Team Final last night. Picture me on my couch, a large afghan wrapped around my shoulders, rocking back and forth with nervous energy, a pillow close at hand in case I need to cover my eyes during a particularly stressful routine on the pommel horse. That was my night.
And seriously, who needs The Brothers Hamm?! I sure don’t; not with all this eye candy around. I kind of fell in love with Jonathan Norton a little bit – so compact, so tightly muscled, so happy to be there. I don’t know who the official leader of this team happened to be, but I felt like he was the main motivator – the emotional leader of the crew, at least. His floor routine was magical.
And what about Justin Spring, with that insane high bar routine? Like Jonathan, Justin was consistently good all night long, and he really came through when it counted. Just think, if Paul or Morgan Hamm had been around, we wouldn’t have met these guys. The thought of it makes me sad… and angry. After watching the Chinese robo-perform, I’m not sure if the Hamm brother’s presence would have made a difference in the outcome.
I have to say, though, the Chinese Team was kind of unreal. Based on what we heard about the Chinese gymnastics culture, these guys are true machines. While I admire that kind of discipline and focus, I’m not sure the American culture can cultivate that kind of single-mindedness. From observing, I sensed that the American team just wanted to do well and maybe, just maybe, prove themselves a little bit. Meanwhile, the Chinese Team competed like they had knives at their throats. A part of me thinks the Americans have it right, even if they don’t win gold medals.
I was so thrilled to see how happy and excited the American team was when they clinched the bronze. They could have been disappointed, because up until the last rotation, they had a really good shot at the silver. They had some missteps, of course, but with everything the team went through, and the intimidation factor of facing China at home, winning a bronze medal is a huge W-I-N, and I was gratified to watch them celebrate that - sincerely. Do you think China would have reacted that way if they’d ended up with a bronze? Yeah, I think the Americans have it right.
But I’m not hating on the Chinese, really. They were out of this world. Amazing. Well done and much deserved and all that. And I have EPIC respect for them, considering the level of pressure on them. They competed with great poise and professionalism, and even though they were the obvious favorites, they never gloated or acted “better than”. The Americans should be, and I’m pretty sure they are, honored just to share a podium with them. And really…
Cutest Guy Ever. Yibing Chen, I’m so glad you did well last night. Otherwise, we probably wouldn’t have seen you smile.