When I was little, I was one of those girls that watched the ’96 Olympics and was all…
My sister, a neighborhood friend, and I even went so far as to construct our own “gym” in our basement, so we could be the gymnasts. Granted, by this point, I was already 9 years old, and probably way past my gymnastic training prime, but that didn’t stop us from faking it. We used an old couch as the balance beam, the big square of carpet as the floor routine, and jumped off a coffee table for the vault. We even recorded a commentary.
Thus, when this XXX Olympics rolled around and the US women’s gymnastic team was favored to win gold, the little kid inside of me was so effing excited.
I watched the #FabFive win gold in the team.
I watched Gabby Douglas win the all around. And then the individual events happened…
The US team was known for it’s impressive skills on the vault. I kind of wondered if this was because of the whole Strug landing on one foot and winning the gold but ending her career thing. But either way. The US women were known for their vault skills, and none more so than:
She had a near perfect vault during the team finals, but when it came around to the individual event, where she was basically all but promised the gold…
I know everyone knows about this already, since it aired in real time, then NBC time, then was plastered all over the interwebs after that. YES, she fell, but she still won the silver. That seems pretty good, right? Here are my top thoughts on who/what/where/why/when McKayla took silver, and why we all need to calm down about it.
1. Pressure, Pressure, Pressure.
After McKayla fell, the commentators were going on and on and on (and are still going on and on, as when I watched Aly win the floor exercise, they were still talking about this) about how they couldn’t believe she just fell, if there were ever a sure thing in this Olympics, it would be of McKayla winning the gold in vault. That’s a lot of pressure. It’s not enough pressure that you’re in the Olympics. It’s not enough that the entire world has it’s eyes on you. But to have everyone not only want you to win the gold, but to expect it of you??
2. That one moment.
Again, with these commentators. I’m just going to mute the rest of the Olympics and make my own. Maybe I’ll do it in the Kanye voice, directed at whoever is the silver medal winner. It’d be better than listening to Pierre McGuire.
During the team finals, the commentators kept saying over and over how McKayla’s time in the Olympics was this two minutes of vaulting, how she had this moment to show everyone what she could do. And then she stuck that vault and e’rybody freaked out. So, she proved she could do it, right? That was her moment, right? Why do we all need to freak because she had a moment where she couldn’t replicate it?
3. McKayla = not pleased
After all was said and done…nobody focused on the fact that the girl won silver, nobody said how great it was that she’d won a medal. No. It was more about how she’d lost gold. There’s actually a site that someone started: McKayla is not impressed. It’s all about McKayla’s Gold Medal for Bitch face, that she is now famous for making as she stood on the podium with her medal.
Well, kudos for winning silver, you tiny gymnast, you. Even if you fell on your butt, and people are remembering you for falling and your face as opposed to your skills. The point is that you won.
“I didn’t deserve to win gold if I landed on my butt. I’m not disappointed about the silver; I’m disappointed about my performance.”
Well said, little gymnast. Well said.