August 19, 2004

U-S-A! U-S-A!

If you missed the men's all-around gymnastics competition, go find someone who taped it. It was an incredible show.

After all the hype, it looked like Paul Hamm was out of his gold medal run when he made the most spectacular fall I've ever seen on the vault: he landed off-kilter, took a couple sidewise steps off the mat, still couldn't pull it out and fell right on his keister a few inches from the judges' table. With the gold so tightly contested, his 9.1 shoved him down into 12th place after four rotations, with just two rotations to go.

In the fifth rotation, the two remaining top medal contenders managed to make errors of their own, while Hamm gave a spot-on performance on P-bars that brought him into distant medal contention.

In the sixth rotation, he was to be the very last competitor, on the high bar. Going into the thing it was known that he needed at least a 9.6-something just to medal, with a minimum of 9.825 to get the gold everyone had once thought his due. And there had only been one or two 9.8+ scores awarded in all the qualifying, team, and all-around rounds so far, so that was pretty unlikely.

Paul Hamm jumped up there and did his high bar routine. It was perhaps not the most spectacular routine ever, but he just didn't do anything wrong. His legs were together, he was hitting his handstands, and his dismount was nearly a perfect stick. And he got a 9.837. I was sitting here in my apartment cheering out loud; he didn't even believe it when his teammates told him he got it.

Definitely the most dramatic gymnastics competition I remember seeing!

"I have found that all ugly things are made by those who strive to amek something beautiful and all beautiful things are made by those who strive to make something useful." --Oscar Wilde

Posted by blahedo at 4:08am on 19 Aug 2004
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