Aug 07

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Now That’s Class

If you didn’t see the Men’s individual gymnastics televised yesterday, there will be spoilers.  Don’t read any further if you’re planning on catch up later.  Fair warning.

Last night, like any other night, I watched the Olympics.  There was running, maybe 2 cycling races, a few women’s individual on bars (which, apparently the cranky Russian girls are fine when things go their way), more running, fluff, thankfully no Ryan Seacrest (or if there was we hurried through him), and [WHAT] volleyball.  Around 11:30 I threw in the towel and went to bed.  So much running.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re FAST…they’re super-human fast, and they barely breathe hard after their sprints.  I couldn’t do what they do, but after a few races, they kind of all blend.  So, I went to bed.

About 15-20 minutes later my phone lights up with texts.  I need to get out of bed.  I need to get back to the Olympics….THEY’RE SHOWING RINGS!!!  15 minutes left of the broadcast and they’re showing rings.  Could they have made it any more inconvenient??!!  But I’m up and watching!  They only showed about 3 or 4 routines but I was pretty happy, truth be told.  The sheer power of the rings delights me.  I could never hope to do something like that, and they make it look so easy.  It’s astounding to me.

Up next?  Men’s Vault.  I figure I’m already up, I might as well watch, and I’m so glad I did.  I found a real class act there.  The first vaulter was Sam Mikulak from the USA.  He landed two pretty awesome vaults, which only put him in 3rd place.  With more vaulters to follow (honestly, I can’t remember how many now, 2? 3?) he’s likely not going to medal, yet the guy is all smiles.   Some guy with about 300 names displaces him right away which he is genuinely okay with.  As 300-name guy walks by Sam gives him a big smile and a huge congratulations.  Then, Sam becomes the guy I want all athletes to be like.  Up next is the Korean, Yang Hak-Seon, and right there Sam announces, “I can’t WAIT to see this guy fly!”  He’s like a kid in a candy store.  Hak-Seon’s vaults are so difficult that he could land on his backside and still beat most of these guys’ perfect vaults, that’s the level of difficulty we’re dealing with, and Sam knows it.  He’s absolutely adorable on the sideline waiting for Hak-Seon.  Hak-Seon takes a step on his first vault which doesn’t even matter and he’s practically perfect on his second; he’s won the gold and pushed Sam to spot number 5.  Does it matter, probably, does he show it? NO!  As Hak-Seon walks by, Sam demands a hug and tells him how ridiculous that was and is completely genuine about it.  That?  Is pure classs, honestly!

I’m quite certain things would have been very different if this was a women’s event and if Maroney and/or Mustafina were involved.  Just sayin’.

“I’m happy I went out there today and put two vaults on my feet,” said Mikulak, who kissed the apparatus afterward. “Vault was so good to me today I tried to give it some love back.”

Bravo, Sam Mikulak, Bravo!

After finishing last on the uneven bars I could say the very same thing about Gabby Douglas.  She was all smiles and friendly with those she competed against, immediately congratulating everyone around her.  Well done, guys.  Seriously, well done.


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