Blog 9…Men’s All-around Finals and Preview to the Women!
That was one of the best competitions I have seen, ever. And, I have seen literally hundreds if not thousands. The fight between Kohei and Oleg was amazing. Max did a fantastic job as well, and rightfully earned that bronze. I am beyond proud of the American’s, Chris and Sam. To feel the pressure of even being on the floor with this absolutely astonishing group of 24 men, and to both hit, for the most part, 6 for 6, is, well, great. Summary- CLICK HERE!
Sam ended up being just over a point away from Bronze, two out of bounds on floor (a tenth each), a very low vault landing, and some hops may have been the difference. But, if you take those away, (just like in Euchre if you get four 9’s and a 10, you can switch with the blind), you never know if the other option is any better. It is all about who was a better athlete today, on this day. It is not about who is a better athlete overall. Although, one would think, that pans itself out because if you are good, you don’t need luck, you have consistency. There is a theme here, people…
The motivation that Sam shows on the floor and off is great. He is cheering for everyone, constantly happy, and wants the best for not only himself, but Team USA. A small frustration with him is the mental focus that he just doesn’t have all together yet. How can I say that of a 7th place finisher at the Olympics? Simple. He had not put together 6 for 6 since Olympic Trials in 2012. I mean a bang up 6 for 6. Even last night, there were no “falls” or “major mistakes,” but still… It seems as if the trend is that there is one event that gives way for him. You almost pray that it happens early on in the meet. Because it seems to be the catapult for him refocusing. Almost like it has to happen. He represented well, and gave it all he has. And that is to be commended.
Then there is my friend Chris. Words cannot explain how proud I am of him. I have known him for over 12 years, through his many stages of lifeJ From being a punky kid, to getting to Oklahoma with the amazing coach, Mark Williams, to being, let’s say, uncoachable and ornery for a time, to being lost in where to train and focus in life, to the ramp up to Rio and then… to last night. His story, and what he has been through, is an inspiration to us all. He has shown the world how athletes are after all just people. You can be on top of the world, college scholarship, elite athleticism, family, and still be lost and unfulfilled. Look at the story of Michael Phelps. Maybe not as extreme, but definitely parallel in nature. Chris definitely has strong events (p bar and high bar) and weak ones (pommel horse, and more pommel horse!). But, to hit all 6 last night, and I mean hit… was just simply Karma from the sport that he has given so much to. He ended up 14th. In. The World! An unbelievable feat for an unbelievable guy.
I am so proud as well of my friend Andriy. A coach at Premier, a gym that I take care of back home, we have worked together for years. Advice giving, chatting about injuries, and taking care of local and some of the world's best athletes. He has been an amazing addition to the USOTC staff, and for Chris Brooks, personally. Kudos to you, Andriy.
The sportsmanship that Oleg Verniaiev from the Ukraine showed, second by less than a tenth, is probably the best I have ever seen. The quote from him is priceless.
Again, the men’s program still has some fine tuning to do. We need more repetitions in the gym. They need to sit less, rest less, and work harder. They need to train harder, to build the endurance, to be able to train harder. And they have to want perfection each and every day, and that takes a generation (or at least the culture of the next quad) to change. And it has to come form the top. As you may know, my friend Nancy Armour wrote a piece that has stirred some thinking, opinions on either side, and brought up a topic that is like an elephant in a closet. Read her article, linked, and a response from Kevin as well. CLICK HERE.
Some lighter things now!
- The pool turned green. Yes, folks, green. I saw it with my own eyes. I was there for diving training days before, and then…green. Hearing that it is safe, don’t worry, would make me crazy. Who tested the water? The Organizing Committee. Like the Chinese government “checking” the birth certificates of their own athletes to make sure that they are of age. Irony. Read a great article about that HERE!
- Phelps. What can I say. I got to see him in person today, a consummate professional. It is just astounding how much he has accomplished. To see it live took my breath away. Thanks to my good friend Kathy for a better pic than I got.. I was shaking, and mine turned out horrible!!
- We went to the USA house last night, finally, to hang out with Shannon, who I literally have not seen since being here. Her Hersheys and TV responsibilities and me splitting my time has been nuts!!n As always, a photobomb... thanks JR. The first 8 days of the Olympics are the worst for gymnastics, podium training, qualifications, team finals, AA finals. Then, Finally… a breath! Tomorrow. Just. Get. To. Tomorrow! The USA house is like no other. It is a plush home for Olympians, and VIP’s at the games, to drink, eat, be in a clean environment, and celebrate wins, or actually watch them on a huge TV with US Fans! Here are some pics from being there, can’t wait to go back this weekend.
- The traffic. Oh. My. God. It took me 2.5 hours to get home from Ipanema last night. Everything is blocked off, randomly. Different each day. Sometimes the police know why and sometimes not. The “police” are everywhere, but just do not seem to be coordinated. At. All. I was so fed up that even I stopped talking (through google translator) to the cabbie, and just sat there. Trying to meditate and calm, which just aggravated me even more. WHO in their right mind gave the Olympics to a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY????
- Got to watch some of the meet with Peggy Liddick, Shannon's old coach back in the day, and now head of Gymnastics Australia. Chatting about equipment, athletes, men's difficulty, and so much more.
- Zika. Yep, still have not seen a mosquito. Not a single one.
Tonight is going to be epic. See how epic with a preview HERE. It will be a showdown for sure, potentially a fight for second and third, assuming that Simone runs away with it all, but who knows. Aly is bringing her game on. It will be great to see Mustafina, and to watch the Chinese and if they can put it all together with all of the pressure they are under. Watch for the crowd to go wild for Andrade from Brazil. This will be a showdown that make come down to D scores, or, unlike the difficulty battle for the men, tonight may be all about execution. Steps, chest down, knees, the little things. Back to basics, people, that is how I call it.
And, may the standings show what they show, as the rules are what they are. But, Gabby is not the 25th best athlete here... Period. Remember to read my thoughts about the two per country rule (TPC) and a HUGE article about this in the upcoming Inside Gymnastics Magazine.
Here is a preview of what will be in the commemorative issue, subscribe now to make sure that you get it...
- Karolyi Legacy
- Brooks: The Heart of a Champion
- TPC Rule: How Do We Fix It
- Men's Program: The Quest for the Podium
- In a League of Their Own: Women's World Dominance
- When is Enough, Well, Enough? The Code of Points and Risk vs Reward
- AND SO MUCH MORE!
Subscribe HERE NOW!
A bit of love from home, today, getting to FaceTime with the kids because the internet cooperated, with maybe a little help from Dad up there in the sky)
T minus 3 hours.