Tears threatening to roll down her cheeks, hands absentmindedly running over the silver medal that was never supposed to be part of her Olympic experience, McKayla Maroney looked lost.
“I really didn’t deserve to win a gold medal if I fall on my butt,” she said. “I was still happy with a silver, but it’s still just sad.”
Not to mention stunning.
The reigning world champion on vault came into the event finals a heavy favorite behind the power of her explosive Amanar, a tricky twisting, turning maneuver that only a handful of gymnasts in the world even attempt.
Maroney has turned it into a personal showcase, her body a study in applied physics. She was so brilliant during the team finals last week — her nearly flawless Amanar kickstarting an American romp to gold — Maroney’s two vaults on Sunday were supposed to the kind of coronation reserved for the Duchess of Cambridge, who was watching from the front row.
In a second, it vanished.
After powering through a solid if not quite spectacular Amanar, Maroney was in the midst of her slightly less difficult second vault when she knew she was in trouble.
Normally so explosive at takeoff, Maroney’s hands never really hit the vaulting table. An eyeblink later her heels smacked the mat and slipped out from under her.
The combined score of 15.083 gave Izbasa just enough room to squeeze past and keep Maroney from bookending the gold she won with the rest of her Fierce Five teammates.
“It happens, it’s gymnastics,” Maroney said. “You can’t be perfect and sometimes things don’t go as you planned.”
President Obama has declared a national day of mourning, including sackcloth, ashes and a few human sacrifices.
Seriously though, does the NBC television coverage of the Olympics suck or what? The print coverage is even worse. I really don’t care that Gabby Douglas’ mom declared bankruptcy earlier this year or that Ryan Lochte pees in the pool. TMI
Would it really be so hard for NBC to show more competition and less talking? How about some kind of posted schedule of events for people that don’t want to sit through the whole four hours of non-coverage just to see one or two performances?
If I didn’t have a remote control I probably wouldn’t have seen any of the Olympics this year. If it weren’t for NBC’s habit of saving the best stuff for last I would have missed even more. What about people who don’t want to stay up late? Why should they have to miss out?
What do you think?