[Image: Flickr user: The White House]
From 2012 London Olympics: The First 9 Days, one of 62 photos. U.S. gymnast Gabrielle Douglas performs on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women’s individual all-around competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, on August 2, 2012. Douglas went on to win the Gold medal in the event. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
You know in your heart that Gabby Douglas is the most amazing high-flying hero Olympic gymnastics champion, maybe ever. But you need to understand it with your head, too, with a rational and objective analysis of her talent through GIFs.
Of all the strange things that happened at the men’s team gymnastic finals last night, perhaps the strangest was the sight of a Japanese coach approaching the judges while holding a stack of cash while arguing that they had gotten a decisive call wrong. As the competition wrapped up, the British team thought they’d won an astounding silver medal, only to have it taken away minutes later following the appeal by the Japanese team delegation. It seems there was some sort of scoring error that the judges corrected after viewing playback of Kohei Uchimura’s dismount from the pommel horse. These things have happened before and they’re always surprising, but for the viewer at home, seeing a stack of hundies involved was, as Mitt Romney would say, disconcerting. Especially when Olympic judges do not have a perfect ethics record. Turns out, though, this money exchange was all on the up and up.
Read more. [Image: NBC]
You’ve met your American gymnastics heroines, now it’s time to understand their mortal enemies. Allow us to introduce to you the women’s gymnastics bad guys, in GIFs.
Aliya Mustafina is the 2010 world champion, and she was expected to own the Olympics until she tore her ACL last year. She’s a fan favorite for her style and competitiveness — at 2010 worlds, she reassured her coach, “Don’t worry, I will win.”
You can see the fan love by the many gifs dedicated to her game face, or as it is admiringly called on the gymternet, her “bitchface”:
Gymnastics is one of those Olympics sports that lots of people watch every four years, meaning whatever happens during the competition is exciting and surprising but also confusing. Who are these women? Which one is the underdog? The veteran? Who is good at what thing? How can I tell when a flippy thing was good? Relax. Let the expert fans at The Atlantic Wire explain.
The Underdog: Gabby Douglas. Douglas is perfect for the underdog role — bubbly personality, amazing backstory. (She left her family in Virginia Beach to train in Iowa, and her father was deployed to Afghanistan last year.) Expect a lot of sappy NBC mini-bios scored with melodramatic piano music to focus on Douglas. (These are called fluffs on the gymternet.) Douglas only became a star in the last few months, and won the Olympic trials Sunday night.
What she’s good at: Douglas is technically strong on all the events, but she shines on bars. She’s most known for this, called a piked Tkachev, as seen in this image via the excellent Tumblr Gymnastics GIFs. It’s good because she gets such incredible height.
And she also pirouettes beautifully like this:
And when she won trials, she celebrated by doing the Dougie, via Aaron Meier: