The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

1996 Team Final Watch-Along

This is going to be nightmarish. But, like, in a fun way. Welcome to the 90s.

The 1996 Olympic Team Final, NBCSN, 8:00pm ET.

I WONDER HOW KERRI’S GOING TO DO.

Anyway,

  1. Amy Chow
  2. Dominique Dawes
  3. Shannon Miller
  4. Dominique Moceanu
  5. Amanda Borden
  6. Kerri Strug
  7. Jaycie Phelps

You know, just to set the tone for the evening.

At least we’ve graduated to “teenagers” from “little girls”

“Since then, the US has been the best team in the world.” You’ve skipped some parts.

MARCHING AS TO WAR.

MLT is taking a sun’s out guns out approach to the team final.

The one I identify with most is Kerri’s pit stains.

CHEERING FOR THE US TEAM. I’m sure these KFC lard snouts are already throwing off the Russians how dare they.

Khorkina’s earrings. A moment.

Nadia is THE BUSINESS tonight.

Russia leads the US by a tenth after compulsories, you guys. China didn’t make the final session. You have let down Mo Huilan.

The first rotation will begin with Jaycie Phelps on bars. The US is strong on bars you guys. Soon, they will be bad on it for like 1.75 quads and then we’ll hear about it for the rest of time.

Phelps Jaeger to bail is awesome. She’s one of the classic “you were NEVER this good at any other point” Olympic athletes. You guys she did a double front 1/2 out and didn’t die on it. It’s possible.

9.787 for Phelps and a RUBBER BAND IN HER MOUTH.

Kerri Strug “remember her from the Barcelona Games?” will be a very antiquated sentence in exactly two hours.

Bela doesn’t know a camera is there, you guys. No idea at all. No performing directly to camera.

Khorkina is literally wearing eleventy hundred earrings. She barely wrenched her body to the surface for 9.700 as per usual.

Shannon has chalk in her eye. CHALK. HER EYE.

Moceanu holds onto her DLO 1/1 dismount. Her parents are thrilled! That will be fine! What a happy family!

I don’t miss butt bounces up to high bar.

Some BS score building here. Moceanu’s was the weakest of the first three.

Amy Chow’s Fabrichnova gave birth to you.

Grosheva’s mom’s haircut with a hop forward on her Y1.5.

Some close catches on the releases in this rotation that I have successfully memory holed.

And then everyone sees Nunno and Bela and we dont want to live anymore.

We’re looking at Shannon’s tape and Elfi is RAVENOUS about Roza Galieva’s big fall.

Galieva fell on vault for our sins.

9.787 for Shannon and they’re booing it like a Utah crowd.

I…don’t mind that score for that routine?

“They call her Awesome Dawson.” She had a little arch on her bail and did not stick, which is why her highest score of the rotation was a little…? But also the Dawes Hindorff.

Basically what I’m saying is no scores make any sense, but whatever.

“Yet another face.” Which I guess means Marinescu is on beam.

Romania Hospital Footage! They are competing with ONLY SIX. What a small Olympic team.

Per Wikipedia, Marinescu is currently a DJ. That makes me very happy.

The fact that Romania’s team was entirely made of soup at these Olympics is…sort of relevant.

Marinescu lunged! Romania is over!

Note back in the day, Tim was allowed to say someone non-American was his favorite gymnastics in the competition.

Podkopoayeva successfully adorned in her grandmother’s sofa and it doesn’t matter because Podkopayeva. What I mean is, her leo looks like it smells terrible.

SHE WENT OOOBBBBBB.

Lilia 9.762 with an OOB.

We’re saying it’s relevant now that being in the lead after one rotation is a historic development? We’re tracking this?

Let’s check back in on Amy Chow’s back nose-spring from Trials.

Borden continuing the trend of the best US routine of the rotation going up first…OK maybe not the BEST one but you know…

Elfi’s like, “Amanda may be SUPER BORING but.”

Except that double tuck is never not terrifying, especially from this angle.

Martha gives her a proto-team coordinator neck pinch.

Punch front mounts. BUT I THOUGHT IT WAS TOO RISKY TO MOUNT WITH DIFFICULTY.

If Twitter had existed in 1996 it would have torn Phelps’ bhs leg form to pieces.

I love that we only acknowledge Russia’s existence to show falls. Dolgopolova falls on a Def.

But we need an open-ended code to encourage difficulty.

Kerri…not mounting with a punch front after that…previous unpleasantness. (Aka that time when she missed the entire beam.) Strug also showing us her Karolyi legs on her series.

Tim tries to pretend he knows what a logarithm is.

Our first shot of Mama and Papa Strug. Not the last. Icons of the era.

Tesh is SHOCKED by a music problem. THIS IS UNIQUE AND DRAMATIC.

Should be a full point deduction for using “Hooked on America” at a US Olympics. Same deduction for Moceanu.

You guys we almost missed Dawes beam routine to show a foreign, which would have been unacceptable. Three losos and the deed to the Olympics. Some feets, some crooked splits.

Remember when we were watching 2008 a couple days ago and were supposed to pretend to be SHOCKED by a full in dismount on beam?

THE MILLER.

Elfi using the opportunity of Shannon’s beam routine to praise the national staff for how well they prepared this team.

That dismount should have ensured she didn’t get the score she got, but it’s Shannon beam. Just like it was Dawes beam. But Dawes beam is not as good.

Peggy is SO slicked back. If one strand of hair falls out of place, she will call it fat and stupid.

Moceanu’s 80 series is perfection.

SCHMYOUTHHHHH SCHMYOUTTTHHH

Because we really needed to hear Bela. Because otherwise how would we know whether she won his approval?!?!?

Martha’s butt closeup was a fun part of this routine.

Khorkina pelican-ing all over bars and it’s greatness.

You would hate that straddle on her Shap 1/2 now. I have to admit I don’t.

The US has a half point lead heading into the third event.

Jaycie Phelps was run over by a car on floor. Shame.

I’d take Dominic Zito over these garbage 96 routines any day.

“Named for her parents, Jack and Cheryl” always takes me A WHILE.

Turgulan vaults with a step back and Elfi is writing about it in the Burn Book.

What I’m saying is, these floor routines are not it, but the tumbling is. Mostly.

GROSHEVA almost fell on her mount! It’s PROBABLY THE HAIR.

MLT just shouted “Let’s go Domi” and it def sounded like “let’s go dummy!”

Oh no! They’re worried about the screaming and yelling in America! Those buffalo chunks don’t understand decorum!

Now it’s time for the devil to come down to Georgia.

FOURTEEN YEAR OLDS ACTING LIKE SIX YEAR OLDS.

Meteorologist John Tesh tells us that there’s a 70% chance of Russians falling on beam in this rotation.

The devil went down to Georgia indeed. 9.837 for Moceanu.

Other than the Hills-ing (CLOCKWORK POOP SQUATS FOR THE WIN) Dawes hellllddd onto this routine.

Elfi tells us that we CANNOT QUESTION these scores.

Oh no, Khorkina has to do good anger beam. I wonder if she’ll do it…

Khorkina is unusual, you guys.

The snaps on her own beam salute is a starring moment.

Many say Shannon is the most talented gymnast here. Also this floor routine never causes problems.

That DLO will never not kill me. She also had to wrench around another pass in there. Sigh.

Amanda gives Shannon the “it’s OK we can drop your score” pat. My how the tables have turned.

It was the “first real, physical error.”

So glad we have Nunno on mic complaining that the judges are trying to ruin America. Because that sounds logical.

Elfi appropriately tells us that Shannon’s floor is too high.

And now, Kerri Strug presents “Pee Everywhere, Throw It in the Air” an interpretive dance.

CHELSEA CLINTON IS THERE.

It’s a given! The US would need four falls on vault! It will never come close to that!

Jaycie Phelps does her Tsuk layout 1/2 with lovely form in the air and a lunge forward that, if it had been Russian, would have been disastrous.

“He’s coaching Jaycie” Tesh says of Bela.

Great great.

“By the way, this is the Phelps.” WTC goes HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Amy Chow does the most difficult vault. It’s a Yurchenko with TWO twists.

Chow does a Yurchenko half instead of the DTY for her first vault, potentially because the vaulting horse was a death trap. Just spitballing here.

Hits the DTY second vault with a lunge to the side.

Shannon will now be vaulting and also hits a Y layout 1/2 like it’s that one NCAA season where it was worth more than a full.

I miss Shannon’s 1992 FTY.

She goes for a Y1.5 second vault with the sideward lunge directly into ATTENTION FOR NUNNO.

Awesome Dawson with easily the best 1.5 form we’ve seen.

Now it’s almost impossible for Russia to catch the US!

Moceanu just has to hit! She didn’t!

Elfi makes a word salad about how her fall has nothing to do with Dominique’s injury, but has to do with her lack of training time.

which has to do with her injury…

Moceanu falls for a second time. NBC telling us that the US needs scores in the 9.7s. It turned out…not so much.

Jaycie giving Dominique some good “fuck this shit” face.

Bela giving her “straight to the abattoir!” face.

Strug parents. CLAP CLAP CLAP CHOP CHOP CHOP.

Kerri so distraught by her fall that she saltued 16000 times.

Bela’s ready to assure her that she can do it, being a medical doctor who had just examined her and all.

SHE KNOWS WHAT TO DO. SHE WILL GO WHEN SHE IS READY.

AND SHE DID IT ON ONE (two) LEG.

“Probably the last thing she should have done is vault again.” Hmmmm.

Did they cut That Guy out of the rebroadcast? Or could you never not really see him?

The best thing to do when someone is injured is to swarm around them!

The Russians are in tears. It’s the screaming Americans fault.

Kerri gets carried out and everyone else on the team is like I’M THE WIN.

Bold choice for Papa Strug to come dressed as Colonel Sanders.

Bela takes a while to be 1.5 percent concerned after Prize Horse won the Prize Horse Award and then waves to the crowd for his victory.

Thrilled that he gets to carry her out.

Let’s all play “guess what her tears are about”

Bela and Martha talking to each other about “the last time.” You teases.

“I’m getting a medal with no pants on.” – Kerri Strug

We didn’t really get a chance to talk about the sister wives who presented the flowers in this medal ceremony.

Kerri MIGHT not know the words. I think she said “rockets red blair” but I cannot be sure of that.

“Don’t forget Kerri!” as they drag club-foot off the podium.

Kim was some “it should have been MEEEEEEEE”

Beth Ruyak shoving a microphone in Kerri’s face to ask, “what’s it like to have the voice of a teeny baby cricket?”

So it’s all fine, and this is why gymnastics is what it is.

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