Tag Archives: Gymnastics

Awesome Olympic Names: Spotlight on Epke Zonderland

For the third installation of awesome London 2012 athletes and their names, Epke Zonderland joins fellow Team Holland athlete Ranomi Kromowidjojo on the list.

Zonderland’s awesome appellation should be familiar to avid Olympic followers—yesterday he took home the gold for men’s high bar competition with epic panache. Plus, he’s kind of adorable, seems entirely affable,  and he’s studying to be a doctor.

Zonderland came to the London 2012 games as an individual gymnastics competitor for the Netherlands, after his country did not qualify to send an entire men’s team for gymnastic competition. He is a high bar and parallel bars specialist who had not been training for the full line-up of apparatuses in men’s gymnastics; however, in order to participate in these Summer Games, Zonderland had to get himself ready in all necessary skills for competition in the individual all-around field.

[That video got taken down, but you can see another version here.]

He is now the first Dutch gymnast to medal at the Olympics—and it’s gold.

So that’s intense. And awesome.

Oh, and let’s all feel free to refer to Epke Zonderland as “The Flying Dutchman.”


So there you have it, Epke is the Flying Dutchman, and Ranomi is the Flying Dutchwoman.



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Social Media Olympic Things

Let’s start with this utterly adorably, endearing ukulele cover of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” by Aussie diver Matthew Mitcham. I die.

Then, an early to appear Tumblr for the London 2012 Games: Abs. Just abs. Of Olympic caliber.

McKalya Maroney’s scowl has also made its claim to fame in “McKayla is NOT Impressed”.

Fair enough.

Also from gymnastics, we have Danell Leyva’s towel’s Twitter. 

It is a lovely towel, and apparently it does not smell all ranky. He washes it.

So you know, it’s all happening.

All the time.

Happy Olympics.

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Random Things Round-up: It’s Been A Week in London

Did you know that apparently the men’s basketball uniforms for Team USA are made out of recycled plastics water bottles somehow? Apolo Ohno was also surprised, in this video documenting his first trip into an Olympic gift shop. Spoiler: he puts on a biking unitard, but he can’t quite bring himself to try the tiny speedo situation.

By the way—be jealous—I have pins from the Barcelona and Albertville games. I have duplicates of a few, in case you want to make an offer.

Never mind, they’re priceless.

In regards to other winter Olympians, NBC is really cashing in on any cult of personality they can snag, including Shaun White who apparently does not excel at fencing, but just wanted to clarify, “I’m obviously not competing, I’m just enjoying everything.”  He does, however, think that Gabby Douglas is super inspiring, as established in a really clumsy non sequitur towards the end of Friday’s primetime coverage. He also vaguely remembers training on a trampoline as a child. So, there’s that.

Have you ever noticed how the news crew are always talking to the Dutch? It’s totally because a) they all speak perfect English and excel at life, and b) they’re easy to pick out, wearing all the orange. Also, in case you are planning a trip to future Olympics, know that Holland House has been the hit of every games since those last same-year Olympiads in 1992 (Barcelona and Albertville); this year, guests hoping to party Dutch-style apparently have to book tickets in advance online.

And, in case you were wondering what the Olympics are about, Stephen Colbert has the definitive answer: “Making little foreign girls cry.”

I mean, one thing at which the Russian lady gymnasts really dominate is expressing a sense of utter, devastating tragedy impending around every corner.

Viktoria Komova, I’m sorry Gabby Douglas made you cry.

Aliya Mustafina, your name makes me want to hiss “Mufasa,” all the time. I’m also sorry about that. Sort of.

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Seth Meyers Addresses Dressage, Mitty, & the Perks of Being an NBC Employee

In a refreshing break from having to actually listen to any of the NBC commentators (aside from Bob and Mary, who are—obviously—delightful), Seth Meyers stopped by the studio this afternoon for a little post Dressage commentary, among other hilarious things.

Meyers declared, “I have Olympic fever and I think in the daze of Olympic fever, I  somehow got Shanghaied into being here [in the studio],” for his usual fee of a turkey sandwich. Apparently the catering at the NBC London studio is not great, because the actual anchor clarified, “a dry turkey sandwich.”

Of course, given the state of affairs at NBC, it might be considered pretty generous that they can offer an appearance fee to one of their own. When asked about how he came to be in London, Meyers said, “Well look, we’ve worked for NBC for a long time and at some point you have to say, like, I’d like to go to the Olympics.” And apparently as long as you’re willing to stop by on your way to a beach volley ball match, NBC will make that happen for you.

I want to work at NBC.

Meyers on Women’s Gymnastics & Becoming an Expert

“It’s so exciting… If you spend two hours at women’s gymnastics live you feel like a full expert… You’re like, ‘Oh that’s a double Arabian, that’s no small thing… That’s an execution deduction!'”

I feel you Seth. I, too, am a gymnastics expert based on three years of childhood participation and a couple of evenings of wondering if there are any teams other than the Americans, Russians and Chinese.

Meyers on the Badminton Scandal

First of all, you have to excuse the coaches and players, because they probably were not aware that anyone would be watching, as they are playing badminton, ““They did not realize that you guys [at NBC] have a million hours of coverage.”


“You just realize, like as a coach ,if you’re ever going to ask your players to throw a game, you have to practice throwing a game.” This made the entire studio laugh. Including the people who are being paid to be quiet behind the scenes.

Meyers on Dressage and How Rich Mitt Romney Is

“Mitt couldn’t be distancing himself enough from this horse… When you say [during the Brian Williams interview]: ‘I don’t quite know what my wife’s horse is doing in the Olympics,’ that is the longest way to say ‘You have no idea how rich I am.’”

“You should be able to embrace the fact that your wife’s horse is in the Olympics, and people shouldn’t be able to use it against you, like I just did—but I hold myself to a different lower standard.”

Meyers on Appropriate Patriotism & Team USA Support

“I’m rooting for Rafalca [the Romney horse]… Well look, we’re Americans and we have to root for all our American athletes—even horses with super foreign names.”


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Magenta for the Win: Gabby Douglas


First of all, hold the phone, the definitive photographic moment of the games has already been called by the experts at Deadspin (although today that was followed up by a yet another declaration of photographic awesomeness on Gawker). Imagine what will happen in the next week. I love declaring bests before all the results are in.

Personally, I’m a fan of this clearly authentic photo moment, tweeted by Danell Leyva’s Towel. I hope that his towel continues to tweet. I also hope that people all over the world are scouring Bed, Bath & Beyond type stores looking for that exact towel.

If you want to get serious about analyzing Douglas’s balance beam prowess, the New York Times has obligingly provided this graphic guide (this is just one tiny bit of it).

If a rant about Olympic gymnastic coverage on NBC is more your speed (and let’s face it, the commentary hasn’t even been entertaining, much less actually good), here’s a pretty ranty rant from Deadspin: Fake, Jingoistic, And Stupid: Gymnastics Coverage is the Worst Part of NBC’s Olympics.

Also, in case you didn’t know, Douglas’s mother’s family is from “Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana” (points to whoever gets that reference), and figured prominently on the local Chicago news last night.

And, in the spirit of contrariness, I am just going to come out and say that I prefer Aly Raisman’s floor routine style to Douglas’s. Sorry.

Plus, check out those back muscles!

One more bit of infos, if you are interested in becoming an expert not only in gymnastics but on the topic of leotards: everything is explained here.

This is only an iota of the knowledge to be gained:

What do you wear underneath a leotard?

Some people wear briefs, some people don’t. Some people wear a body liner.

What’s a body liner?
A body liner is kind of like an undergarment, like a leotard. I would say briefs are a lot more popular than a leotard unless you’re wearing white, in which case some people like a body liner for a little bit of coverage.”

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