A Memory With A Double Back And A Twist

We have had the best time watching the Olympics tonight, even though I’m convinced that the scoring system for Olympic gymnastics is loosely based on Bamboozled. In fact, now that I think about it, I’m also pretty sure that Joey Tribbiani would have done a bang-up job as a commentator during the women’s gymnastics team competition.

And as far as swimming is concerned, I also think that Joey Tribbiani would have known better than to imply that Michael Phelps’ relay team members were merely there to hold his cloak while he ascended to his Olympic medal-winning throne. Granted, it is a huge accomplishment and so worthy of recognition, but surely it wouldn’t have killed the post-race interviewer to give the other three guys a little more credit for swimming their hearts out and WINNING A GOLD MEDAL FOR THEIR COUNTRY, MY WORD.

(I know that it’s way more difficult to be an interviewer than I can even imagine.)

(And I would probably wind up saying something profound like, “So. Did you have fun? What did you eat for breakfast today?”)

(But it bothered me that the emphasis was on one person instead of the team since it was a team event and all.)

Anyway, it has been so fun to watch and cheer and shed a few tears, and watching the floor routines tonight reminded me of one of my all-time favorite sports memories. I recorded this routine on a VHS tape back in 1991, and I bet I watched it 300 times.

That’s a conservative estimate, by the way. But it’s so fun to see an athlete at the top of her game – and to hear a crowd that is totally invested in the athlete’s performance. I don’t know what the decibel reading was in that arena that day, but I’m guessing that it was off the charts.

It still gives me chill bumps. Over twenty years later.

And I’m betting that what the Fab 5 did tonight will do the same.


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  1. Merri Jo says:

    Thanks for the memories….AWESOME!

  2. I cried then, I cried now.

    No one, and I mean NO ONE, have brought it with that kind of exuberance since.

    I love the tricks, and understand they have to get more and more difficult, but Kim Zmeskal danced with joy that night. From. her. soul.

  3. I can’t decide if it’s a good or bad thing that I knew what Bamboozled was without clicking the link and before seeing the name Joey Tribbiani. It was kind of like mentally it registered as a real gameshow. Anyway…

    I am super pumped to watch some Olympics. We live overseas and don’t have local TV, which means we aren’t getting to watch any events. The Internets are making it super hard to watch where we are. :( After all the FB comments about gymnastics and swimming (I totally agree, Phelps is a beast but in the case of the relay he pretty much wouldn’t have that medal without his 3 teammates), I told my husband to get to downloading. I need to see it!

  4. 100% agree with you about the post race interview with the relay team – I sat their open mouthed with my husband as I watched her go from person to person about what it felt like to help get Michael the record — WHAAT??? Did I miss something? They swam their little patooties off to give him an unbeatable lead. Shame on her! The only thing that made me feel a little better is that at least Michael seemed to realize that he would not have been standing there at that moment without his team and that 4 body length lead. She’s pretty much been a train wreck since the Olympics started and I have taken to watching her post swim interviews with my hands over my eyes. Major Negative Nellie

  5. My leg hairs just grew from chills! Amazing performance!!

  6. I remember watching that and we just gasped. Our view was from the front and to see her coming at you with those flips just blew my mind. It’s still one of the best in my opinion.
    And way to go Fab Five!! Weren’t they just great?

    Hugs from Minnesota

  7. That clip is AWESOME!

  8. I agree on the post-race interview. (I really, really like Michael Phelps, though…and I think he seemed to make sure the other guys got credit since the interviewer obviously didn’t plan to give them any!) I was also annoyed by how the camera lingered longer on Jordyn Wieber during the National Anthem. Yes, we know it was “shocking” she didn’t make the All-Around competition, and yes, she was “on” last night, but ALL the girls were great and did their part to be #1.

    And Kim’s routine…delightful!!

    (And while I really like the blingy leotards for the USA…part of me wouldn’t hate it if they went retro and wore the leotards sported by the 1984 team. Ha!)

  9. I tee totally agree about Michael Phelps being interviewed to death last night. I mean yeah it’s like great and all but I have a bit more respect for him now that he really kept trying to bring the other guys into the relay equation. I think he even knew without the lead they gave him he couldn’t have anchored that relay to that big of a win. Last night was a spectacular night of Olympic glory I only wish my stupid local station would stop announcing the results during the news!!! Seriously even Brian Williams has the intelligence to tell us to walk out of the room so they can show it on the tv!!!! And that Gabby….she could rule the world with that smile of hers!!!!
    I might also note that all sports could go retro with the clothing EXCEPT the mens water polo team….folks they are just FINE the way they are!!!! GO USA!!!!

  10. Oh my word, I had totally forgotten all about Kim Zmeskal! But I totally remembered THAT routine once I watched your link:) Chill bumps! AND why on earth is Bela not still coaching?? We need more Bela Carolyi!!!!!

  11. I actually saw a news story about one of the women swimmers for the USA, and the headline read, “The Female Michael Phelps?” Are you KIDDING me? Even the women are being compared to him! And I have noticed that reporter’s lack of question-asking skillz too . . . I wonder if the reporting is changing to build factions, etc. a la reality TV? That’s the only explanation I can think of. Blurg.

  12. Um thanks alot. Way to ruin my makeup at 9:00 in the am! ha!

    Love love love Kim Z! And all the other American gymnasts over the years.

    Sob!!! I cried last night too. Soooo awesome!

  13. The woman doing the interviews at the swimming complex is horrible! Yes Andrea Kremer, I’m talking about you. Have you been following Jen Hatmaker’s tweets? Not only are they hilarious, but I’m pretty sure she threatened to cut the woman :)

    Unlike the current woman’s team whose first memories are of the 2004 Olympics (and I’m in my early 30’s so I’m really not that old) I remember that routine of Zmeskal’s and loved it. I wish someone would bring the three whip backs in a row back. Maybe it isn’t as challenging as the new skills, but it just looks so impressive. And props to Kim for not having dinky floor music. I feel like this is where gymnastics could really benefit from change-no MIDI player music allowed ladies!

    Thanks for this!

  14. Makes me cry every. single. time. She just kept going and going and going…

    And Miss Negative Nellie should be “reassigned” to something where lack of kind – and common sense – is not so glaringly aggravating! GO USA!!

  15. Forget the music…you couldn’t even hear it! I remember this like it just happened last night. Love it!

  16. Becky in 'Bama says:

    yes, even my jock, golf loving husband watched every minute of women’s gymnastics and we cheered shamelessly. We laughed at how the women ‘sneak up’ on those corners where they start their monster tumbling/runs. I know they have to encorporate elements to make it all connect, so you can’t just run over to the corner to get ready, but it is a bit comical the different approaches used to get there. Loved that Kim Z. routine. Boundless energy like I’ve never had in my entire life.

  17. I love that you can hear Bela in the background! And yes….I cried:)

  18. Kimberly/OKC says:

    Cried, too. But thanks for sharing…gonna show it to my kids!

  19. Thank you so much for introducing me to the world of youtube gymnastics videos! There goes hours of my life :)

  20. OMG, I SO remember that. And yes, total goose bumps! It’s just so awesome to see. And I also agree about Jordyn, she has talent and grace.

  21. Oh, my goodness. That video made my nose run and my eyes leak.

  22. Has it really been 20 years?? She was my favorite gymnast! I remember watching that as a little girl and being spellbound. I need to do a better job of keeping the Olympics on for my girls.

  23. Don’t know whether to laugh or cry – I saw that you wrote 1991 and then “it’s been over twenty years” and I thought, “Oh, silly Boomama, you mean over 10 years, right? Wait. Oh, DEAR. It HAS been over twenty years. How is that possible?”

  24. Jennifer says:

    Woowee zowee! Until now I had no idea that entire routine had been burned into my brain! And I can’t even remember where I put my car keys most days. Good to know my brain space is used up by far more important–and entertaining–things!

  25. I remember watching that – and my nerdy band geek self had AWESOME respect for athletes – pretty much for the first time ever.

  26. I TOTALLY REMEMBER THIS! I love that you can hear her coach in the background :) And I remember watching it that I would love to make a coach that proud :)

  27. In his defense, I did think Michael kept trying to turn the interview back to a team effort. However, I think that interviewer should be reassigned to weightlifting or archery or just plain fired.
    The best parts of the Kim Zmeskal videos were the judges clapping to the music in the background, her unfettered joy in the dance, the cute little leg extensions and Bela Karoly lifting her to the crowd at the end. I miss me some Bella! Such a joyful heart.

  28. Ahh! Thank you for posting this! My favorite gymnastics moment ever. I wore out my VHS tape. So fun to read how much the rest of you loved Kim too :)

  29. I don’t know how, but I’d totally forgotten that routine. Loved it then, still love it now. I wish the girls had a little more choreography these days…it’s all about the skills which are impressive, but Kim’s routine was just plain fun (and impressive). I think Kim’s routine, Dominique Moceanu’s ’96 Olympic routine (Devil Went Down to Georgia, I think) and Aly Raisman’s performance this year are my all-time favorites (the routine wasn’t the most memorable, but her performance sure was!)