By Annie Barrett
August 01, 2012 at 09:36 AM EDT

You better be wearing your hair in a messy bun right now (conditions permitting) in honor of Team U.S.A.’s Fab Five — Gabrielle Douglas, Alexandra Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Kyla Ross, and McKayla Maroney. I don’t know about this Fab Five nonsense. They’ve always been the Spice Girls to me. Always. For like three days now. In Olympic years, that’s an eternity.

Get ready to relive this tape-delayed event yet again via a bunch of crappy photos I took with my iPhone!

This was no nail-biter, not in the slightest. Basically the silver-medalist Russians kept messing up and the Americans didn’t. Romania and China (third and fourth place) competed in a separate rotation and, at least on NBC primetime, were pretty much nonentities in terms of posing a possible threat to America’s soiled scrunchies.

As a result, what we witnessed was five miniature young women at the top of their game having the time of their lives and SMILING. This was by far the smiliest team gymnastics final I can remember. (And unlike these toddlers, I can remember a LOT.) Usually everyone’s moping around in a solemn state of dread/self-loathing/hunger/whatever and the tension is almost unbearable. You end up watching for people’s mistakes instead of their triumphs. Same with figure skating. It’s thrilling in its way — and I’m sure the individual all-around will have tons of dread for me to enjoy from my couch — but last night I was just excited and happy for these tiny teens who were laughing, breathing, doin’ well, drinkin’ water. It looked so easy! I know it’s not EASY. But it felt like a breeze. Cover Girl.

Rovio Animation

I wonder if the girls had just heard commentator Al Trautwig say “But they are sturdier….” [than the Russians].

Jordyn, Gabby, and McKayla — my latest obsession since she is totally the Posh Spice of the Fierce Five — launched USA to an early lead on the vault. All three were spectacular! Jordyn’s mood completely shifted once she’d stuck a landing, and I’ve never seen a Spice Girl fly so high as McKayla.

Rovio Animation

It was during Gabby’s vault that I started to truly believe that the hundreds of sparkles giving the gymnasts the illusion of V-neck leotards were actually responsible for propelling them to greatness.

I can’t possibly describe McKayla’s vault (all three did the same one, but hers was just HOLY F—) in a technical way so I’ll just mention I rewound it at least five times.

Guess which one was my favorite judge?

I know you’re all wondering about Aly Raisman’s crazy parents. NBC kept tonight’s Fam Cams to a minimum — and when they did check in on Mr. and Mrs. Back Spasm, they seemed to deliberately be laying low.

Barry Brecheisen/WireImage

Quit behaving, you two!

Optical illusion: It looked like top Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina did a really good twisty vault, but upon a closer inspection, Tim and Elfi diagnosed her with club feet or something. The Russians scored highly on bars (15.7s) but then again so did we! Really? “We?” I’m identifying with the GYMNASTS of all people? Just the thought of possessing enough core strength to do a simple back pullover on the low bar makes me want to pass out.

One thing I love about the uneven bars — besides Gabby Douglas’ insanely high releases — is how each gymnast pantomimes her entire routine beforehand with just her shoulders, and a stone cold face. I could just start doing that at my desk, no problem. Everyone would love it.

“THE BALANCE BEAM PRESENTS A WALL OF DOUBT FOR THE AMERICANS.” Whoa, buzzkill. That was way harsh, Tai. Sorry commentators, you were wrong: We rocked the beam! Kyla Ross was a featherweight marvel — and again, it all came down to the chill and confident vibe the Americans had going on the whole night.

Ross Gilmore/Redferns via Getty Images

I love it when gymnasts get so into the zone that they seem to forget that the tricks they’re attempting are out-of-this-world deadly and dangerous. Aly, too — she was so bouncy and, for lack of a better word, sturdy up there. I can’t stand when some of those flighty wigged-out skeletons on the beam get tortured by each dainty jump. Our girls were like nope, let’s DO this. Jump, jump, jump, just keep moving and you’re done. I actually cranked up my volume to better appreciate the “whoosh!” sound effects of all of Aly’s flourishes.

“She is something else, man. All attack and no fear,” said Tim Daggett.

Finally — an Olympic gymnastics move I can relate to.

While the Americans loosey-gooseyed their way onto the floor, Mustafina and the Russians looked more worried than ever. Luckily, their eyelash weaves remained firmly in place despite the tears, and their hair — still freshly coated from an afternoon training session held in a snow globe full of glitter — was perfect.

Getty Images

Image is everything.

Kevin White; Lauren Dukoff

D’oh! Kseniia Afanaseva fell on the floor (which is somehow way more embarrassing than falling on any other apparatus), and Anastasia Grishina failed to complete a tumbling pass, earning only a 12.466. “Was it that bad?” asked Al. “It was catastrophic,” replied Tim, likely licking his lips in delight.

The shiny, unhappy people knew it was over.

Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

I blame the redundant hair clips. 2012, my ass.

NEXT PAGE: Are you weeping yet? Plus, Swimming and Diving

It was our time to shine — not from our scalps, but straight through our SOULS. “Could you go for a knockout blow if your opponents were sobbing?” asked Al. Sure could, Al! Let’s do this.

Robert Voets/CBS

The U.S. only needed to average a 13.433 on floor in order to win gold. I loved Jordyn Weiber’s Cheshire Cat grin once she’d hit her first tumbling pass, HARD. Girl’s landing was like an instructional video on how to land, with the triumphant arms over the head, etc. “She may be going from the abyss to the mountaintop,” offered Al, clearly gearing up for a late-night existential crisis back in his hotel room.


Greg Gayne/Fox

No just kidding, that was during warmups. Aly Raisman landed on her head (so it’s not some newfangled fancy somersault that you could also not pull off) while trying a tumbling pass and decided to remove that trick from her routine. Hell, she only needed a 10.234 to win team gold. She could have done the Dougie while re-sculpting her hair into another aggressively messy bun. A missed opportunity.

Everett Collection


Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

We never did see Aly’s score on the teevee, and for a few minutes it seemed like the Spice Girls wouldn’t get to see it either. (It was 15.300.) Aly looks like she’s about to 1-800-CUT-A-BITCH here. Another missed opportunity?

But it was worth the wait!

Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

You may now eat the prize.

Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

You like that? I bet you like that.

The end.



Michael Phelps became the Most Decorated Olympian of All Time, so obviously he’s our Olympic Stud of the Day. After getting out-touched (his own move!) by South African total cutie Chad le Clos in the 200M Fly and winning gold in the 4×200 Free Relay along with Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer, and Ricky Berens, Phelps has now won 19 Olympic medals. It’s a prime number!

Bob Costas did a special satellite interview with Phelps about his new title. Not to be outdone at the Olympics, the leader of the free world — or maybe his dog — took to Twitter to congratulate the merman.


I think that was it for the men. Oh no wait — they showed a few semifinals and this guy Cesar Cielo kept beating his own chest and then looking guilty about it.

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

So good for him.


Meanwhile, Allison Schmitt blew away the rest of the field (including teammate Missy Franklin) in the 200 Freestyle final — picking up her first Olympic gold and a new Olympic record!

Look at these two. Just seething with congeniality.

Our female swimmers are just so lovely, aren’t they? Like, as humans? They’re always making new best friends in the backstage bullpen, only to turn around and annihilate them in the water. There I go again with the possessive plural. Aren’t we awesome? I can’t wait for my next event in the aquatic center (back pullovers on the lane lines).

USA’s Caitlin Leverenz picked up a bronze in her first-ever Olympic event, the 200 IM. Yes! Australia’s Alicia Coutts placed second and Ye Shiwen, a Chinese 16-year-old caught up in a really freaking vague doping controversy, got the gold. Also in this race was a local favorite named “Hannah Miley.” British people are hilarious.


China reigned supreme in the Synchronized 10M Platform Final, followed by Mexico and Canada. The men’s synchro springboard is tomorrow. So basically I have until then to track down some of these special Olympic diving viewing glasses.

Check back tomorrow for more NBC Primetime Olympics coverage.

In the meantime, can anyone answer today’s puzzle?

Exactly WTF was going on with Conor Dwyer’s see-through suit?

Follow @EWAnnieBarrett

Read more:

What is your damage, London Olympics? (Vol. 1)

Olympics recap, Day 3: U.S. Men’s Gymnastics melts down

Olympics recap, Day 2: Vollmer strikes gold, Jordyn Wieber stumbles

Olympics recap, Day 1: The Fall of Michael Phelps

What is your damage, Ryan Lochte’s grill?