Epke Zonderland: Olympic Stud of the Day
Okay, okay. Perhaps I should have picked Aly Raisman as today’s Stud after she nailed that first tumbling pass to win gold in the floor final and took bronze on beam following a scoring controversy. But two things worked against her: That painful studio sitdown with Bob Costas in which she kept insisting she was so excited but never actually looked it (maybe she was understandably exhausted, maybe she’s been media-trained to be that boring), and the fact that there’s just too much stress in women’s gymnastics for anyone to look like she’s actually enjoying herself while competing in the event finals. They’ve all worked years for those few moments and one tiny misstep can cost them their dreams. I get it. But after experiencing the weight of that insane pressure for days as a viewer, I just wanted someone to remind me gymnastics is fun. Enter the Netherlands’ Epke Zonderland.
He’s the first Dutch athlete to ever medal in gymnastics, and it was gold on the high bar. Watch his routine, which had the highest difficulty of any gymnastics routine performed in London (male or female), below. The spectator-shot video not only gives you a great view of his epic three release moves in a row but also of his competitors watching him. Look for Danell Leyva in his gray U.S.A. track jacket on the left…
How awesome is that? Leyva, who finished fifth, and his father/coach did those release moves right along with Zonderland. NBC’s coverage showed that the U.S.’s Jonathan Horton (sixth), who had to follow Zonderland’s stuck dismount, shook Epke’s hand as he passed him on his way to the high bar. Stud!
Also, he reminds me of Owen Wilson.