I remember hearing once that some Olympians will go into a depression after the Games. Why? After finally achieving their goals, they can’t escape the overwhelming sense of what now? I wonder if viewers can experience that, too… I’ve spent so many hours watching swimming in the last week that when I go to turn off the air conditioner in the wall just above my bed in the morning, my right arm actually swings around to tap the off button as if I were finishing the 100M free. Though NBC did its best to keep the feel-good Phelps-story alive on Sunday (I’m convinced the network will now track down the kids who bullied him when he was younger), I was definitely feeling a bit of a letdown.
The equestrian team jumping event, aired in the afternoon, provided a few awe-inspiring moments — how high are those jumps and how awesome is it that Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa rides a horse named Rufus? But it was as though the evening broadcast wanted to break my spirit. Two of the favorites on the men’s floor, Romania’s hunky Marian Dragulescu and Brazil’s inconsolable Diego Hypolito, sat down. Alicia Sacramone finished fourth on the vault (cue uncomfortable scoring rant by Bela Karolyi). Alexander Artemev fell off the pommel horse and ended his fairytale. Shawn Johnson took silver on floor (okay, that’s not so bad), and China’s Cheng Fei left the mat in tears. Over at the Bird’s Nest, native Kenyan Bernard Lagat, now competing for the U.S., didn’t even make into the 1500M final, and China’s 110M hurdler/hero Liu Xiang had to withdrawal with an injury.
Luckily, I got a morale-boost from 21-year-old sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser (pictured), who led a Jamaican sweep in the 100M and celebrated accordingly. It looked like she passed out, but no, she just collapsed with her back on the track, put the flag over her face, and kicked her feet in the air. After so much heartbreak, it was nice to see pure joy. (See also: China’s men’s badminton champ, Lin Dan, a.k.a. “Super Dan” to Bob Costas, who threw his racket and sneakers into the stands when he took gold.)
Now it’s your turn: Nominate your own Olympic Stud of the Day* — or second ours — below. (Then click here to check out our winning Studs from the previous days in Beijing.)
* Not just a man or woman who turns us on. (Necessarily.)