I had to – they rhyme! And, of course, both Americans won gold. Dawn Harper (left) staged a huuuuuge upset over fashionably bespectacled U.S. teammate LoLo Jones in the 100-meter hurdles – a win seemingly most shocking to Dawn herself. Mentor Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s words of encouragement to Dawn (via email) rang especially true: “It’s anyone’s race on that day.” But, aggggghhhh, that footage of Jones (possible long-lost sister of Rashida?) taking a private moment against the stadium wall, with only her crushed dreams and a herd of camera crews to keep her company, damn near broke my heart. I almost wanted to give her Stud distinction just for holding it together for a post-race interview (“I could feel the gold around my neck!”)
Meanwhile, gymnast/dynamite stick Shawn Johnson (right; nicknamed “Minnie Mouse” by the Chinese) finally earned a gold of her own – in the individual balance beam final – to add to her three silvers from Beijing. I’m not sure what made me cry harder – watching Shawn’s parents’ weepy embrace in the stands, or the ever-composed Shawn herself during the national anthem. I seriously don’t understand how these impossible creatures don’t totally lose it as a song plays JUST FOR THEM in front of the WORLD. Why am I crying and they’re not?! The question only makes me cry even harder, every time. This, friends, is why I am Not Olympic Material.
Honorable mentions abound: Canadian springboard diver (and way hotter version of Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick) Alexandre Despatie picked up a silver last night, which I realized in between obligatory DVR pauses to count the ripples on 4 percent body fat-boaster Troy Dumais’ 20-pack. Great Britain track star Christine Ohuruogu astounded fans of U.S. armwarmer queen Sanya Richards by pulling ahead in the straightaway portion of the women’s 400-meter final to win gold. 34-year-old Russian cutie Dmitry Sautin endured countless commentator references to his ancientness to (probably) wrap up his own diving career, while the amazing He Chong continued the China-Only streak of gold medals in diving. And I know a lot of you tire of all the volleyball coverage, but as a former ‘baller I must geek out for a moment: Indoor setter Linsday Berg absolutely ruled games 4 and 5 of the U.S.’ match against Italy, jump-serving aces all over the place and finally utilizing her middle blockers (holla!) to score the U.S. a spot in the quarterfinals – they’ll next face the scary-awesome power attackers from Cuba. And, um, let’s talk about chicks, man (chicks, man)… Italian outside hitter Francesca Piccinini: Are. You. Kidding me? (I will be her in another life!)
Oh, and granted it was only the semis, but U.S. runner Wallace Spearmon gets a special shout-out for jokingly wagging his tongue at showboaty Jamaican runner Usain Bolt during their heat. (SPOILER ALERT: This just happened in today’s final.)
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.)