I can't stop watching this. How in the heck does anyone even figure out that that's humanly possible without first killing herself while practicing?
As a kid, I had dreams of being a vaulter, treating my parents' bed as if were the apparatus. With a long hallway leading up to the bed, I would regularly sprint toward the bed and then flip over it. Essentially, I was doing speedy somersaults on top of a queen sized mattress, but it sure felt like vaulting.
When I got running fast enough before the dismount, I felt particularly airborne, even though it was barely true. The goal was always to stick the landing firmly on both feet, but it was actually much more fun on the occasions when I bounced into the wall or fell on my face. The thrill of vaulting - or my version of it anyway - was the fear from that momentary loss of control.
If only I had kept practicing… that could have been me competing at the Olympics. I've got to know, though: do all gymnasts have squeaky high-pitched voices? I remember that used to be the fun way to mock Kerri Strug, but it seems like the whole team is trying to emulate her with their ridiculous voices. Teenagers don't talk like that, unless that's the side effect of stunting your body through constant unhealthy workouts. Or maybe helium is the sport's performance enhancing drug and the reason for how that vaulter can float so high in the air.
And yes, I cheered for team USA tonight. I wanted to try rooting for another country to challenge my own ingrained patriotism, but it's an awful urge to contend with. How do you support a Russian, Romanian, or Chinese person? Name one memorable pop culture character who has one of those nationalities that isn't super evil. I don't want to continue that association, but I would still look at the competition and think, "Oh, that Russian bitch!" even though I knew nothing about her. Really, she's just a sixteen-year-old athlete, but I can't shake the feeling that there must be something inherently awful about her anyway. I really need to decolonize my mind… maybe I can vault it out.