Monday, August 6, 2012

Silver: The First Loser?

Like the rest of the country, I've jumped on the Fab Five bandwagon. I've been getting to know these girls since the Trials, following them on Twitter and Instagram and just loving their exuberance. They are quintessential teenagers...all sparkles and smiles, their tweets punctuated with OMGs and emoticons. They're pretty, hard working, and talented. What's not to love?

But that bubble gum charm popped last night as we watched McKayla Moroney lose what she clearly thought was rightfully hers: The gold medal in the vault. Yes, she was the best vaulter of them all. Yes, she soars higher over that thing than anyone else on the planet. But she landed smack on her butt on her second attempt. And that, my friends, does not a gold medal make.

Did she feel like she was gipped? That the judges low-balled her score? That her vault was more difficult, so she should still get the gold? Whatever it was, McKalyla was mad. Mad enough to go from teen queen to ice queen the second she stepped off that mat. I wanted to feel sorry for her. I wanted to see her shed some tears and bury her head in the shoulder of her all-too touchy feely coach. But after watching her morph into a Mean Girl who could not even offer a phony "congrats" to the much appreciative Romanian winner, I could only think that this "champion" needs to learn a lesson in losing.

Granted, the girl is 16. Gymnastics is her life. We put so much emphasis on getting the gold that silver becomes some sort of consolation prize. So who can really blame McKayla for letting her emotions fly? I'm sure that in a few years (heck, maybe even in a few days), she'll realize it's pretty freaking cool to go to the Olympics, period, yet alone take home two medals. And then she'll be able to see the, uh, silver lining in her London experience.

1 comment:

  1. Sarah I had a same reaction. I felt awful for McKayla at first, but then when she started acting up, I wanted someone to slap some sense into her and tell her to practice good manners! Unfortunately in this one moment she epitomized exactly what older generations criticize younger generations for, especially millennials. It's the sense of entitlement with a touch of narcissism. We see it in the workplace all the time (example: can I manage this project? Um no, you're 18 and an intern). Luckily, Missy Franklin helped balance out all the sour-pussed McKayla Moroneys out there in London 2012.