“The game was on Hope’s birthday, so we thought she needed some fun. Abby proposed that Hope would do the worm if anyone on our team scored. With the possibility of a worm-dancing goalkeeper in our future, the mood was light when we hit the field at Old Trafford. Abby scored in the 25th minute. Sure enough, Hope dropped to the ground and did the worm! Christie Rampone joined in, and we all grabbed hands and did a little worm wave with our arms. It was hilarious, and it brought us all together in the same way making those snow angels had done years before.” – Alex Morgan, “Breakaway - Beyond the Goal”.
Why does no one remember when Keith Moon had a letter wrote to him by the 2012 London Olympic committee asking to perform at the opening ceremony? The letter was wrote in complete seriousness. His manager responded by saying:
‘Unfortunately, Mr Moon is not available for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics as he currently resides in (name of cemetery). He has been there since 1978. If however, you really require him to play, I suggest you conduct a seance.
This is the first post in a series I’ve decided to start that explores just how stacked the Olympic and World event finals have been in the past (I may extend it to all-around finals later, but that requires a TON more work). I won’t be doing them in order, but if there’s one you would like me to do, request it and I’ll bump it up!
NB: This will ignore team results, as much more goes into a team placing than what one can achieve on a floor routine.
To start off, we’ll have a look at the 2012 Olympic floor final, probably one of the most stacked event finals in recent years. Our top eight finalists, in order of qualifying, were:
Looking at titles, it’s already clear this final was incredibly masterful and competitive on this apparatus. We had:
- The last two Olympic Champions; Ponor (2004 Athens), and Izbasa (2008 Beijing) - The last two World Champions; Mitchell (2010 Rotterdam), and Afanasyeva (2011 Tokyo) - Two former World all-around champions; Ferrari (2006 Aarhus), and Mustafina (2010 Rotterdam) - The current reigning World all-around champion; Wieber (2011 Tokyo)
The only gymnast who had never held a major title on floor or in the all-around was Aly Raisman, who inevitably went on to win the Olympic title and add her name to the glowing list of finalists.
Titles aside, these eight girls had other pretty impressive credentials coming into the final. Let’s take a look:
Aly Raisman - World bronze medallist on floor, 2011 Tokyo.
Sandra Izbasa - World bronze medallist in the all-around, 2006 Aarhus - Three time European floor champion, 2006 Volos, 2008 Clermont, 2011 Berlin
Vanessa Ferrari - World bronze medallist on floor, 2006 Aarhus (she would also win a silver the year following the Olympics at the Worlds in Antwerp, Belgium) - European floor champion, as well as all-around champion, 2007 Amsterdam (she would also win the European floor title in 2014, in Sofia) - Two European silver medals on floor, 2006 Volos, 2009 Milan
Ksenia Afanasyeva - European silver medallist in the all-around, 2009 Milan With the exception of her world title and European silver medal, all of Ksenia’s greatest achievements involving her masterful floor routines would come in the years following the London Olympics, with two European titles in 2013 and 2015, as well as a World silver medal in 2015
Lauren Mitchell - World silver medallist on floor, 2009 London - Commonwealth Games all-around champion and floor silver medallist, 2010 Delhi
Jordyn Wieber As far as floor exercise was concerned, Jordyn’s only major achievement was winning the World AA title the year preceding the Olympics. However, Jordyn was the American Cup champion in 2009, 2011, and 2012.
Catalina Ponor - World silver medallist on floor, 2003 Anaheim - European Champion on floor, 2004 Amsterdam - European silver medallist on floor, 2012 Brussels - European bronze medallist on floor, 2006 Volos
Aliya Mustafina - World silver medallist on floor, 2010 Rotterdam - Olympic bronze medallist in the all-around, 2012 London Like her teammate, Afanasyeva, many of Mustafina’s biggest achievements concerning floor would come after the Olympic Games.
It was clear coming in that any one of these eight girls had the potential to be on the podium. Sandra Izbasa was a hot favourite for a medal, as was Afanasyeva, however both had mistakes that took them out of the running. In the end, it was Aly Raisman, the only girl not holding a major title, to reign supreme, with Catalina Ponor and Aliya Mustafina grabbing silver and bronze respectively.
1. I can carve almost anything into the end of a crayon: William Shakespeare, the Statue of Liberty,Gordon Ramsaywearing a fez. Anything!
2. I am definitely a nocturnal creature. I am not a morning person.
3. I currently wear a baseball cap with cross-eyes stitched on the front. It really creeps people out.
4. I like hats. It was an early ambition of mine to be a hat designer.
5. I can’t tell time on analog clocks. The purpose of the big hand and the little hand has never come naturally to me.
6. I’ve never attempted any extreme sports, and I consider running short distances an extreme sport.
7. I am an ambassador for the children’s charity Starlight.
8. My guilty pleasures are Costco pizza and watching The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.
I wanted to be an ice cream man when I was younger. So when I was
finally old enough to get my driver’s license, I bought an ice cream
truck. In hindsight, it wasn’t the most practical first vehicle.
10. I carried the torch for the London 2012 Olympic Games. And now I use it to store pens.
11. My phone screen saver is a painting of my dog.
12. My dog is named after Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.
13. I stole Harry Potter’s door number from his house on Privet Drive.
14. My nickname used to be “Poop” because it sounds like “Rupe.”
15. My favorite artist is David Shrigley.
16. My lucky charm is a fake Cher driver’s license.
17. When I was 5, my school asked me to write to media mogul
Rupert Murdoch to ask for a donation to fix the pool, their logic being,
as we shared a first name, he’d feel more personally invested. It was
18. My favorite book is Rant by Chuck Palahniuk.
19. I like to watch Bollywood movies.
20. My karaoke song is anything by Oasis.
21. My favorite television shows are Brass Eye and The OA.
22. The best thing I own is a musical Alessi kettle.
23. While I was filming Snatch on a street in England, a guy gave me a five-pack of socks that he designed.
24. I want to visit Canada to see a narwhal. I’m not sure they exist until I see one.