(cue Olympic music)
Tatiana: Welcome to day two of the Dollympic competition. I am your host for today, Tatiana, and along with me, my great friend, Alexis. You are looking at the vault in the gymnastic competition about to take place, and it’s just a little different from what the humans do in their Olympics.
Alexis: That’s right, Tatiana, for us dolls, we have only 3 rotations, vault, beam, and trampoline/floor exercise. The humans get to do their 4 events multiple times, for the team, all-around, and individual events, but the dolls only get one chance for everything. There are just two teams in this competition; USA, competing in the gold, blue and red leotards, and Russia, in the purple leotards. Every time a girl completes a routine, a score is added to their team score, and the judges will also be looking at them individually at the same time. At the end of the rotations, the judges will announce which team wins, and which individual will receive the best event title.
Alexis: And the event all-round title doesn’t necessarily have to go to a member of the winning team, although that’s usually what happens.
Tatiana: Yeah, just last year, America won the team competition, but Josefina, from Mexico won the all-around.
Alexis: So we’ll see what happens this year.
Tatiana: And here we are at the start of this year’s competition with American Megan Ryder taking her place at the start of the vault. She has a younger sister, Sara, competing with her in these Dollympics for the very first time. Megan has been around for a while but I’m sure it must give her an extra boost to have her sister competing with her and against her at the same time.
Alexis: Megan plans to do a double twisting pike…
She runs to the table..
Has both hands on the vault.
Really good form in the air…
And gymnastics 101! Fly high and stick the landing!
Tatiana: Oh, wow! What a way to start off this competition.
I think that was fantastic! I couldn’t see anything wrong. Megan goes over to her coach, who gives her a hug.
Alexis: Yeah, I mean, maybe just a slight leg separation at the very beginning, but wow. That should be a big score…and it is: 15.758. Oo! That’s going to be tough to beat.
Tatiana: And that’s just what Katherine Thompson, nicknamed, Kat is going to have to do.
Alexis: Kat is doing a vault with a slightly lower start score than Megan, so she is really going to have to be perfect to try and beat her.
Kat’s performing a double twisting layout..
She gets to the block really well, has a lot of speed, too much almost…
Look at her height! Oh! Her hips are bent a little and their supposed to be straight…
Oh no! Kat just has too much speed, she can’t control it, and lands down hard on her bum.
Tatiana: Oh, that’s too bad. Not only did she fall, but one of her legs landed out of bounds which will be yet another big deduction to her score.
Kat and her coach wait for the score.
Alexis: You know if you have to wait a long time for your score, the judges are probably taking lots of deductions… and yes. oh, boy, it’s a 12.435.
Tatiana: Team Russia is already going to have to do a lot of work to try and catch up to the US.
Alexis: But if they just put this first rotation behind them, they can think of the second as a fresh start. And here we are beginning with the US on the second rotation, the balance beam.
Tatiana: Dun, dun, dun!
Alexis: (laughs) Yes, the balance beam is the scariest apparatus for most all gymnasts. Both feet are trying to land on a one and a half inch wooden beam.
Megan’s younger sister, Sara Ryder is going to start us off.
She’ll do three cartwheels that are all different. One, with both hands.
One, with one hand, and one with no hands, and they all have to be connected.
Yes! Oh, that was beautiful.
Tatiana: Now it’s just her dismount…a double twisting somersault.
Lands a little low on the chest, but a very good routine.
She and her teammates should be pleased.
Alexis: And it looks like the judges are too. Sara is congratulated by her sister and gets a 15.010
Next on the beam is McKenna Brooks. She has certainly had her ups and downs in gymnastics, coming from a major injury, but working so hard to get ready for these Dollympics. She says it’s something she’s dreamed of her whole life.
Tatiana: Gymnasts these days rarely jump onto the beam, since it’s such a risky move. They tend to hop on while doing the splits and then dance on it while laying down before they get up to do their major jumps. McKenna is so graceful doing this.
Alexis: Here’s her first major jump, a twisted flip..
Just a little crooked in the air..
Oooh! She just saved it! Those toes are so strong. Clinging super hard on that little piece of wood.
Next test is a double flip, landing where she can’t see the beam…
She got over those first nerves wonderfully.
Just her dismount left.
Full-out double back-spring…
And just one step on the landing.
She and her coach should be proud. It’s tough to forget a mistake you’ve made before, but McKenna did just that. Her score is a 14.23. Pretty good, considering that deduction, but it’s not what the team needs to get ahead.
Now, the final rotation. The gymnasts will first do two jumps on the trampoline, then convert to the floor and perform two passes.
Up first, is Ashleigh Salon of the United States.
Ashleigh does a flip onto the trampoline…
Jumps up for a double pike somersault..
And dips down one more time for a full body layout.
Then she flies off the trampoline and onto the floor.
Ashleigh is absolutely superb on floor.
She has immaculate technique on all of her jumps, keeps her legs together, her body high in the air,
and almost perfect landings.
Ashleigh has just performed the trampoline/floor exercise of her life and her teammates know it.
They are screaming and hugging her as she receives a 15.847.
Tatiana: One girl who is not screaming or hugging is Russian Isabelle Palmer who needs a 19.95 to beat the US team.
Alexis: Isabelle is very good but I just can’t see that happening.
Here she is doing a flip onto the trampoline.
Beautiful layout, wonderful in the air. She just seems to float on the trampoline. I could watch her all day and never get tired of it.
And now she’s onto the floor. Where Ashleigh had the fire and energy, Isabelle has the flowing grace.
She really looks more like a ballerina than a gymnast.
She completes her last twirl and she’s done for the day. That was a spectacular routine but I think it was too little too late for the Russian team.
She gets a hug from Isabelle as she waits for her score.
And it’s just not enough, a 15.872. The United States of America has won the gold for the second time in a row!
Tatiana: And boy are they celebrating! Megan gets the Event all around! Let’s take it down to the host room where Lea snagged sisters Megan and Sara with their gold medals
Lea: Congratulations girls on two gold medals in gymnastics.
Megan, you have been here for a while. How is this different than the first time you were here four years ago?
Megan: Oh, man, I thought the last Dollympics was the best but this one beats it 200 times over. I have had the best time training and competing with my teammates, including my sister, Sara, and to have won the event all-around is just a total dream come true.
Lea: Sara, this is your first team gold medal but you say it’s not the best medal you’ve ever won. Most people would disagree with you, saying a Dollympic medal beats everything. It’s the top prize.
Sara: (laughing as she reaches into her gym bag) No, I mean, winning a Dollympic gold medal is a huge honor, but my biggest accomplishment was the 2014 World Championship.
I had just completed a vault when I felt something snap. It was my leg. I still had trampoline/floor to go and although I was in a lot of pain, I was able to complete the routine and win the championship.
Lea: Wow. Well, congratulations on your big win, and I hope to see you again in four years.
Girls: Thank you.
Note from Heather again: I apologize to all gymnasts who might be reading this post. I am one of the least flexible people out there and have pretty much no balance, which means I know nothing about gymnastics. I based all my information off of the NBC announcers whenever I watched gymnastics on TV. I absolutely love watching gymnastics and I want to give a huge hoot-out to the Final Five for winning the 2016 Olympic Gold medal. Way to go!
I also want to apologize for my hand/arm protruding from many pictures up above. It’s too bad dolls can’t do gymnastics without human help!