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256: 1996 Olympic All-Around Final (Commissioned)

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This week, it’s Part 2 of our very, very, extra special commission series about the 1996 Olympics, this time brought to you by Club Gym Nerd member Kris. Brave Kris channeled Lilia Podkopayeva and rose to Mount Olympus as a true and eternal hero by asking us to talk about the explosion of world champions that was the 1996 WOMEN’S ALL-AROUND FINAL! Thank you so much for supporting the show, Kris!  

Jessica and Spencer discuss:

  • Withdrawals!
    • Kerri’s foot and its many, varied costumes throughout the all-around final
    • Marinescu being replaced by Amanar because Marinescu “didn’t work hard enough.” HRRRRMMMM (4:16)
    • Romania’s admitted age falsification, featuring conspiracy theories about why those medals have never been stripped but China’s have (8:16)
  • How we got here: an ode to compulsories
  • Rotation 1 
    • Intro fluff about what a failure it is to get silver or bronze (13:20)
    • Khorkina’s no-look salute and perfect “Phantom of the Opera” beam soundtrack
    • Was Gogean really “predictable” and “not that exciting”?
    • Spencer spends 715 minutes on the epic LITTLE ROZA GALIEVA fluff (31:52)
    • The most overtly sexual floor routine in the history of gymnastics
  • Rotation 2
    • Khorkina’s brilliant Carmen floor routine, meerkat impression, and…month-long hospital trip???
    • Pod tucks her legs on bars. Was her score fair?
    • Shannon’s bat toes, insane beam save, and why you have to pay close attention to her leo
    • The Mo salto. The end
    • Kochetkova’s beam set is the best argument for D-scores
    • Was NBC more positive back in 1996?
  • Rotation 3
    • American hopes are dashed on the floor in a stream of tears (1:08:14)
    • “Stop crying. There’s people everywhere.” Why Steve Nunno’s behavior was completely unacceptable
    • So many camera flashes. Because safety and security didn’t exist in 1996.
    • Overtly patriotic leos: Yea or Nay?
    • Theories about who picked Simona Amanar’s floor music, which may or may not involve horcruxes
    • Lily Pod makes her Soviet grandmother proud with her perfection
  • Rotation 4
    • Why Podkopayeva always had the edge heading into the final rotation and didn’t “take advantage of others’ mistakes”
    • Khorkina misses bars and begins an Olympic AA tradition
    • How should the Romanians have actually ranked?
    • Contradictory Mo Huilan fluffs
    • Mo’s floor heartbreak and potential chicken-dance penalty
  • The final result
    • You could tie for medals! What a concept!
    • Piskun kisses Pod on the nose because too adorable for words
    • The most insulting interview in NBC’s history
    • Bela and Nunno try to out-Trump each other

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LMM
LMM
4 years ago

Andreea Raducan had her medal stripped.

Mary E
Mary E
4 years ago

Milosovici does have a world gold on uneven bars (from 1992). The only apparatus where she doesn\’t have a world gold is floor (which is ironic since that\’s the one she has from the Olympics).

Jenny Zaidi
Jenny Zaidi
4 years ago
Reply to  Mary E

Yes so she has world OR Olymipc gold on every apparatus. 🙂

dianajc99
4 years ago

there was no carryover in 1992.If there were Miller would have won.

dianajc99
4 years ago

ohh. all the feels
At the time I remember being really pissed at Lily pod that she FINALLY did her ginger clean and messed up on the free hip.

Corey Uber
Corey Uber
4 years ago

THANK YOU for acknowledging Courtney McCool’s form. No one ever remembers how fricken INCREDIBLE she was. Like you said, comparable with the best ever….she just doesn’t have the medals to back it up.

LMM
LMM
4 years ago

One of my first journalism assignments at my first newspaper job was covering the Ukrainian gymnasts as they trained at a gym in Tennessee before traveling down to Atlanta just before the 1996 Olympics. I saw Lilia Podkopayeva and met her/interviewed her briefly, and she was sweet and charming and basically perfect. While I loved watching the Magnificent 7 that year and was excited for them, the real reward of this competition for me was Lilia and her win, because I had been able to see what it took for her to get there and how enthusiastic she was even while training in a podunk gym two hours away from where she’d compete. Memories!

Yael Rujder-Levi
Yael Rujder-Levi
4 years ago

geza poszar’s horcrux!!!!! i was dying!!!! i was driving when you said that and literally had to pull over.

Jenny
Jenny
4 years ago

Khorkina\’s Carmen always woke up Spencer! But not necessarily always with eyebrows!

Nabieva\'sWedgie
Nabieva\'sWedgie
4 years ago
Reply to  Jenny
Michael
Michael
4 years ago

Yao Jinnan did a Mo Salto in 2013!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJXJlCpO248

Tia
Tia
4 years ago

Look, I’m not saying that Geza Pozsar didn’t make a horcrux out of Nadia Comaneci’s hair ribbons or something, but I can say about Simona Amanar’s floor music that, I think Nutcracker wasn’t a hugely popular Christmas tradition in other countries besides the US until fairly recently. So it was probably more of an “oh neat, Tchaikovsky” thing than like a “CHRISTMAS IN SUMMER BECAUSE REASONS!” confusing thing. I’m not sure if that was what made you guys comment on the music choice…

Joel
Joel
4 years ago

Adding 0.1 to Amanar\’s final score would have made her second with Gogean third and Milosovici fourth. If Amanar\’s floor start value really was a 9.9, then the judges agree with Spencer and Jessica about the Romanian gymnasts\’ \”correct\” order.

Musicman
Musicman
4 years ago

Great recap! I remember watching this, and with all of the excitement of the team final I thought after 2 rotations we were in for another big US win (until all hope was dashed on floor). Agreed this was probably the deepest field in any AA final especially with so many world champs and veterans from 92.

Funny thing about the team final – Galieva wasn\’t competing while Kerri was on vault as she followed Kotchetkova in the line-up. If you watch the BBC broadcast Kotchetkova started her floor as Kerri was being carried out of the arena, but by the time Roza competed the arena had died down because Strug was already gone.

Also, yes Amanar got .1 deducted from her base value because she only did a single turn and not a double turn on FX. It was a shame because she definitely would have placed 2nd behind Lilia without the mistake. I also think her and Dawes were of few gymnasts who didn\’t resort to front tumbling on floor.

And that haunting Phantom music during Khorkina\’s beam was none other than Chusovitina, competing at the ancient age of 19. I wonder what ever happened to her… 🙂

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