As we get closer and closer to the Olympics, NBC released episode 4 of its series “Golden: The Journey of USA’s Elite Gymnasts” on its new streaming service, Peacock. Unlike most of the NBC gymnastics pieces from over the years, these episodes take a more serious angle. In short, the episodes are far from “The Ranch” documentary from 2016.
Join us as we recap each episode. If you’d like to watch along, the episodes are available here with a free Peacock account. Today we’re talking about the recently dropped episode four.
Laurie’s doing promo for a sunglasses company. The shoot producers ask, “Is there something that says gymnastics that you can do?” So yes, they totally know what they’re talking about and who they’re working with. Naturally, Laurie does a leap, except, she’s not wearing the sunglasses? Just holding them?
Yes, gymnastics and sunglasses do go together well!
Laurie gives an insightful look into the struggles she’s had thanks to having a brand that is so positive and doesn’t represent her. She’s upset about not making the National Team at camp and exhausted with the lack of time she’s getting between doing promotions and actual training.
Konnor’s going to training, also upset that she didn’t make the National Team. As she’s running in the beginning of practice, she starts whimpering. Which is incredibly relatable.
Elite gymnasts, they’re just like us!
Konnor’s entire practice seems terrible. She’s counting down the hours until she can leave, and she feels like she’s going to throw up. Her coach tells her to have someone come pick her up, which surprises me? Maybe I’m still used to hearing about old coaching styles, but that felt pretty humane.
We get an explanation of why Classic is important. The selection committee wants gymnasts who will never fall, and Classic is the first time to show they’re consistent.
Suni and her coaches are trying to figure out things they can change in her routines to make her ankle feel better and keep her from getting anxious during the routine. The theme of this episode seems to be that gymnasts are either anxious, exhausted or don’t like gymnastics?
MyKayla is telling her husband to come to practice because Tom is going to be there (even though he just saw her at camp). Does MyKayla’s husband not have a job? Why is he always at her practices?
We meet Konnor’s older sister Olivia, who is naturally hitting softballs while being interviewed. She talks about how not being picked for the National Team has impacted Konnor and how she’s been down since then. Olivia says she told Konnor to use not making National Team as motivation to make the team. What great advice—no sarcasm. Spite should always be your No. 1 motivator.
As I’m also very athletic, I tend to do my interviews from my couch. Olivia and I are the same!
Konnor and Olivia hang out together as Konnor makes her vision board. Konnor says that making National Team is the most important goal, with Classics, National Championships and Olympic Trials as the goals after.
Morgan’s with her physical therapist. When asked if she has any pain, she says “no, just like regular discomfort.” I have a suspicion that regular discomfort for Morgan is probably pain for almost every other human.
That looks incredibly painful. There is no way that is just causing “regular discomfort.”
Morgan and her teammate compare this bruise to her old bruises. Cute! That is definitely a fun way to pass the time. Morgan mentions how after elbow surgeries she tries to start training “a week after [her] surgery.” While I am no doctor, perhaps this is one of the reasons why she keeps needing more elbow surgeries.
Morgan runs, planks, lifts, jumps and does skills on beam and floor, proving that gymnasts are the superior athletes.
With four days until Classic, MyKayla is doing full-out training as Tom appears. Is this a new thing? Does Tom make frequent trips to gyms just to watch gymnasts in practice? Anyway, Tom being there seems to spooke her in the beginning, but she regains her steam in her last bar routine.
Suni’s mom is grocery shopping, where the woman at the cashier is asking her about Suni. Suni’s mom talks about what a big deal it would be for Suni to make the Olympic team since she’ll be the first Hmong person to go to the Olympics. The cashier talks about how proud the Hmong community is to have someone like Suni, but Suni also mentions that it can be hard for so many Hmong’s to be counting on her success.
Suni and her dad talk about their relationship with her father and her overall journey in gymnastics. Suni also asks her dad if he can stand? Wouldn’t she know that answer?
Suni’s wearing the same bathing suit that every other 11- to 13-year-old girl wore in 2015. Which I did, in fact, wear to my fifth grade graduation swim party.
We hear more about Suni’s dad’s accident and why Suni decided to still compete at U.S. championships. Suni mentions how she’s scared that if she doesn’t make the Olympic team, she’ll disappoint all the people around her.
Morgan’s in New York for another Asian American rally. There’s a great montage of her marching with the crowd. Morgan speaks at the rally. The crowd does have to get lower so they were able to see her, which is very sweet. Morgan gives a very impactful speech about what being an Asian American means to her and what representing Team USA means to her.
10/10 moment in the documentary. Morgan spoke with both poise and power.
The gymnasts all are in their last practices before Classic. Laurie’s in the gym, training bars. She says not being named to National Team is motivating her to hit a good routine at Classic. MyKayla’s getting a new floor routine. Morgan’s conditioning and working on beam. Suni’s practicing floor skills. Konnor’s gym is giving her gifts.
With all of the work the gymnasts are doing to get to Classic, they all deserve to have a pile of gifts and cards full of praise.
Side note: they have a clip of the gymnasts’ names being announced, but only show the five gymnasts “Golden” is following, then follow those clips with the announcer saying “these are the gymnasts from all around the USA,” which makes it seem like these are the only five gymnasts from the country.
MyKayla’s first up on vault, and has a solid start. They show a clip of Simone’s double pike as well. Morgan’s on the floor with a pretty good comeback routine. Konnor’s bar routine is off, with a missed release, and she just does a front layout for her dismount. Suni also has a rough bar routine, falling as well.
Konnor starts crying before she goes up on beam and then walks over to her coach, who is promptly holding a bag for her to throw up in, which she does. Konnor’s mom says “it helps her focus.” Let’s pause here. If throwing up is your way of coping with stress, it is time to find a better coping mechanism. Naturally, because she was just VOMITING, she falls on her back layout.
Laurie falls on her beam routine. MyKayla stumbles on a floor pass. They give other clips of Chellsie Memmel, Sydney Barros, Leanne Wong and Simone Biles, as well as MyKayla and Suni falling to really drive home the point that this meet did not go well.
They play into the fear that perhaps the U.S. could come home with silver instead of gold, and while I don’t wish to jinx anything, I think that trying to use one bad meet a month ago to justify creating some sort of drama isn’t great since we all know the U.S. will win with its eyes closed.
READ THIS NEXT: “Golden” Episode 3 Recap
Article by Katie Simons
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