@stephgosk / Twitter
Shawn, watching the gymnastics finals.
Tuesday night, I watched history being made.
As I took in one event after another at the women's gymnastics finals, figuring out scores and watching it all unfold, I didn’t want to assume that they had the gold — but I knew they did. I had chills and goosebumps. I got to run into their families, so I almost felt like I was a part of it. It was pretty cool.
The moment they walked into the arena I thought, 'I’d love to be down there.' There’s no better feeling than being part of a team. But I couldn’t have been happier to watch them and support them and see their joy.
The absolute best, best moment was when they had all finished competing — the girls knew they had won, even though the scores hadn’t come up yet. There was this long, drawn-out delay. They stepped back away from the podium so they could look at the Jumbotron, and all five of them lined up holding hands, waiting for the score. It gave me chills. I was holding my breath. Then, the scores came up. There was crying, flags waving, and people on their feet, chanting “USA.” It was a fairy tale.
What I’ll miss most about competing since I retired in June is that camaraderie. I’ll forever be part of Team USA, and I was relieved that we finally got the gold.
And yet, I was relieved that I wasn’t down there killing myself.
The silver lining of being retired is not going to bed completely drained, and taking an hour to get my muscles warmed up so it doesn’t hurt to walk. I won't miss the constant stress, fatigue, migraines, and living on ibuprofen.
I think every past gymnast’s experience, including mine, has inspired this team. We’ve been trying for gold since 1996. In past Olympics, things got out of focus — athletes were going more for individual titles. Since 2008, it’s been about the team medal.
For me, the transition is getting harder now that competition has started and I’m officially a spectator. When I originally retired I didn’t think I would get to be a part of this world anymore. I didn’t think anyone would want me. Getting to stay a part of the Olympics in this role, as TODAY.com's special correspondent, is making the transition easier.
Immediately after this, I’m flying straight to L.A. to start “Dancing with the Stars.” After that, I would love to continue in the sports world, maybe as a commentator. Sports, after all, is where my fairy tale began.
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