It's been quite a week for U.S. gymnast Jordyn Wieber. First, the favorite to win the all-around title missed qualification and had her disappointment broadcast throughout America. Then things took a positive turn last night and the U.S. women took gold for the first time since 1996.
Amidst the elation upon reading the final results upon the scoreboard, though, it looks (and sounds) like Jordyn Wieber had another pressing and personal issue on her mind. This is revealing in a number of ways. First, it reminds us that despite the media painting a picture of Olympic heroes as superhuman (and our personal desires to see them, somehow, as titans) they are indeed fully human; they have the same bullshit personal bodily processes to deal with that we do. This is especially the case for a teenage girl. I've never been a teenage girl, but my female friends who once were all tell me that having a period sucks and it especially sucks when you're young. The physical and emotional effects of a cycle, I'm told, are really disruptive. (Being 17 and on television around the world, too, probably screws with you a bit.)
So if Jordyn Wieber's competed so strongly this week while on her period, that's really impressive. It certainly shouldn't be used to explain any kind of subpar performance at qualifications; she finished fourth overall, for crying out loud. The only reason she isn't in tomorrow's individual all-around is because of Olympic rules. And anyway, "I gotta take out my tampon" is a way-better response to being a champion than the usual "I'm going to Disneyland!" [NBC]
Update (2:10 p.m.): We ran this video by a dozen people and they all agreed with some iteration of our conclusion, but some of you have since suggested she's saying "take my tape off," which would of course make sense, and if that's what it is, well, I'm a dumbass. Right after it went over the air, Twitter was sure it had heard tampon (examples: this, and this, and this, and this.)