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Why You Should Never Go to a Gymnastics Presser

Shawn Johnson, practicing, proud, great, happy. (By Paul Gilham - Getty)

These are direct, consecutive quotes from today's press conference with the U.S. women's gymnastics team. I'm a horrible public speaker, as this week's video clips are making clear, so I don't want to toss too many stones. But this event today made me want to fill my ears with yak cheese.

The question that began the fun was about an injury to gymnast Chellsie Memmel.

Um, yeah, you know, uh, we're such a strong team. You know, we've got each other's backs no matter what happens, and, um, we're just out here to fight, and, you know, take care of each other, and we're all ready and prepared to show the world what we can do.

Woman in turquoise:
Hi, my name is Shaun Robinson from Access Hollywood, this question is for Nastia and Shawn. I just got here yesterday, I know you ladies have been here for an entire week. I want to do something really fun. What has been the funnest thing you guys have done since you've been here. [Pause, laughter.] That you can tell us about.

Journalist seated behind me: [Curses loudly]

Nastia Liukin:
Yeah, our two-a-day training sessions? Um, no, this is my first Olympic Games and everyone else's, and it's been so much fun getting around the Village and just seeing so many different people. And I'm from Dallas, I saw Dirk Nowitzki this morning, and almost had a heart attack. I got a picture with him. So that was probably the highlight of my trip so far. But, you know, just being here with the team and staying in the Village, it's a dream come true for all of us to be here competing and representing our country. So I think that, you know, we're all here really proud to be here and really excited for the competition to get started.

Shawn Johnson: Um, same with me. Just the whole Olympic Village, to me, has been the best experience so far. Um, just being able to walk around and see every different country, every different athlete. You know that they work just as hard as you do, and they got to honor their country. It's just a great feeling. It makes you really proud. So it's great to just be a team.

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 7, 2008; 12:14 PM ET
Categories:  Olympics  
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They're all robots Dan, didn't you watch Stick It?

Posted by: prophet | August 7, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

that's journalism at it's finest. the chinese gov't stands no chance with muckrakers like shaun robinson. no wonder there is so much security.

also, two females named shawn/shaun yet spelled differently. kinda odd, no?

Posted by: Charles Zimbabwe | August 7, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

This is designed inanity. Those young ladies would be eligible for vast sums of money in commercial endorsements if they went around saying interesting things. They just want to do any necessary talking and, you know, actually perform gymnastics.

And I too scorn "Shaun Robinson"s question, but she does work for Access Hollywood, so in asking such a breathtakingly superfluous question, she is serving the interests of her employer.

Just a mess all around.

Posted by: Lindemann | August 7, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, you can't ask them about their favorite foods.

Posted by: Bill Fitzgerald | August 7, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I thought the joke was when the Access Hollywood reporter said 'funnest.'

That was the most funny part of the whole thing.

Posted by: Dan Levy | August 7, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The idea that the gymnasts have had a fun experience that they can't tell us about, but that they would tell Shaun Robinson from Access Hollywood about in another setting, is also a little amusing. Or maybe I am reading too much into this. I should probably get back to work.

Posted by: Lindemann | August 7, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I love an interview with at least 6 or 7 ums.

Posted by: Maggie | August 7, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with Bill Fitzgerald. I think Shaun Robinson should have asked them about the funnest food they've seen other people eat.

Posted by: UMD's Burning Couch | August 7, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Someone should have asked them if it's Yaz they're on...

Posted by: Scroot | August 8, 2008 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Lord. They're KIDS. How eloquent were you at 16? Not to mention, most people include verbal fillers such as "like," "um" and "you know"--interview transcripts usually edit them out.

Posted by: NYC | August 8, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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