Nastia Liukin, WINNER, Wishing her fiercest competitor WELL: “I admire her with ALL of My HEART”

Transcribed by Jeff Fenske from CBS’ Today: Today’s Olympic Moment, 8/15/08

“Today’s Olympic Moment is about two young gymnasts who are the best the world has to offer — and not just when they’re performing, either.

Last night, Americans, Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson knew their toughest competition for the individual gold in gymnastics was each other. Yet these roomates at the Games didn’t root for the other to fail. They cheered each other on every step of the way. …

Then the moment of truth: Nastia Liukin, Olympic gold medalist; Shawn Johnson, right behind her with the silver — the grace they displayed, making them both champions in the eyes of the world.”



Shawn Johnson’s teammate, friend, and roommate in Beijing ended the night with the gold medal. Nastia Liukin finished just six-tenths ahead of Shawn in the point standings. Nastia landed her vault, but scored lower than expected. That put her in tenth place after the first round. But after that, Nastia performed one of the most difficult routines on the uneven bars, and nailed it.

Nastia delivers strong performances on both the beam and floor exercise. It wasn’t until Shawn wrapped up her floor routine that Nastia knew the gold medal would be hers. The Soviet-born gymnast says she knows that Shawn is her biggest competitor.

“We’re both incredibly strong athletes and gymnasts and she won Worlds last year, and… She’s a phenomenal athlete and I couldn’t speak any more highly of her. I admire her with all my heart. It’s been amazing and it’s been a great journey, and it’s been a really cool ending,” says Liukin.

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Travis Pastrana’s Appretiation of Colin McRae’s Heart to Give [1968-2007]

Wishing Others Well: Tony Hawk’s The First 900

Integrity in the Games: “Win Fair & Square; Lose Fair & Square” — James Blake

From: Los Angeles Times, Transcript of James Blake’s interview after his three-set loss

Question: Could you describe what the issue was you were discussing with the chair umpire at 9-8?

James Blake: Yeah, hit a shot that hit Fernando’s racket and then went out. The umpire didn’t see that it hit his racket. Playing in the Olympics, in what’s supposed to be considered a gentleman’s sport, that’s a time to call it on yourself. Fernando looked me square in the eye and didn’t call it.

I’ve tried to play this game for as long as I can, you know, I make mistakes, but I try to do it with integrity, so my parents would be proud of the way I played. If that happened the other way, I never would have finished the match because my father would have pulled me off the court if I had acted that way.

I’ve spoken all week about how much I’ve enjoyed the Olympic experience, how much I love the spirit of it, how much I love the other athletes, what they’ve sacrificed, and you appreciate that. And the guys go out and compete their hardest, win fair and square, lose fair and square. That’s a disappointing way to exit the tournament when you not only lose the match, but you lose a little faith in your fellow competitor.

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Related: U.S. tennis player James Blake makes a racket over the Olympic spirit

Brandi Chastain: Lying to Win — America’s End-Justifies-the-Means Morality

Transcribed by Jeff Fenske from Olympics women’s soccer, Brazil v. Nigeria, broadcast live on Universal HD, 8/12/08.

Brandi Chastain, commentator: “I always think it’s my ball no matter who it was off of [who touched it last before going out of bounds]. Sometimes you can influence the referee.”

Male co-commentator: “You sell them, right?”

Chastain: “Absolutely. You emphatically raise your hand. You ask for the ball.”

Co-commentator: “You’re giving away a lot of secrets, you know.”

Chastain: “Yeah, that’s okay. I don’t mind.”

Travis Pastrana’s Appretiation of Colin McRae’s Heart to Give [1968-2007]


Transcribed by Jeff Fenske

Dear Colin,

I’m not really sure how to begin a letter to my hero, but I’m going to start with ‘thank you.’

You had no reason to treat some kid from Annapolis, Maryland as well as you did. You treated everyone you encountered with a humble respect, and I admired you so much more for that.

Your talent as a driver was equaled only by your ability as a teacher. I’ve never had a competitor so willing to encourage me and help with care set-up and give advice that could only be gained otherwise through years of trial and error.

Even in defeat, you delivered two performances here at X Games that will never be forgotten.

It’s been a year since you last raced—eleven months since the helicopter crash took you away. The lessons you taught on the track were inspiring, but after getting to know you, I was even more inspired by the example that you set away from the car.

That’s why your spirit will be out there again this year on every car and every driver. And know that as long as I can strap on a helmet and give everything I’ve got to the sport you loved, your legacy lives on. We see you more than you’ll ever know.

Thanks for everything, buddy.

Your friend,

Travis Pastrana
[Winner, Rally Car Racing, X Games Fourteen]


Wishing Others Well: Tony Hawk’s The First 900

Nastia Liukin, WINNER! — Wishing her fiercest competitor WELL! — “I admire her with ALL of my HEART”