Another great late night of Olympics. This time, it was the men's team event in gymnastics. China and Japan were supposed to fight for the top two medals, and everyone else was going to scrap for the third medal. The U.S. was not supposed to be that good, since everyone on the team was new to the Olympics.
But what a group of good guys! You could see the determination and grit in their eyes -- their young eyes. At the last event, the bronze came down to Germany and the U.S., neck and neck. The performances of the last three athletes on each team would determine who got the medal. Our first guy was bad, our second guy decent, and then came Sasha ...
Alexander Artemev, the last of the Americans to compete, unleashed a big air-style performance on the pommel horse, the final event, to secure the medal. It was Artemev's only performance on the day -- he spent more than two hours watching the five other Americans on the other five events, then was called on to nail it down.
This being gymnastics, what Artemev did is perhaps better understood in baseball terms. He came on in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, and threw three 97-mph heaters - after just being called up from the minors. Not even a week ago Artemev had been an alternate, not even a starter on this U.S. Olympic gymnastics team.
After Artemev's dismount from the pommel, the American side erupted, equal measures relief and unreserved joy.
His performance was amazing and beautiful and graceful and strong. He had to have been amazingly proud of himself. And unreserved joy is a good description for the team's celebration -- they had come through as a team.
Now I wonder what tonight's magical moment will be!