UPDATE: My enthusiasm has not diminished whatsoever after the finals of the Team Competition tonight. Alicia has one silver medal more than anyone else I know, and she was the only girl on the floor who came across as human. She's still numero uno!
Alright, I admit it.
I've got quite a crush on gymnastics star Alicia Sacramone, and rather than try to hide it like a bashful sixth grader, I'm going to go ahead and broadcast this exciting news to the entire Bleacher Report readership.
So, what is so special about this girl? Why is it that I am writing my first article in months simply to declare my affection for her?
Let me count the ways...
1. She Is As Modest As They Come
Just check out The Alicia Sacramone Fan Site—aliciasacramone.com—and see for yourself. What do visitors find when they arrive at her eponymous homepage?
In fact, we are all greeted with the simple message: "Nothing here any more."
It's like she doesn't even need to brag about her accomplishments. While most Olympic athletes can't stop promoting themselves, Alicia just wants you to know that she is really into Nihilism.
2. She's Presumably Italian
What's in a name?
Well, when a girl's last name alludes to a nation full of romance, zesty cuisine, and fashionable suits that you can buy straight out of some guy's used Fiat, what isn't there to like?
Star-crossed romance between Jews like me and Italians like her has long been thwarted by feuding parents, who just can't come to terms over which side invented the deli. But opposites attract.
Not since that awesome moment in Sopranos Season Two—when Tony's badass henchman Furio went crazy with a baseball bat—have I been so into Italian culture.
And if this explanation of my passion is slightly tinged with bad stereotypes, then I apologize in advance. I never meant to hurt you, Alicia.
3. She Is Going to be An Awesome Mother One Day
Alright, before everyone freaks out over this one, let's make something clear. A boyish crush is a long, long way from tying the knot, much less siring a litter of half gymnast/half best-website-ever founders.
But if somebody wants to get a sense of what kind of role model and support beacon she can be, all they have to do is watch her lead the squad of younger gymnasts.
She's barely 20, but by gymnastics standards, that puts her firmly in the older generation. Her teammates count on her to be a role model, as she is imbued with the knowledge of what it's like to do grownup things... like see an R-rated movie without parental supervision.
Sunday's first round of competition was not easy for the USA gals. They faced a lot of unforeseen challenges, and got off to a tough start. But she delivered on the vault and balance beam, and set the pace for the rest of the team to come back.
Girls like that are real bijous.
4. She Goes to an Ivy League University
One thing that often amazes me about collegiate athletes is how seldom they consider that little detail called "the rest of their lives." When you're like Alicia, and you can get into pretty much whichever school you want, doesn't it make sense to pick one that has the dual-benefit of helping you compete athletically while also providing the skills for everything you do after the age of 22?
That makes sense to me, and evidently it also makes sense to the best vaulter in the known universe.
I'm sure that her Beijing dreams would have been a lot easier without those extra 20 hours of homework every week. It's probably hard to ditch class and hit the gym when your professor actually takes attendance every morning.
But Alicia Sacramone takes her academic responsibilities seriously, and smart girls are hot.
As a side note, Brown has one of the country's finest East Asian Studies departments. Let's hope that Sacramone has taken advantage of this in order to "better know her enemy," the formidable Chinese team.
So, Alicia, if you read this, feel free to give me a ring the next time you are in San Francisco. We Northern California types are really easy going, and the good news is that I used to live in New England, so we will have a wicked good time hanging out together.
Photo courtesty of gymbox.net
Smile courtesty of Heaven