11/02/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Underdog Wins Gold at 2012 Sarah-lympics

BOB COSTAS: And we are back. More coverage of the decathlon coming up in just minutes here. But first we're going to quickly send you out to a place they used to call Nowhere, the tiny Alaskan island of Gravina where the gold medal in the men's floor exercise is about to be decided. Al?

AL TRAUTWIG: That's right, Bob. A breathless scene here at the gymnastics venue. All eyes are on world champion Jesse Formica, representing his home state of Nebraska in these historic games. He has, as expected, electrified this sellout crowd. But the gold is going to come down to this last skill.

This is when we find out whether the rumors are true. Jesse Formica, as you see, standing perfectly still here, preparing to shatter a record of sorts. What concentration! And he'll need it. Nobody has ever executed a triple flip or a quadruple flip from a standing position.

He's in the air! Flipping, flipping! And, boy, he does stick the landing. But I counted only three flips. The first triple flip of its kind ever landed in a gymnastics competition. But, well, what can you say at a time like this? The virtual silence from the crowd here speaks for itself. Like everybody, the fans here had been hoping for the quadruple. The buzz all week here at the gymnastics venue has been that Formica would, indeed, execute a quadruple. His coaches knew this. But they never tried to manage expectations. It's almost as if they just couldn't be bothered with the new rules in effect at these games.


AL TRAUTWIG: Whoa! I'm sure you heard that whoop there at home. The whoop came from the man of the hour, Wallace Schlubman. Schlubman, the underdog to end all underdogs, is now our gold medalist thanks to Formica's underperformance here today. We're going to turn to my colleague, Tim Daggett. Tim this is certainly what Vice President Palin and her fellow organizers of these Sarah-lympics had in mind, isn't it? A real blow to elitism in American sports. Tim, what are your thoughts as you see Wallace Schlubman waving to the cheering crowd and preparing to accept the same prestigious medal you and your teammates brought home for America in 1984.

TIM DAGGETT: Somersault. Somersault ... (SOUNDS OF SOBBING)

AL TRAUTWIG: My colleague, Tim Daggett, clearly overcome by the triumph of Schlubman, this unlikely American hero. Elfi?

ELFI SCHLEGEL: Well, Al. You hit it right on the head. Formica and his coaches seemed to be stuck four years in the past. They just couldn't be bothered with the new rules. They sneered when they said Peepee Dod.

AL TRAUTWIG: We should remind any viewers who've been living under the same rock as Formica and his coaches that Peepee Dod is an acronym.

ELFI SCHLEGEL: That's right, Al. P.P.D.O.D. Perceived Personalized Degree Of Difficulty. It's the organizing concept of these Sarah-lympics, hastily organized in the wake of President McCain's decision to boycott the Olympics being held in Madrid as we speak. Peepee Dod, as everybody is calling it, is what Schlubman rode to victory here today. As Tim noted, Schlubman performed a somersault to win his gold medal. Based on his Peepee Dod going in, that somersault was a huge triumph, a gold medal performance. It was simply something that nobody here thought Schlubman would do.

AL TRAUTWIG: And with good reason. If you've ever seen the gait of a cow in the final stages of BSE or a sheep dying of scrapie, then you have a rough idea of how graceful Schlubman was one month ago when he was selected from his state's jury pool as a citizen-competitor for these, the most inclusive Olympics in history.

ELFI SCHLEGEL: We should note here that Schlubman does not suffer from either of the diseases you mentioned.

AL TRAUTWIG: No, no. Just sedentary.

TIM DAGGETT; A couch potato!!!

ELFI SCHLEGEL: Sedentary, I think, is the right word, Al. Schlubman's coaches made sure the video of his first practice was widely circulated. DVDs for each of the judges here. And what can you say, except that Schlubman's somersault has been THE surprise of these games. A new American hero is born. Look for Schlubman and his coaches to pick up another gold medal when the first-ever gold medal for Expectations Management is presented at the closing ceremonies of these games.

AL TRAUTWIG: I want to apologize to our viewers. We've lost video from the floor. But I can tell you that Wallace Schlubman has broken into a twitchy grin. Meanwhile, I'm sorry to report a disgraceful scene from a man who everyone expected to win gold in this event in Madrid.

ELFI SCHLEGEL: Before the boycott.

AL TRAUTWIG: Yes, before the boycott. Jesse Formica has taken to calling the boycott a ploy-cott. And I'm sorry to report that Formica is out there on the floor, wearing a T-shirt with that made-up word on it. Not only is he stomping on a moment that should belong to Wallace Schlubman. But he's again injecting politics into these games, trying to publicize his bizarre claim that the boycott and this entire long feud with Spain is merely a ploy to cover for a gaffe the president made in a radio interview in 2008. But our brave troops based in Morocco, standing ready to liberate Spain, could tell Formica a little something about how real all this is. Wow. Formica is absolutely seething. And I'm told we have our video feed back. We'll go to that now.

AL TRAUTWIG: I'm very sorry for that. Obviously, that is the wrong seething video.


AL TRAUTWIG: Somebody's idea of a joke, maybe. Not funny. Bob, we're going to throw it back to you in Juneau while we get this worked out. We'll see you back here for the gold medal ceremony shortly.