… Sometimes the bear eats you.
My dad loves that saying, and he’d tell you he was on to it well before Sam Elliott uttered it in a thick cowboy drawl in The Big Lebowski. As a kid, I never quite understood what it meant. I’d never known anyone to eat a bear.
That phrase popped into my mind a few times today.
I started the day at center court of the Olympic tennis stadium, where I watched Serena Williams win her opening match against 22-year-old Russian-born Australian Daria Gavrilova. But mostly, I watched her big sister, Venus — who lost her own opening match yesterday — watch Little Sister win.
It crossed my mind again at gymnastics, where the U.S. women’s team dominated the rest in the world in a way I don’t think we’ve seen since the Dream Team stormed basketball courts in Barcelona in 1992. Yet Gabby Douglas had to feel a twinge of disappointment mixed into her excitement when it became clear she would not qualify into the all-around and defend her 2012 gold medal.
And despite the constant expression of excitement on Laurie Hernandez’s face, she too likely went home wishing she’d had a chance to contest for a spot in the all-around. However, I hope we all are able to focus on what they did, and that is show the world why they are the best Olympic gymnastics team of all time. No question. They ate the bear Sunday night. The bear just got a few nibbles in on his way down.
After gymnastics, I headed back to the media center to write and record my daily What To Watch For and Rio in 60 Seconds videos with Julie. While I was there, I learned that Phelps and the men’s 4 x 100 freestyle team won gold – Phelps’ 19th – Katie Ledecky beat her own world record in the 400-meter freestyle by almost 2 seconds (what!?) and Serena and Venus lost their first Olympic doubles match ever. In the opening round.
There’s that saying again.