Dreams! Dads! It’s a Record-Setting Night for the Sap-o-Meter.

Scenes from the Olympics.
Aug. 3 2012 4:08 PM

The London Olympics Sap-o-Meter

A champion rower with a heavy heart and Gabby Douglas’ big win send the sap soaring.

120731_FRC_SapometerBird

Golden was the theme of NBC’s Olympic coverage last night. With six victories on Day 6 of the London Games, the U.S. Olympic team won more gold medals on Thursday than any other day of competition thus far, and there was no lack of sap to describe these winning moments. With “golden girl Gabby Douglas winning the women’s gymnastics individual all-around and Michael Phelps’ three-peat in the men’s 200-meter individual medley, the Sap-o-Meter soared to a grand total of 56 Sap Points.

Yet sap can also be bittersweet, as Taylor Ritzel’s team gold in the women’s eights rowing event demonstrated. As NBC’s Terry Gannon explained, Ritzel was “certainly racing with a bit of a heavy heart. The youngest of eight kids, she lost her mom to breast cancer almost two years ago, and one of the last things her mom told her is, ‘I want to see you race at the Olympics.’ ” NBC’s coverage of women’s gymnastics, which featured ample coverage of Douglas’ tearful mother, put mom in the sap stratosphere with seven mentions on the night.

The Sappiest Line of the Day came from an old Olympic hero. In a voiceover, 2008 Olympic all-around champ Nastia Liukin addressed the event’s 2012 American competitors Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman. "You’re ready for this,” Liukin said. “Imagine that everything you’ve worked for comes down to one night—your dreams, your dedication, your sacrifice—the most exciting and terrifying moment of your life.”

Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the London Olympics.

Krystal Bonner is a Slate intern.

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