‘Golden’ is an insightful and essential post-Olympics watch

Filmed within the months main as much as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Peacock’s docuseries Golden: The Journey of USA’s Elite Gymnasts supplies key perception into the stress that comes with being a gymnast on the elite stage. The Olympics could also be over, however Golden stays extremely related, particularly following Simone Biles’ withdrawal from nearly all of her Olympic occasions as a way to give attention to her psychological well being and get well from “the twisties.”

Biles’ resolution sparked a wider dialog about athletes’ psychological well being and the excessive ranges of strain they face of their respective sports activities. These themes run by way of Golden, making it a essential watch that’s rendered much more highly effective when seen now, in hindsight.

The sequence paperwork 5 gymnasts of their quests to succeed in the 2020 Olympic staff: Laurie Hernandez, Morgan Hurd, Sunisa Lee, Konnor McClain, and MyKayla Skinner. Every of those Olympic hopefuls faces the gauntlet of camps and competitions main as much as the Olympic trials, in addition to their very own distinctive challenges.

Hurd and Lee are each battling accidents, with Hurd specifically dealing with a decent restoration schedule after a number of elbow surgical procedures. Skinner is returning to elite gymnastics after her profession on the NCAA stage. Hernandez, who was a member of the 2016 Olympic staff, is making a comeback of her personal after years away from the game.

Oh, they usually’re doing all of this throughout a pandemic.

Golden doesn’t shrink back from the affect the COVID-19 pandemic had on the Tokyo Olympics and the gymnasts attempting to make the staff. The pandemic is a supply of nice exterior stress, and it places their desires in flux. Having an entire further 12 months to coach is introduced as each a blessing and a curse: It may enable these gymnasts to grasp new, tougher routines, or it may end in additional bodily pressure and damage. For McClain, although, the postponement presents a chance.

Golden walks a nice line all through: exhilaration vs. heartbreak, the euphoria of a caught touchdown vs. the years of sacrifice and ache it took to get there.

16-year-old McClain wouldn’t have been eligible for the Olympics had they been held as recurrently scheduled. With the additional 12 months, she will get an earlier shot at attaining her lifetime purpose. In certainly one of Golden‘s most compelling — and harrowing — storylines, McClain tries to suit three years of coaching (her unique plan had been to give attention to the 2024 Paris Olympics) into one as a way to stand an opportunity towards the opposite gymnasts.

All the ladies Golden follows are world-class athletes. Every episode options them in observe or in competitors, pulling off death-defying strikes that boggle the thoughts. These are abilities they’ve constructed up over a lifetime and sacrificed a lot for, all within the hopes of reaching the Olympics. Their drive is crystal clear of their interviews and in how arduous they push themselves bodily. You’ll root for each single certainly one of them to make Group USA.

Nonetheless, in case you have any familiarity with the Tokyo Olympics, you may know that solely Lee and Skinner turn into Olympians. Lee goes on to win the title of all-around champion, the primary Hmong American gymnast to take action, and Skinner wins the silver medal on vault. Whereas it’s exhilarating to see them succeed in any case their arduous work, it is simply as heartbreaking to look at Hernandez, Hurd, and McClain lose out on the chance of a lifetime.

Golden walks this nice line all through: exhilaration vs. heartbreak, the euphoria of a caught touchdown vs. the years of sacrifice and ache it took to get there. Gymnasts’ mother and father focus on how a lot cash they’ve poured into gymnastics within the hopes of their little one making it to the Olympics. Bodily accidents abound, evident in every part from the surgical procedure scars on Hurd’s elbow to a montage of gymnasts falling in competitors.

Then there’s the psychological and emotional strain. Hurd and McClain snicker over FaceTime as they recall how McClain used to throw up into her coach’s fingers earlier than meets, or how Hurd would get bloody noses. Significantly heart-wrenching is Hernandez’s description of the emotional abuse she confronted by the hands of her former coach, and the way she used to assume it was regular. And naturally, there’s the ever-present reminder of the abuse lots of of gymnasts confronted by the hands of Larry Nassar throughout his time as a physician for USA Gymnastics.

Watching Hernandez, Hurd, Lee, McClain, and Skinner navigate these bodily and psychological challenges and nonetheless handle to carry out at their stage is nothing wanting inspirational. Golden does give attention to their struggles and sacrifices, nevertheless it additionally focuses on their successes. When these gymnasts smile triumphantly after nailing a routine, or their relations cheer from the sidelines, Golden finds the enjoyment in gymnastics. Nonetheless, with that pleasure comes questions of find out how to higher defend these outstanding athletes as they battle tooth and nail to succeed in their targets.

Golden: The Journey of USA’s Elite Gymnasts is streaming on Peacock.

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