The stands in Tokyo’s Ariake Gymnastics Centre aren’t packed with the usual spectators you’d expect during the Olympic Games, simply because these Games aren’t so usual due to pandemic protocols.
But that doesn’t mean Team USA doesn’t have an enthusiastic fan cheering them on with her whole heart — and a few other body parts, too.
A now-viral clip of TODAY co-anchor Hoda Kotb watching Suni Lee’s floor routine proves just that.
Hoda was taking in the action in between on-air moments Tuesday, shortly after it was announced that Simone Biles was pulling out of the gymnastics team finals. So when Lee took the floor last-minute to fill in for Biles, Hoda couldn’t take her eyes off the 18-year-old.
The 10-second clip on Twitter, which aired on TODAY Wednesday, shows her holding on to the railing with a tight grip. Hoda started to stamp one foot as Lee approached her final run, then she suddenly let go of the railing and leaned forward, backward and forward again — as if she had to nail the routine herself — before finally pumping her fist in the air and applauding with excitement.
On Wednesday, Hoda explained why her enthusiasm for the members of Team USA literally moves her.
“You spend half your time willing them to do well,” she said. “Not that they need us.”
As Jenna mentioned, the clip harked back to a couple of gymnastics reaction experts who attended the 2016 Rio Games.
“It just took us back to Aly Raisman’s parents,” she laughed. “You were just totally moving in the motions.”
But she wasn’t moving quite as much as they did.
For those who don’t remember, Ricky and Lynn Raisman thrilled fans in 2016 as they anxiously watched their daughter perform her way to three medals, including team gold, all while leaning wildly from side-to-side in their seats and gripping on to each other for support.