Mohini Bhardwaj competes for the USA during the 2004 Olympic Team Final and wins a silver medal, becoming the first Indian-American to win an Olympic medal in gymnastics (and the second Indian-American overall). In true dramatic fashion during the meet, Mohini stepped in at the last minute to perform on beam despite not having prepared to perform on the event after Courtney Kupets had to withdraw from the lineup due to an injured leg. (x) (x) (x)
Amazing how she wasn’t even on anyone’s radar before Olympic trials. She barely even qualified to trials! But from trials and after, she was on fire. Definitely one of the unexpected surprises on the Olympic team.
Once upon a time, I was mad because Mohini made the team over Hollie Vise. Because I was 11, a Hollie Vise stan and I only knew Mohini as the one who Pamela Anderson sponsored, which I thought was dumb. (Also I apparently didn’t understand the format because Mohini & Hollie 100% weren’t fighting for the same spot, but I was 11.)
Then I saw that Double Layout-Punch Front and I fucking melted. It makes me melt every time, even now. Plus she went up on BB in Team Finals at the very last minute and killed it. She competed for a spot in 1996 and then made it as a post-NCAA athlete eight years later. I’m a Mohini “Means Illusion” Bhardwaj stan forever. She’s probably my favorite Olympic Team Captain ever.