He sticks the landing on the vault – but that’s not why social media has gone CRAZY for this Illini sophomore’s performance
An Illini men’s gymnast made headlines Monday around the nation for what he pulled off at the end of his vault routine.
While Evan Manivong did stick the landing, that’s not what has everyone talking.
The Illini all-arounder used his excellent performance — nailing a career-high score — to promote that others get the Covid-19 vaccine by flashing his own vaccination card.
After sticking the landing, the sophomore excitedly whipped out his Covid-19 vaccination card from the front of his leotard.
While the routine actually happened on March 22 during the Illini’s meet with Minnesota – and was posted by the Illini gymnastics social media channels the same day — it went viral on April 5, weeks later.
As of this writing, the clip has been viewed well more than a million times on Twitter — and counting.
The clip comes from the meet’s broadcast by the Big Ten Network. The announcers didn’t immediately recognize what Manivong had pulled out of his leotard.
One commented effusively, “Whatever it was, if that’s what it takes, sign me up for one of those cards. That was amazing.”
It’s my vaccination card… go get vaccinated everyone! https://t.co/Of7IE0QvXj
— E v a n (@evanmanivong) March 23, 2021
The Chicago Sun-Times, Yahoo! Sports, the New York Post, Fox News, People and many other national media outlets have published stories about the routine and its now famous ending.
The timing of the viral Tweet couldn’t be better. Locally, the Champaign Urbana Public Health District announced Monday that it has opened up eligibility for the Covid-19 vaccine to everyone in the community, ages 16+. (See tips for how to get your teen a Covid-19 vaccine appointment HERE.)
That’s a week before the state of Illinois will expand eligibility to all ages 16+.
Manivong was named an All-American on the vault holding a national qualifying average of 14.717, good for sixth in the country. Manivong claimed four vault titles on the season, and scored his career-high of 14.750 twice this season.