Stick the what?

From Le Vieux Lapin, who says:

Is the phrase “stick the dismount” from gymnastics?  I found several instances of it on the web, ranging from a couple of gymnastics references to one in a report on the current US president.  However, nothing I found explains what it means or provides enough context to do better than a slightly-educated guess.  Maybe “land on your feet”?

Often with long-running and high-continuity strips, I want to write off some puzzlement at a particular episode as a matter of “Well, wait to see how it fits with the whole story”. But in this one, I think we were handed a recap right there in the dialogue.


  1. Without looking up myself – which of course is cheating – I take “stick the dismount” to be more than just landing on your feet but doing so confidently with your feet sticking (neatly) to where they hit the ground and the body nicely balanced and in control. So the gymnast is not, as you see some of them having to do, taking a step or even running sbackward, forwards or sideways to remain upright.

    Presumably in this context Popmeister has to have a good, clean swift death.

    Here are some gymnasts having bad landings – it’s called “Worst Landings in Gymnastics” but in almost all cases they gymnasts (all women here) manage to stay on their feet even if they have to run several steps off the cushioned landing area; a few tap a hand or knee on the ground but even so they are pretty amazing recoveries considering the rotational speed of some of them (no-one lands on their head or anything):

  2. “Stick the dismount” is something every TV commentator says at the end of any gymnastics routine. The routines are drama, and almost every gymnast has a big conclusion with really dramatic stunts. If you don’t stick the dismount, you will generally receive a low score. Alex is implying that her dad’s story needs a big dramatic ending.

  3. You know that pose that gymnasts do at the end of their routine, with hands in the air and feet planted together?

    You are on the uneven parallel bars, and you do your routine. At the end of your routine, your last move is how you get off. Maybe you do a couple flips in the air as you are landing. And then you hit the mat. Your goal is to end in that hands in the air and feet planted together stance.

    If you stick the dismount, you land in that stance, and don’t bobble at all. Your feet don’t bounce even a little. Your feet just touch the mat where you want them to end up, in the position you wanted them to end up, and just stick there.

    Metaphorically, it refers to ending something well; there are many things in life where, no matter how well you thought they were going, they could completely fall apart when they stop; “sticking the landing” metaphorically means “doing as well at the end as you were doing all the way through.”

    I suppose “sticking the landing” in life would be having a good death. My grandfather died at 95 years old, in his own bed, in the house he built himself, with the woman he’d loved for over seventy-five years holding his hand, and then, at the reception after the funeral, over two hundred people came over the course of an afternoon to tell my grandmother how much Papa had helped them, given them jobs and chances when other people hadn’t, and taught them, by example, how to be a good person. And those hundreds of people all stayed for a while, had a couple beers and some pizza, and had an actually pretty darned fun party all talking about how much Papa had meant to them.

    That would be “sticking the landing” to life.

  4. “stick the dismount” = finishing well. It refers to do doing a difficult task extremely well and then not letting up for the last, generally easier, part. Ask McKayla Maroney how important it is to stick the dismount/landing.

    In this case, he did the difficult task of navigating life up to this point extremely well. He lost a few points here and there for minor things, but he crushed the rest of it and got huge points. He is asking if if all that can be for naught if he doesn’t finish well.

  5. Mike Peterson over at CSotD under the heading Hits and Misses (September 21st) had several examples of ‘sticking the landing’ cartoons about the FBI handling of the US gymnastics sexual abuse scandal. I didn’t check this, and from these examples just deduced that this expression describes a spectacularly bungled landing. I have only just learned from this discussion that the meaning is the opposite.

  6. I use “And he sticks the dismount!” occasionally. Or “Oh! And only a 6.5 from the Russian judge!”

  7. Isn’t it funny how those bad dismounts don’t seem funny? She works so hard, does such amazing stuff, and then bobbles the landing? Ooh, poor kid.

  8. I’ll chime in and note the 1996 copyright on this strip. An Olympic year, back when Olympic gymnastics was probably a bigger deal culturally than it is now. So the remark might not have seemed so odd then.

  9. Well done! Thanks for filling in this gap in my pop culture knowledge.

    I’d never heard this expression. Carl Fink and CaroZ home in on the reason – in all my life, I may have seen as much as 10 or 20 minutes’ worth of Olympics or gymnastics television coverage.

  10. Kerri Strug, 1996 Atlanta. USA was winning over Russia for the team medals, but Kerri hurt her ankle and fell, and her teammates all failed to stick their own landings. Kerri had to perform a vault to clinch the gold, and she famously landed on one foot without falling again. Her coach had to carry her out at this point

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