Like Rick McCharles over at Gymnastics Coaching, I felt a bit deflated after the Women’s Team Final last night. China was brilliant and were well-deserving of their gold medal. But I, too, was hoping it would be a closer race for the title. This morning I didn’t really feel like blogging about it. Then my husband sent me the link to an article by on Slate.
Here are a few excerpts…
The American girls came out onto the floor in shiny red leotards that made them look like Las Vegas showgirls. On average 30 pounds heavier and 3.5 inches taller than the doll-sized Chinese gymnasts, they had the sheen of aging starlets, imbuing the scene with a peculiar Sunset Boulevard feel. From the start, we knew how this would end, with the young outshining the “old.” Briefly, after the Chinese team completed its third rotation, the balance beam, it looked like the Americans had a real shot at the gold: The Chinese team leader, Cheng Fei, had taken a dramatic spill, earning a huge 0.8 deduction. But Alicia Sacramone, the oldest member of the American team, misjudged her mount and, arms windmilling, fell from the beam before she even got on it. It was as metaphorical a fall as it was literal. In the next event, the floor exercise, all three American competitors—Shawn Johnson, Liukin, and Sacramone—stepped out of bounds, as if the equipment were taunting them: You’re too big and old.
It was hard not to see the American girls’ failure to stay inbounds as a kind of Freudian slip—or Freudian step. It was as if, worried that the Chinese might have an unfair advantage, the Americans suddenly became aware of their growing bodies, of the potential for harm, of how easy it is to make a mistake, of how fast time flies and the body stiffens, even for those who can flip through the air and perform ever more complicated release skills on the uneven bars.
And then a little later in the article…
Meanwhile, in other news: Apparently the Romanians are so “Westernized” that they actually “text message” between rotations now. Tim Daggett, NBC’s color commentator, noted this development breathlessly, fingering it as the cause of the Romanians’ dramatic decline in the past four years, practically bemoaning the passing of athletic slavery in Eastern Europe. (Gymnastics truly can bring out the fascistic perfectionist in anyone.)
Click here to read the entire article.
It’s hard to know where to even begin in a critique of this article. I’m not even entirely sure what it’s about. So while I further form my thoughts on O’Rourke’s outlandish piece, I thought I would post it and see what you think. What do you think she’s trying to say with this article? Is there any validity to her assertions? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.