I don't usually watch the Olympics. I do enjoy the gymnastics competitions, especially for men because I am amazed that a man can contort and move his body and demostrate such strength in such a graceful way. So this year I have watched almost all of the gymnastics competitions and I have found myself staying up late with my daughter cheering for Jonathan Horton (her favorite)
and Alexander Artemev (my favorite).
When I coached cheerleading I was always in awe of the girls who could do standing tucks, back tucks, roundoff back handsprings and rted combinations. When I see the USA girls do this and more on the bars, the vaults, the beam, or their floor routines I watch, mesmerized, knowing that under no circumstances could my body ever be trained to imitate that. Watching Alicia Sacramone fall attempting her mount on the bar broke my heart, but not as much as it did when she fell later in the floor exercise. She was the one I was rooting for the most. Here she is at Olympic Trials doing a great job- no falls.
My favorite event this year is the pommel horse, and only because I saw Alexander "Sasha" Artemev turn his body into a machine atop that horse. In and out, side to side, up, then down and finally a complicated combination of twists and turns with his lower body in the air gave me the chills. His dismounts were excellent and he was proud of his bronze medal.
But remember when a bronze medal counted for something? These young men who earned the bronze medals for gymnastics were so visibly excited to have that medal, with one even saying he would tattoo the bronze on his back when he got home, are what the Olympics are about-- the pure love for your sport, the spirit of competition whether you win one or not- the most momentous occasion of one's life.
And then there is the grumpy Swede. Ara Abrahamian does not consider a bronze medal to be anything more than a failure in his quest for gold in Greco-Roman wrestling. So when he got his medal, he stormed off the stage and threw it away. Boo hoo. Only a bronze. I hope the next person was awarded it. If he didn't want the bronze medal, he should have performed to the standard of gold!
Here you can see this sore loser get his medal, high five the guy next to him, step down from the stage and throw his medal on the floor and leave. What a baby.
A final note, even before Bela Karolyi mentioned how young the Chinese women's team looked, as in, not the minimum age of 16, we sat here and noticed that some of those girls looked younger than my almost 13 year old daughter! There's a big secret newspaper article about it that was pulled and is not spoken about so the mystery will remain unless China fesses up.