Wednesday, August 1, 2012

USA Women's Olympic Gymnasts Rule!

The Olympic Women's Gymnastics  team competition happened today and was televised tonight. The U. S. gymnasts wore red leotards tonight, which were not as gorgeous as the pink ones I saw them wearing earlier, but were still nice. The blue ones worn in a previous appearance were lovely as well. If the leotards were manufactured in China as was reported, the people in China who made them have every right to be proud of themselves.

The team's performance was impressive. Watching the vaulting and floor exercises made me particularly nostalgic. Those were my favorite events. I wasn't bad on the uneven bars, either, but it was such hard work that I didn't enjoy it all that much. In my opinion, the uneven bars are much more fun to watch than to actually do. They can be honest-to-goodness painful. The event at which I sucked the most, though, was the balance beam. I shouldn't, in theory, have been so weak on the beam, but practice sometimes defeats theory. In theory, one's balance beam routine is a floor routine performed on a strip 3.93701 inches (10 centimeters) wide,  500 centimeters (a little over 16 feet) long, and 124 centimeters (just over four feet) off the ground. Maybe some gymnasts are able to convince themselves not to be bothered by the narrow width, the height, and the hardness of the beam, but the frequent bumps and bruises made those issues all too impossible for me to ignore. I'm not now,  nor have I ever been, a masochist.

While the entire team is superb, my favorite of the gymnasts among the Fab Five is Gabby Douglas. She's so gutsy, so graceful, and just so great. I could watch her all day. She has a long-limbed build (even though she's not tall; I think she may be the shortest  on the current Olympic gymnastics team) that makes aspects of gymnastics more difficult, but if a long-legged gymnast can control her legs, it gives the gymnast a more elegant look. Gabby Douglas is a most elegant gymnast.

As a side note, I parasailed for the second time in my life this morning. Because my PseudoAunt is almost as light as I am, the two of us went up together. We got a slightly longer ride that way, which was sick beyond belief.  My PseudoAunt describes the experience as being just like the dreams in which you can fly. If you've never parasailed, you should seriously consider trying it sometime. My own personal bias is that it's probably safest to do it in either the U.S. or in Australia. I've heard there are more regulations and more surprise inspections. I can't absolutely vouch for the accuracy of this information, but I personally haven't heard of any injuries occurring either from faulty equipment or faulty operation in the U. S. or in Australia. Obviously such could have happened without my necessarily being aware of it.


  1. We watched last night too. I thought I heard that one of the Russian girls is only 4'11. Russia really did poorly on the beam, and the floor routine. I can imagine how annoying it is to be in the atmosphere, though. I know I couldn't get psyched in to doing all those flips and balance routines.

    Putting aside all of the injuries you’ve sustained over the last few years, do you think you would be able to do some of your old gymnastic routines?

  2. I would be able to do nearly all of the floor routine because tumbling is something you can do with no apparati, so I never really stopped doing that when my parents were not looking, although I'm sure they know. I've down what I did on the beam except on the floor while pretending it was a 10-centimeter wide platform, so almost everything but the mount and dismount can be simulated. On the bars and especially the vault I would be up a creek. When I'm 18 I'm using gymnastics equipment at the university. My parents might finally say yes if I asked now, but I've gone so long that what's four more months?

  3. I read that Gabby Douglas is 4' 11" as well, although you would never know it from looking at her by herself with no frame for height reference because of her build. She's leaner and has a thinner neck than does the typical gymnast. Gymnastics is a sport for petite people.

  4. In 1972 I had SUCH a crush on Olga Korbut! I thought she was so beautiful! I was 15, she was two years older than me.

  5. I didn't live through the era, but I've seen footage and my parents have talked about her. She was really cute and she's 99% responsible for revolutionizing the sport of gymnastics and making it popular in the western countries, with the remaining 1% probably going to Nadia Comaneci, who even had The Young and the Restless theme renamed after her.