Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Gymnastics Thoughts

Reflecting on the finish to the women's gymnastics, I must say that it was entertaining and delivered the ratings NBC was hoping for in 2008. The benefit of the 12 hour time split has been that US viewers can watch live competition. This meant a lot with the swimming and gymnastics. You can't create fictional drama better than some of the live, unscripted contests viewers have watched from their living rooms. The storyline NBC had to work with this Olympics for women's (let's not kid ourselves and just start calling it girls') gymnastics. The two Americans, one is an athletic sprite from the heartland and the other is a ballerina-ish daughter of World champions, duel it out for the gold with challenges from the underage, labor camp style Chicom contestants. It couldn't get much better, and suddenly, you had terrible scoring, and what blatantly appeared to be home cooking for the host country's contestants. NBC couldn't have asked for more.

Or could they..... What if we took this same cast of characters and just moved them back to the geopolitical climate of the '70s or '80s. You would have had underage Commie Chinese contestants and a blonde, ice in her veins Soviet who sticks all of her landings (Liukin) vs. a little 4 foot 9 pixie with a big smile from the breadbasket of the US coached by defectors from the other two countries (Karolyi is an old Eastern Bloc coach). That's the only way that Johnson-Liukin rivalry could have been better. It would have been like crossing Rocky 4 with the Mary Lou Retton story. I actually think NBC would have just blown up. They would have made it so cheeseball.

I'm going to fight my tendency to say things were better "back then" and prefer this year's contest. It was fun to see the Chinese blatantly exploit 12 and 13 year olds and be taken to task for it more than for the smog in Beijing. Sad part is that those Chicom gymnasts are the best cared for 13 year old workers in the entire country. It was fun to see Karolyi get fired up over the horrendous judging that always benefited the Chinese and hurt every other country (primarily the USA & Russia). Kind of like the magical tie that became a Chinese gold, yet the Chinese girl made more mistakes. It was great to hear the announcers call the Chinese medals awarded in individual events frauds. Those announcers never get fired up like that, and usually toe the IOC line. It was great to see the American duo house the rest of the world in the individual events after they missed out on a team gold due to the odd scoring and the horrible performance of a Masshole with a giant neck. It was great to see a Masshole fall on her @ss twice. Go back to Mass and cry about it in your Tom Brady pink jersey. The professional friendship between Liukin and Johnson was really sweet and reminded me that these are girls who have lives maybe a degree or three less disturbing in an athletic training and dieting vibe than the Chinese girls. It was nice to witness when so many of the today's athletes are me me me people. Think about this, I'm a 28 year old man, and I enjoyed watching gymnastics, causing me to waste time blogging about it multiple times.

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