So, four years ago, commentators bandied about the phrase “The China Syndrome” when discussing Chinese gymnasts who just fell apart under the pressure of competing.
Fast forward 4 years to Beijing and they are sweeeeeeeeping the gymnastics events (give or take some of them cracking, but nothing like 4 years prior). However, this year they should change the syndrome to reflect the Americans who, frankly, just sucked this year. I have always thought the Russians and Romanians were the ones who exemplified perfection in the sport (and who does not love bad girl Khorkhina). I never really thought the Americans were superb (outside of Retton and Strugg). And granted, the Chinese genetically are much more easily matched to a sport like gymnastics thanks to their lean bodies and freakish flexibility (just watch diving for the same comparison – the more solid divers just lack grace and lines).
I always feel bad for Chinese athletes who don’t meet with the Chinese national standards of gold or nothing because I know there is so much at stake for them than for many other countries. I don’t even want to assume what penalties get inflicted on them by the government if they don’t step up to the plate.
Some weird turnabouts are in the men’s horse (which I think is just some Germanic torture event to have to put on someone) and a UK gymnast ( a sport virtually ignored in the UK…they probably think it is too twee for them) wins a medal…as does a Croatian. Talk about odd odds.
I don’t get the same thrill watching gymnastics as I used to. There are no real personalities or on-fire folk. I used to hate swimming and have no fallen in love with it; most probably because of Phelps-mania.
And what’s with the digitally enhanced fireworks for opening ceremonies…really now???
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