What’s with the Age?

I was searching for the latest results on gymnastics on Yahoo.com when I came across these articles about Chinese gymnasts being underaged and how the US team coach (or someone) felt like they were ‘robbed’. I feel that there are lots of politics going on behind the scenes that we as spectators can only sit back and watch, but it’s a shame that the very people in this sport are saying and doing things to hurt the image of the sport they’re supposed to promote to the world.

I don’t understand why teams have to resort to using underaged gymnasts. I’m sure with the vast talent available, it’s not difficult to get eligible gymnasts. For those under 16, they can train till they’re ready. Isn’t it so? Plus, older gymnasts are probably more mentally secure compared to younger ones. In the men’s competition, most of the gymnasts are quite mature, nearing their 30s. China’s Yang Wei is 28 or 29, Hiroyuki Tomita is also around 28. I dunno why in the women’s competition they seem to think that smaller gymnasts are better. It’s quite silly really. Svetlana Khorkina is one of the great gymnasts I’ve seen in action before, and she’s not a midget. She isn’t very tall but she isn’t as petite as the childlike gymnasts we see in the Olympics. Nastia Liukin managed to win the all-around, and she is graceful and nimble at the same time.

Anyway, the apparatus finals kicked off today, with 2 men’s and 2 women’s events. Sandra Izbasa won the gold on floor; finally, a Romanian gymnast takes the lead. It’s such a pity they haven’t done as well here really, because I remember how strong Romania was in Athens. Oh, and Russia too. The sport has changed quite a bit for the past four years. I personally don’t follow gymnastics usually, because they don’t show it on tv as much. It’s quite a surprise to see them fade out of the limelight.

China dominated in the men’s events today though. Zou Kai won the floor gold and Xiao Qin won the pommel horse gold. I was particularly impressed by Zou Kai, he did really well in his routine. However, I felt that the Brazilian guy could’ve given him a better challenge. He fell on one of his tumbles, and he was so devastated by it. Poor guy, he was practically in tears after his routine that even I felt bad for him. But Zou Kai won, fair and square. It’s quite a delight to see such a young guy winning actually. He looked so excited and genuinely happy, being his first Olympics and all. The pommel horse event had quite a few hunks in it, with the Korean guy Kim Jihoon that I mentioned before. Too bad he only qualified for this event final (and that too because some other country had 3 gymnasts in the top 8), so we won’t get to see him in action anymore. There was also Yang Wei, who didn’t really look like he went out to win today. Maybe he just knew that his teammate would be better, which is true, at least for today. Yang Wei still has the rings final, which he’s so much better at. Hiroyuki Tomita also did okay, but he was the first few so he knew pretty quickly that he wasn’t going to be in medal contention. (Which resulted in him being slumped in his chair for the rest of the performances. Lol)

More action tomorrow. =)


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