Women’s Gymnastics

It’s been almost 20 years since I was in the thick of gymnatics, but I still get excited about watching every move when it’s on TV. So you can imagine that I’m glued to the TV right now watching the American’s freak out over two injuries in the Olympic women’s team competition. (Mr. Farmer is rolling his eyes.)

All I can say is these girls are crazy. Have you seen what they’re doing on the beam these days? I was excited to finally land an aerial cartwheel once in a competition — which was damn hard, but looks seemingly elementary in comparison.

1984 is the first Summer Games I can remember, and I recall sitting on the floor in our “back room” in front of the TV, leaned up against our tan corduroy couch, hemming my first 4-H sewing project the night before it was to be judged. It was the night Mary Lou Retton scored a 10 on her vault. And the image of her in the arms of coach Bela Karolyi is forever burned in our minds.

In case you don’t know, Bela Karolyi is the most famous gymnastics coach in the world. And I had the privilege of going to one of his summer camps for a month after sixth grade. (His standard conditioning exercise was to make people climb poles. I never got off the ground.) He really is an inspiration, and I think his presence makes the Olympics even more fun to watch.

I think I will go try to a backhandspring on my bed, for old times’ sake.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Darren said,

    Was that Bart Conner announcing the mens event last night? He has a pretty sweet gig, NBC dusts him off every four years and he gets free bed and breakfast at the Olympics. My guess is that it goes down like this….

    Mid May….
    Bob Costas: Get me Connor, the Olympics are coming up. He beat the Chi-coms in ’84, right?
    Intern: Last I knew he was spending a lot of time on Sunset Boulevard.
    Costas: Then grab him and get him to Betty Ford, Pronto! The Olympics are in 10 weeks!


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